Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Release: Hoffer, "Clio among the Muses"

New from New York University Press: Clio among the Muses: Essays on History and the Humanities, by Peter Charles Hoffer (University of Georgia). A description from the Press:

History helps us understand change, provides clues to our own identity, and hones our moral sense. But history is not a stand-alone discipline. Indeed, its own history is incomplete without recognition of its debt to its companions in the humane and social sciences. In Clio among the Muses, noted historiographer Peter Charles Hoffer relates the story of this remarkable collaboration. Hoffer traces history’s complicated partnership with its coordinate disciplines of religion, philosophy, the social sciences, literature, biography, policy studies, and law. As in ancient days, when Clio was preeminent among the other eight muses, so today, the author argues that history can and should claim pride of place in the study of past human action and thought.

Intimate and irreverent at times, Clio among the Muses synthesizes a remarkable array of information. Clear and concise in its review of the companionship between history and its coordinate disciplines, fair-minded in its assessment of the contributions of history to other disciplines and these disciplines' contributions to history, Clio among the Muses will capture the attention of everyone who cares about the study of history. For as the author demonstrates, the study of history is something unique, ennobling, and necessary. One can live without religion, philosophy and the rest. One cannot exist without history. Rigorously documented throughout, the book offers a unique perspective on the craft of history.
A few blurbs of note:
"Peter Hoffer has done it again—written an appealing book about History that is aimed at the intelligent general reader. Hoffer writes concisely and elegantly about the relation of History to its sister disciplines with the aim of explaining what it is we historians do best. His examples are drawn from across time and geography, and they are concrete enough to be easily grasped. This is a wise, accessible book for the reader who wants to know why he likes History so much." -- Stanley N. Katz, Princeton University

"Peter Hoffer has written a learned, lively, and witty review of the history of historical writing from the ancient world right up to the present day. It is a deeply insightful analysis of the never-ending challenge that historians face in getting their story right, and, in the process, reminds us of the vital importance that history plays in shaping our present and future lives." -- Richard R. Beeman, John Welsh Centennial Professor of History Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania
More information, including the Introduction and TOC, is available here.