Selvages and Biases: The Fabric of History in American Culture

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Cornell University Press, 1987 - 336 pages
Winner of the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for history, Kammen addresses three themes concerning the state of historical inquiry in America. Beginning with how history as a professional discipline has changed over the past century, the book treats the relationship of the historian's craft to American nationalism, the value of historical knowledge, and the shifting attitudes of historians toward society. Kammen appraises the significance of historiography as a measure of cultural change and shows how the past has been manipulated for social and ideological reasons, and how memories of the national and regional past have conflicted with the realities of historical experience. He also explains how traditional modes of interpreting the past have lost their cohesive force and why historians should pursue new approaches to the cultural history. ISBN 0-8014-1924-7: $24.95.

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About the author (1987)

Michael Gedaliah Kammen was born in Rochester, New York on October 25, 1936. He received a bachelor's degree in history from George Washington University and master's and doctoral degrees in history from Harvard University. He was a professor of American history and culture at Cornell University since 1965. He wrote numerous books including A Season of Youth, A Machine That Would Go of Itself, Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture, Visual Shock, and Digging Up the Dead: A History of Notable American Reburials. He received the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for history for People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization. He died on November 29, 2013 at the age of 77.

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