The Undivided Past by David Cannadine
Humanity Beyond Our Differences

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews

Mr. Cannadine has performed a service in reminding us that history is more complicated than white versus black, men versus women, or capitalists versus workers
-WSJ online

Synopsis

From one of our most acclaimed historians, a wise and provocative call to re-examine the way we look at the past: not merely as the story of incessant conflict between groups but also of human solidarity throughout the ages.

Investigating the six most salient categories of human identity, difference, and confrontation—religion, nation, class, gender, race, and civilization—David Cannadine questions just how determinative each of them has really been. For while each has motivated people dramatically at particular moments, they have rarely been as pervasive, as divisive, or as important as is suggested by such simplified polarities as “us versus them,” “black versus white,” or “the clash of civilizations.” For most of recorded time, these identities have been more fluid and these differences less unbridgeable than political leaders, media commentators—and some historians—would have us believe. Throughout history, in fact, fruitful conversations have continually taken place across these allegedly impermeable boundaries of identity: the world, as Cannadine shows, has never been simply and starkly divided between any two adversarial solidarities but always an interplay of overlapping constituencies.

Yet our public discourse is polarized more than ever around the same simplistic divisions, and Manichean narrative has become the default mode to explain everything that is happening in the world today. With wide-ranging erudition, David Cannadine compellingly argues against the pervasive and pernicious idea that conflict is the inevitable state of human affairs. The Undivided Past is an urgently needed work of history, one that is also about the present—and the future. 

 

About David Cannadine

See more books from this Author
Sir David Cannadine was born in Birmingham, England, in 1950 and educated at Cambridge, Oxford, and Princeton. He is the author of many acclaimed books, including The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy, G. M. Trevelyan, History in Our Time, Class in Britain, Ornamentalism, and Mellon. He has taught at Cambridge and Columbia Universities and has also served as director of the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. He is currently Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University.


Author Residence: London, England; Princeton, New Jersey


Author Hometown: Birmingham, England
 
Published April 9, 2013 by Vintage. 353 pages
Genres: History. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Undivided Past
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Alan Wolfe on Apr 19 2013

...I worry that Cannadine’s scheme is just a bit too neat. Each of his six identities is treated in the same way: never were they unified and none have managed to trump the others.

Read Full Review of The Undivided Past: Humanity ... | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by David Priestland on Apr 11 2013

It is unlikely that Cannadine intends to promote a political agenda – he devotes more attention to criticising other historical approaches than to developing his own.

Read Full Review of The Undivided Past: Humanity ... | See more reviews from Guardian

WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Daniel K Richter on May 20 2013

Mr. Cannadine has performed a service in reminding us that history is more complicated than white versus black, men versus women, or capitalists versus workers

Read Full Review of The Undivided Past: Humanity ... | See more reviews from WSJ online

Reader Rating for The Undivided Past
80%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 16 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×