‘A huge, fizzing omnium-gatherum of a book . . . marvellous’ Daily Telegraph
‘Witty, wise and elegant . . . a classic of history itself’ The Spectator
‘Grave and witty, suave yet pointed . . . full of energy’ Hilary Mantel
‘An enthralling investigation . . . consistently entertaining’ The Times
‘Epic . . . whatever Cohen writes about he writes about with brio’ New Yorker
Who writes the past? And how do the biases of storytellers – whether Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare or Simon Schama – influence our ideas about history today?
Epic, authoritative and entertaining, Making History delves into the lives of those who have charted human history – professional historians, witnesses, novelists, journalists and propagandists – to discover the agendas that informed their world views, and which in so many ways have informed ours. From the origins of history-writing through to television and the digital age, Making History abounds in captivating figures brought to vivid life, from Thucydides and Tacitus to Voltaire and Gibbon, from Winston Churchill to Mary Beard. Rich in character, complex truths and surprising anecdotes, the result is a unique exploration of both the aims and craft of history-making that will lead us to think anew about our past and ourselves.
Superb . . . Highly entertaining . . . Witty, wise and elegant, this tremendous book deserves to become a classic of history itself * THE SPECTATOR * What a brilliant achievement! Like all Richard Cohen's writing, Making History opens a dialogue with the reader - grave and witty, suave yet pointed - erudite yet engaging and full of energy. It has huge scope, but never forfeits the telling detail. It is scholarly, lively, quotable, up-to-date and fun -- HILARY MANTEL An enthralling investigation into the ways in which the background of historians affected and affects the way they present the past. Using autobiographies, letters and the comments of contemporaries, Cohen brings to life legendary figures. Black history and "herstory", novelists and journalists, Bible stories and military campaigns, Putin's revision of Russian history: all pass under his consistently entertaining scrutiny . . . [a] historical Tower of Babel * THE TIMES * A huge, fizzing omnium gatherum of a book . . . marvellous -- Noel Malcolm * DAILY TELEGRAPH * Richard Cohen has written an utterly engaging love letter to History's hidden story tellers. Provocative, funny but scrupulously fair, Making History is a timely reminder that history doesn't write itself -- AMANDA FOREMAN This absorbing survey begins with the early historians of the classical world and continues through to the modern era * FINANCIAL TIMES * Supremely entertaining . . . epic . . . whatever Cohen writes about he writes about with brio * THE NEW YORKER * Insightful and entertaining . . . there are so many things to like about this book: its breezy tone, its author's Herodotus-like curiosity and delight in anecdote, his readiness to recognise the vices as well as the virtues of historians, and the splendid in-text illustrations . . . a gargantuan achievement * THE CRITIC * [A] magisterial and wide-ranging examination of the way that historians and other significant witnesses distort through their own prejudices what have become records of human experience * COUNTRY LIFE * With meticulous research and riveting anecdotes, Richard Cohen has peeled back the hidden history behind those who record our past. He brilliantly shows how an extraordinary gallery of characters - from prodigies to charlatans, from ideologues to heroes - has exposed, shaped and, at times, bent and even covered up the facts. In the process, Cohen has achieved what only the finest historians can: he has scrupulously and engagingly made history -- DAVID GRANN, author of Killers of the Flower Moon and The Lost City of Z What a grand, illuminating and fun book! Richard Cohen takes us on a learned tour through the cacophony of history and of the characters who've told the stories that shape us. To understand who we are, we have to understand who we've been - and, as Cohen amply demonstrates, who's framed those understandings -- JON MEACHAM, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House and Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power A fascinating and finely wrought history of history * PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, starred review * [A] love song to the profession of history . . . extremely effective. Cohen's range is admirably broad . . . insightful, thought-provoking and thoroughly researched * LIBRARY JOURNAL *
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