We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
The Purpose of the Past: Reflections on the Uses of History | [Gordon S. Wood]

The Purpose of the Past: Reflections on the Uses of History

History is to society what memory is to the individual. Without it, we don't know who we are and we can't make wise decisions about our future. But while the nature of memory is constant, the nature of history has changed radically over the past 40 years. Historian Gordon Wood examines the sea change in his field through consideration of some of its most important historians and their works.
Regular Price:$20.97
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

History is to society what memory is to the individual. Without it, we don't know who we are and we can't make wise decisions about our future. But while the nature of memory is constant, the nature of history has changed radically over the past 40 years.

In The Purpose of the Past, historian Gordon S. Wood examines this sea change in his field through consideration of some of its most important historians and their works. He offers wonderful insight into what great historians do, how they can stumble, and what strains of thought have dominated the marketplace of ideas in historical scholarship. The result is a history of American history, as well as an argument for its ongoing necessity.

A commanding assessment of the field by one of its masters, The Purpose of the Past will enlarge every reader's capacity to appreciate history.

©2008 Gordon S. Wood; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (23 )
5 star
 (6)
4 star
 (9)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (2)
Overall
3.4 (7 )
5 star
 (2)
4 star
 (2)
3 star
 (1)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (1)
Story
3.8 (8 )
5 star
 (1)
4 star
 (5)
3 star
 (1)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Eric Valparaiso, IN, USA 05-23-08
    Eric Valparaiso, IN, USA 05-23-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A measured take on history writing"

    This book is a serious review of a great deal of recent historical work (mostly US Colonial and Revolutionary history). It's well written and argued, laying out broad trends and covering a lot of topics outside of the time periods covered. The books reviewed here don't have to be read before listening to this book-- the reviews fully cover the topics and ideas. This is a wonderful way to cover the period and hear about recent trends in history writing without buying dozens of titles.

    You won't be lost with this guide. The presentation is also well done and very clear. If you are at all interested in early American history, and curious about how it's being written, this is a great book.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Norman Auburn, CA, United States 01-29-12
    Norman Auburn, CA, United States 01-29-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not a book, just a collection of book reviews"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Unfortunately there's no suggestion in Audible's description of this title that it's not a book planned from beginning to end to cover a particular subject. In fact, it's merely an ad hoc collection of book reviews. Any well-published academic can do this, of course, and one feels taken in after buying the book and getting through the introduction to find that it's not at all what the advertising makes it out to be. The same is true of Tony Judt's Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten 20th Century. These books need to be marketed honestly. There's no way they compare to their authors' planned works covering well-chosen and deeply researched topics. Not that I mind buying a book of republished book reviews either, but customers should be told that's what they're getting. Audible: 0 stars.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy Portsmouth, RI, USA 03-21-08
    Tammy Portsmouth, RI, USA 03-21-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    113
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    535
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "What is his point?"

    I listened to over two hours of this book and still have no idea what the author is trying to impart to the reader. He also makes the assumption you have read every history book he cites and know the context of the passage(s) he's citing. He cites many, many books, authors, and passages. He is all over the place, he never gets an idea fully across to the reader.

    I spent most of the two hours listening trying to figure what the point of this book is. I'm not getting any "wonderful insight". The dust jacket is better reading than the book is.

    I've downloaded well over 100 books on Audible and this is one of the worst. I'm sorry I wasted my money. I will not finish this one.

    27 of 46 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-3 of 3 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.