How History Gets Things Wrong

by Alex Rosenberg

Category: History

Book Reviews

  • @morganhousel You ever read this book? It claims there have been 40k books written about Lincoln to Tweet

About Book

"This trade book takes on the widely-shared belief that learning the history of something always contributes to understanding it, is often the best way to do so, and sometimes is the only way. The aim is to explain away these three beliefs, to show why historical narrative is always, always wrong, not just incomplete or inaccurate or unfounded, but mistaken the way Ptolemaic astronomy or Phlogiston chemistry is wrong. The resources employed to do this are those of evolutionary anthropology, cognitive science, and most of all neuroscience. Much of the book reports Nobel Prize winning advances in neuroscience in ways that are accessible to the non-specialist and reveals their relevance for our fatal attraction to stories. Although framed as a searching critique of historical narrative as path to understanding and knowledge, the book also provides a report of the current state of play of research in cognitive social psychology, evolutionary anthropology, and the study of the brain at the level of neural detail"--

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