Dead Certainties by Simon Schama
Unwarranted Speculations

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All of which makes sense but is just not compelling enough to justify the mystification that precedes it. It would have been preferable had Mr. Schama announced his intentions at the outset, and readers are advised to read the afterword first.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Like his The Embarrassment of Riches and the bestselling Citizens, Simon Schama's latest book is both history and literature of immense stylishness and ambition. But Dead Certainties goes beyond these more conventional histories to address the deeper enigmas that confront a student of the past. In order to do so, Schama reconstructs -- and at times reinvents -- two ambiguous deaths: the first, that of General James Wolfe at the battle of Quebec in 1759; the second, in 1849, that of George Parkman, an eccentric Boston brahmin whose murder by an impecunious Harvard professor in 1849 was a grisly reproach to the moral sanctity of his society. Out of these stories -- with all of their bizarre coincidences and contradictions -- Schama creates a dazzling and supremely vital work of historical imagination.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Simon Schama

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Simon Schama is the prize-winning author of seven acclaimed books. An art critic and essayist for The New Yorker, he also writes and presents documentaries for BBC television. He is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University and lives outside New York City.From the Trade Paperback edition.
 
Published January 1, 1991 by Granta. 352 pages
Genres: History, Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Dead Certainties
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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT on Aug 08 2018

All of which makes sense but is just not compelling enough to justify the mystification that precedes it. It would have been preferable had Mr. Schama announced his intentions at the outset, and readers are advised to read the afterword first.

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