Friday, February 12, 2010

What country values history?

The New Republic offers a slightly cranky review of what might be an interesting book: Richard Evans [sorry, was "Ellis" at first] on why British historians study Europe and its countries, while historians in all those countries mostly only study their own countries. Is this true? It seems implausible but he claims to have statistics. The reviewer, however, thinks the United States takes history and historians more seriously than Britain does, which seems to me seriously crazy, no matter what statistics he might cobble together. Sure the Fergusons, Schamas, Starkeys, and the rest might come to the US for the money and the exposure, but their careers are made and nurtured in Britain.

Update: For the name correction, thanks to Kenneth Sheppard, who points out the book -- it's Cosmopolitan Islanders: British Historians and the European Continent -- is based on his inaugural lecture as Regius Professor at Cambridge. Here is a press release about the lecture.
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