Puzzles of the Past

An Introduction to Thinking about History

978-0-89096-216-9 Paperback
6 x 9 x 0 in
234 pp.
Pub Date: 06/01/2000


  • Paperback $18.95 s
Michael Isenberg casts aside the traditional textbook approach and presents the study of history as a series of puzzles to ponder, with neither right nor wrong answers. Thinking about history, from this point of view, becomes an exciting intellectual adventure that has little to do with rote memorization. This stimulating, open-ended approach focuses not on quick answers but on searching questions, the building of a relationship between an individual and the past.

Isenberg offers a compelling invitation to “greet the subject and call it fun” by delving into different cultures and by coming to grips with the many interpreters of the past. He leads the reader on a study of history that evokes a sense of culture transmitted directly, achieving an immediacy that allows the “historian” to march with Napoleon, hear Cicero orate, or see what the headsman’s ax did to Charles I of England. Each person becomes a compound of both individual and collective history; the boundaries of past and present are forever blurred.

This intriguing work—presented with a vibrancy rare for such subjects—is especially geared to beginning or intermediate students of history and is also ideal for graduate-level courses in historiography or historical methodology. It will be an indispensable guide for anyone interested in historical study.

Published by Texas A&M University Press