Historiography in the 20th Century

Andrea Zuvich

February 7, 2006

Georg G. Iggers’ book, Historiography in the Twentieth Century,”

Peter Amann’s, “Prelude to Insurrection: The Banquet of the People;” David Herlihy’s, “Three Patterns of Social Mobility in Medieval History;” and last but not least, John Zimmerman’s, “Charles Thomson: The Sam Adams of Philadelphia,” are all greatly influenced by the different philosophical schools of history.

Peter Amann’s, “Prelude to Insurrection: The Banquet of the People,” exhibits an overall tone of Marxism, with the use of statements such as, “the Parisian workers had responded to their increasing misery and despair,[1]” since such word usage is typical in Marxist historical writings.  “The Banquet of the People,” reads less like an historical document and more like a classic Hugo-style novel. (Rather like “The Partition of Poland” was by Perkins).

The “Three Patterns of Social Mobility in Medieval History” by David Herlihy is blatantly a creation from the Annales’ way of thinking with its use of quantifying methods to make history more scientific[2]. Just a look on pages 627, 629, and 631 show the use of statistical information this author has chosen to add, presumably in order to make his work seem more scientific.

John Zimmerman’s, “Charles Thomson: The Sam Adams of Philadelphia” exhibits a definite consensus history tone with its use more themes that the general ignorant public would want to read and believe were true.

In conclusion, all three of these remarkable writers were touched by the great movements in historiography of their time. Zimmerman was influenced by the consensus history thought; Herlihy by the great French Annales “institution;” and finally, Amann with his subdued Marxist influence.


[1]Peter Amann, “Prelude to Insurrection: The Banquet of the People,” French Historical Studies, Vol. 1, No. 4. (Autumn, 1960), 438.

[2] Georg G. Iggers, Historiography in the Twentieth Century, 1st ed. (Middletown: Wesleyan university Press, 1997), 51-53.

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