When a person thinks of a historian they would probably say they are a museum curator or someone who just studies the past. However, they truly do not understand what it means to be a historian. In the book The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past, John Gaddis goes into explicit detail on what it takes for a historian to properly and accurately present the past to the public. There are three main elements that I found interesting in this explanation. They are the fact that the historian must use time, space, and scale. As such, we shall delve into this for further examination.
The first topic is the use of time. When talking about the use of time it is important to know that a historian can make time “be stretched to fifty or a hundred times its clock length; on the other hand….may be accurately represented on the timepiece of the mind by one second” (P. 19). With this being said, I find it important that a historian, in the telling of their specific story, must ensure that they are not boring their audience to death with every single minute detail. Meanwhile, they must also be on the lookout to make sure they are not over generalizing details when they should be more specific. We must somehow find an equal balance between the two in order to give an accurate presentation of the past.
Secondly comes space. Space is defined in the book “simply as the location in which events occur…” (p.31). When looking at the space it can become just as tricky as time when giving the presentation of information. Therefore, it can be suggested that the detail given to the space being studied will vary based on the historian and what they are trying to convey to the reader. As such, it would be impossible to get every last detail about the space into a book. If a historian would try to do so, they would bore the reader so bad they would fall asleep rather quickly, and their book would be so big that...
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