Why History Matters: Life and Thought

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9780195122893: Why History Matters: Life and Thought
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"All human beings are practicing historians," writes Gerda Lerner. "We live our lives; we tell our stories. It is as natural as breathing." It is as important as breathing, too. History shapes our self-definition and our relationship to community; it locates us in time and place and helps to give meaning to our lives. History can be the vital thread that holds a nation together, as demonstrated most strikingly in the case of Jewish history. Conversely, for women, who have lived in a world in which they apparently had no history, its absence can be devastating. In Why History Matters, Lerner brings together her thinking and research of the last sixteen years, combining personal reminiscences with innovative theory that illuminate the importance of history and the vital role women have played in it.
Why History Matters contains some of the most significant thinking and writing on history that Lerner has done in her entire career--a summation of her life and work. The chapters are divided into three sections, each widely different from the others, each revelatory of Lerner as a woman and a feminist. We read first of Lerner's coming to consciousness as a Jewish woman. There are moving accounts of her early life as a refugee in America, her return to Austria fifty years after fleeing the Nazis (to discover a nation remarkable both for the absence of Jews and for the anti-Semitism just below the surface), her slow assimilation into American life, and her decision to be a historian. If the first section is personal, the second focuses on more professional concerns. Included here is a fascinating essay on nonviolent resistance, tracing the idea from the Quakers (such as Mary Dyer), to abolitionists such as Theodore Dwight Weld (the "most mobbed man" in America), to Thoreau's essay Civil Disobedience, then across the sea to Tolstoy and Gandhi, before finally returning to America during the civil rights movement of the 1950s. There are insightful essays on "American Values" and on the tremendous advances women have made in the twentieth century, as well as Lerner's presidential address to the Organization of American Historians, which outlines the contributions of women to the field of history and the growing importance of women as a subject of history. The highlight of the final section of the book is Lerner's bold and innovative look at the issues of class and race as they relate to women, an essay that distills her thinking on these difficult subjects and offers a coherent conceptual framework that will prove of lasting interest to historians and intellectuals.
A major figure in women's studies and long-term activist for women's issues, a founding member of NOW and a past president of the Organization of American Historians, Gerda Lerner is a pioneer in the field of Women's History and one of its leading practitioners. Why History Matters is the summation of the work and thinking of this distinguished historian.

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For historian Gerda Lerner, the personal and the professional are inextricably linked. Recently retired from her position as a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, Lerner has crafted a profound and powerful meditation on what history means to her, and why it should matter to us. The essays in Why History Matters strongly connect Lerner's Judaism and her dual roles as feminist and historian: "To be a Jew means to live history," she writes, while Judaism's divisions between the sexes--particularly its denial of full participation in synagogue to women--eventually led to her embrace of feminism and her pioneering work in the field of women's history.

The position of women and other oppressed groups is of paramount interest to Lerner, and the longest essay in this collection deals with her theories of patriarchy as the father of all discriminatory systems. Class and race are other issues that concern Lerner, and they crop up again here in her discussion of the differences between black and white women's views of feminism. Sex, class, and race--all the hot-flash points at work in today's society--are accounted for in Why History Matter. There are connections, Lerner argues, between the violence, poverty, racism, and sexism we see all around us and the attitudes and events of the past. She has spent her life tracing these causes and effects, encouraged by her belief that understanding the past ensures a better future. And that, Gerda Lerner insists, is why history matters.

About the Author:


Gerda Lerner is Robinson-Edwards Professor of History, Emerita, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 1998. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. All human beings are practicing historians, writes Gerda Lerner. We live our lives; we tell our stories. It is as natural as breathing. It is as important as breathing, too. History shapes our self-definition and our relationship to community; it locates us in time and place and helps to give meaning to our lives. History can be the vital thread that holds a nation together, as demonstrated most strikingly in the case of Jewish history. Conversely, for women, who have lived in a world in which they apparently had no history, its absence can be devastating. In Why History Matters, Lerner brings together her thinking and research of the last sixteen years, combining personal reminiscences with innovative theory that illuminate the importance of history and the vital role women have played in it. Why History Matters contains some of the most significant thinking and writing on history that Lerner has done in her entire career-a summation of her life and work. The chapters are divided into three sections, each widely different from the others, each revelatory of Lerner as a woman and a feminist. We read first of Lerner s coming to consciousness as a Jewish woman. There are moving accounts of her early life as a refugee in America, her return to Austria fifty years after fleeing the Nazis (to discover a nation remarkable both for the absence of Jews and for the anti-Semitism just below the surface), her slow assimilation into American life, and her decision to be a historian. If the first section is personal, the second focuses on more professional concerns. Included here is a fascinating essay on nonviolent resistance, tracing the idea from the Quakers (such as Mary Dyer), to abolitionists such as Theodore Dwight Weld (the most mobbed man in America), to Thoreau s essay Civil Disobedience, then across the sea to Tolstoy and Gandhi, before finally returning to America during the civil rights movement of the 1950s. There are insightful essays on American Values and on the tremendous advances women have made in the twentieth century, as well as Lerner s presidential address to the Organization of American Historians, which outlines the contributions of women to the field of history and the growing importance of women as a subject of history. The highlight of the final section of the book is Lerner s bold and innovative look at the issues of class and race as they relate to women, an essay that distills her thinking on these difficult subjects and offers a coherent conceptual framework that will prove of lasting interest to historians and intellectuals. A major figure in women s studies and long-term activist for women s issues, a founding member of NOW and a past president of the Organization of American Historians, Gerda Lerner is a pioneer in the field of Women s History and one of its leading practitioners. Why History Matters is the summation of the work and thinking of this distinguished historian. Seller Inventory # AAV9780195122893

