cover of book
by Christian Meier
translated by Deborah Lucas Schneider
Harvard University Press, 2005
Cloth: 978-0-674-01692-7
Library of Congress Classification D16.8.M4213 2005
Dewey Decimal Classification 901


What does history mean today? What is its relevance to the modern world? In contemplating fundamental questions about history and the Western legacy, the noted classical historian Christian Meier offers a new interpretation on how we view the world.

Meier sees an “absence” of history in contemporary Europe and throughout the West—an absence he attributes to the way modern historians have written about history and, more important, to the dramatic transformations of the twentieth century. He argues for the central legacy of Western civilization. He tackles the difficulty of reconciling a historical perspective with our era of extreme acceleration, when experience is shaped less by inheritance and legacy than by the novelty of changes wrought by science and globalization. Finally, Meier contemplates the enormity of the Holocaust, which he sees as a test of “understanding” history. If it is part of the whole arc of the Western legacy, how do we fit it with the rest?

This engaging and thought-provoking meditation challenges us to rethink the role of history in Western culture and a changing world.

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