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Welcome sign in sign up. Historical optimism and pessimism can be equally sentimental. Until recently pessimism seemed to be, in this century, the more likely sentimentality. For the sentimental optimism of the last century, apparent in such writers as Macaulay and Mrs. Markham, was based upon an assumption which, it seemed, could scarcely survive the brutal realities of contemporary history: the assumption, seemingly banal, but actually somewhat sinister, that power and right coincide.

We have had to learn to live in an age in which power and right, far from converging, are inexorably set in opposition. There are a growing number of examples of non-tragic optimism of this kind. Lord Snow too, in his Rede lecture, shares the essentially bureaucratic spirit of modern Panglossism, while E. The present volume is presumably a compendium of what is to come. The suffering of humanity in this century, whether as the result of the breakthrough from older social patterns, or of decolonializing, or of technological advance—almost none of it appears here.

What is the perspective that results in these omissions? Barraclough devotes most of his book to four principal changes, which together define his perspective: Science and technology are no longer marginal activities, but central agencies of social transformation; history is now made not only or mainly in Europe, but in America and Russia and in the Afro-Asian countries; liberal individualism has given way to mass democracy; and communism has set a pace, both by its achievement of a planned economy and by its propagation of Marxism-Leninism, which has forced competing changes upon the….

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BARRACLOUGH, Geoffrey An introduction to contemporary history

By Geoffrey Barraclough. New York: Basic Books. Most users should sign in with their email address. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above.


Revisiting Barraclough's Contemporary History

Yesa Portela flag Denunciar. Circumstances during the subsequent five years prevented my working on it further, and I am greatly in debt of those whose help and encouragement enabled me to take it up again. In particular, I should like to express my gratitude to the Rockefeller Foundation for their generous support and to the Master and Fellows of St John's College, Cam- bridge, for their hospitality. The basis of this book is the Charles Beard lectures delivered at Ruskin College, Oxford, in the spring of and in a revised form at the University of California, Los Angeles, a year later. The appearance of this Pelican edition has provided still another opportunity for revision, which I have gratefully used particularly in Chapters I, V and VII both to bring the text up to date and to intro- duce new fact and illustration. In attempting to single out what seem to me to be some of the main themes of contemporary history, one of my purposes has been to clear the way for the narrative history of the world since which I have in preparation. It seemed to me that a theoretical framework, which attempted to clarify the basic ideas and place events in per- spective, was an essential preliminary to any chronological survey.


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Geoffrey Barraclough

Geoffrey Barraclough 10 May , Bradford — 26 December , Burford was an English historian, known as a medievalist and historian of Germany. Professor Barraclough began his career as a medievalist but developed into a contemporary global historian. He was deeply concerned about history's uses and relevance in the 20th century. It seemed to him that political debate and ultimately political decisions suffered from a lack of historical insight. To rectify this problem Barraclough developed historiographical methods for comparative history.

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