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Read your Tuchman, children! It's good for you.
by dekesolomon on November 9, 2009Crazy old broad of a housewife with no academic credentials decides to become a historian, stages a boffo performance. Just goes to show there's no excuse for bad history and boring historiography. Fooey on dry-as-dust history and Hurrah! for Barbara Tuchman.
I read 'A Distant Mirror' and enjoyed every line. Tuchman writes like she loves her work and it makes all the difference in the world. If her thesis (i.e.: The calamitous 14th century looks a lot like the calamitous 20th century) is somewhat understated it is not overemphasized. Tuchman has massive piles of evidence on her side and as a writer she has sense and taste enough sense to let the weight of that evidence persuade readers for her.
Those who have never read Tuchman should start with 'A Distant Mirror.' This is one for the ages. It is what most folks will remember her having written. Solomon sez: "This is great history, people. If you haven't yet read it, do so soon."
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