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Digestion of Historical Literary Preference: Russell Martin, Ph.D.

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Digestion of Historical Literary Preference: Russell Martin, Ph.D.

At the Beginning of September, I gained a superfluous curiosity for what some of the faculty, belonging to and conducting their business in major departments at this school, espouse as literary introductions to their fields of expertise. By request, professors from all walks of Westminster give their beloved publications as a gift to you. My hope for this series is that it will give you an inside look at your professors as their character may be revealed in a generous manner. In general, the topics covered by these works are a mixture of semi-fictional and nonfictional literature. As requested, Chair of the History Department, Russell Martin, Ph.D., delivered some literary recommendations which are mentioned below with excerpts from his responses.

Martin starts off stating, “As for History, there are some excellent recent and not so recent general treatments of what History is as an academic discipline and how it should be practiced by professional historians and studied by students.”

Not by Fact Alone: Essays on the Writing and Reading of History (1989), by John Clive, In Defense of History (2000), by Richard Evans, Why Study History?, by Marcus Collins and Peter Stearns, and On the Teaching and Writing of History (1994), by Bernard Bailyn are amongst the top choices that Martin chooses to present for you.

In his own words, Martin introduces a favorite of his, Not by Fact Alone: Essays on the Writing and Reading of History, proclaiming the work as a collection of “Clive’s articles in popular and literary journals that were all published together under this cover. It’s brilliantly written and it makes the case for why we should continue to read and discuss the “classics” of historiography.” If the doc himself doesn’t convince you, how about you check a description of the work here.

In an explicit manner, Martin expressly concedes the need to read On the Teaching and Writing of History. “...there’s this little book that’s really the printout of an interview of Bernard Bailyn, perhaps America’s greatest 20th-century historian. It’s called On the Teaching and Writing of History (1994). It’s a great historian’s thoughts on what history is and why we need to study it. NEED, in all caps.”

This is your need.

Proceeding, Richard Evans impresses Martin with In Defense of History (2000). Martin expresses that the work, “which is a wonderful, if a bit “advanced,” reflection on the uses of History as a major and as field of knowledge. It’s also wonderfully written.” Here, you can visit a summary of the work.

Martin presents his final entry, going on, “I’d really suggest Marcus Collins and Peter N. Stearns, Why Study History?, which is an awesome little book on the advantages of learning how to think like an historian for the purposes of getting a job and getting a promotion once you have it. I assign this book in Capstone—so my students understand what they’ve accomplished by their senior year.” Why not check this out some more.

Hopefully you share the same excitement that Ph.D., Russell Martin brings to the table when discussing history. Like Martin stated before, history is an essential topic for an aware person. The summaries presented here are not as extensive as you will find in where the books are published nor in the works themselves. That being said, it is encouraged that you explore them yourselves. What was presented here by Ph.D., Russell Martin is entertaining and academic. So, let’s see what another history professor, Angela Lahr, says in an upcoming article titled Digestion of Historical Literary Preference: Ph.D., Angela Lahr.

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