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1998. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed. Language: English. Brand new Book. A counter-revisionist examination of John F Kennedy and his administration. Promises Kept presents a policy history of major domestic legislature efforts bnetween 1961 and 1963. Irving Berstein focuses on administrative and congressional progress under Kennedy in civil rights, education, taxes, unemployment, Medicare and the Peace Corps. He persuasively argues that Kennedy was indeed `a very successful President, that the revisionists are dead wrong'. He contendsthat many of Kennedy's campaign promises were well on their way to being enacted by the third year of his first term, even after his first two years dealing with the transition of a society from conservative to liberal. Berstein also declares that many of Kennedy's objectives that were laterachieved by Lyndon Johnson would have been brought to fruition by Kennedy himself had he not been assassinated. He supports this argument by tracing Kennedy's selection of advisers and directors on each issue, piecing together his overall decision-making process through original written sources and previously published works, and calculating the probability that the policy would have been successfully implemented. Seller Inventory # AAV9780195122893

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1998. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed. Language: English. Brand new Book. A counter-revisionist examination of John F Kennedy and his administration. Promises Kept presents a policy history of major domestic legislature efforts bnetween 1961 and 1963. Irving Berstein focuses on administrative and congressional progress under Kennedy in civil rights, education, taxes, unemployment, Medicare and the Peace Corps. He persuasively argues that Kennedy was indeed `a very successful President, that the revisionists are dead wrong'. He contendsthat many of Kennedy's campaign promises were well on their way to being enacted by the third year of his first term, even after his first two years dealing with the transition of a society from conservative to liberal. Berstein also declares that many of Kennedy's objectives that were laterachieved by Lyndon Johnson would have been brought to fruition by Kennedy himself had he not been assassinated. He supports this argument by tracing Kennedy's selection of advisers and directors on each issue, piecing together his overall decision-making process through original written sources and previously published works, and calculating the probability that the policy would have been successfully implemented. Seller Inventory # BTE9780195122893

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Book Description Oxford University Press. Paperback. Condition: New. 272 pages. Dimensions: 8.0in. x 5.3in. x 0.6in.All human beings are practicing historians, writes Gerda Lerner. We live our lives; we tell our stories. It is as natural as breathing. It is as important as breathing, too. History shapes our self-definition and our relationship to community; it locates us in time and place and helps to give meaning to our lives. History can be the vital thread that holds a nation together, as demonstrated most strikingly in the case of Jewish history. Conversely, for women, who have lived in a world in which they apparently had no history, its absence can be devastating. In Why History Matters, Lerner brings together her thinking and research of the last sixteen years, combining personal reminiscences with innovative theory that illuminate the importance of history and the vital role women have played in it. Why History Matters contains some of the most significant thinking and writing on history that Lerner has done in her entire career--a summation of her life and work. The chapters are divided into three sections, each widely different from the others, each revelatory of Lerner as a woman and a feminist. We read first of Lerners coming to consciousness as a Jewish woman. There are moving accounts of her early life as a refugee in America, her return to Austria fifty years after fleeing the Nazis (to discover a nation remarkable both for the absence of Jews and for the anti-Semitism just below the surface), her slow assimilation into American life, and her decision to be a historian. If the first section is personal, the second focuses on more professional concerns. Included here is a fascinating essay on nonviolent resistance, tracing the idea from the Quakers (such as Mary Dyer), to abolitionists such as Theodore Dwight Weld (the most mobbed man in America), to Thoreaus essay Civil Disobedience, then across the sea to Tolstoy and Gandhi, before finally returning to America during the civil rights movement of the 1950s. There are insightful essays on American Values and on the tremendous advances women have made in the twentieth century, as well as Lerners presidential address to the Organization of American Historians, which outlines the contributions of women to the field of history and the growing importance of women as a subject of history. The highlight of the final section of the book is Lerners bold and innovative look at the issues of class and race as they relate to women, an essay that distills her thinking on these difficult subjects and offers a coherent conceptual framework that will prove of lasting interest to historians and intellectuals. A major figure in womens studies and long-term activist for womens issues, a founding member of NOW and a past president of the Organization of American Historians, Gerda Lerner is a pioneer in the field of Womens History and one of its leading practitioners. Why History Matters is the summation of the work and thinking of this distinguished historian. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780195122893

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