Sometimes An Art: Nine Essays on History

Sometimes An Art: Nine Essays on History

Alfred a Knopf Inc

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From one of the most respected historians in America, twice the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a new collection of essays that reflects a lifetime of erudition and accomplishments in history.

The past has always been elusive: How can we understand people whose worlds were utterly different from our own without imposing our own standards and hindsight? What did things feel like in the moment, when outcomes were uncertain? How can we recover those uncertainties? What kind of imagination goes into the writing of transformative history? Are there latent trends that distinguish the kinds of history we now write? How unique was North America among the far-flung peripheries of the early British empire?

As Bernard Bailyn argues in this elegant, deeply informed collection of essays, history always combines approximations based on incomplete data with empathic imagination, interweaving strands of knowledge into a narrative that also explains. This is a stirring and insightful work drawing on the wisdom and perspective of a career spanning more than five decades—a book that will appeal to anyone interested in history.

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