Throughout history, humanity has defined itself by the mutually-exclusive and adversarial identities of nationhood, race or civilization; religion, gender or class. David Cannadine's provocative, masterly book shows why this is at best misleading and often wrong.
The Undivided Past argues that these categories of identity are artificial constructs, leading to damaging, often disastrous, over-simplifications of the human condition. Cannadine shows human history - and humanity's current prospects - in a new light, not as endless conflicts or 'clashes of civilizations', but as a more fluid, collaborative process. Our story, he reveals, is as much one of conversation and unity as it is of conflict and division.
'One of our most provocative and profound historians.' Iain Finlayson, The Times
'An impassioned plea for an understanding of the past that finds its focus in conversations and collaborations, rather than in conflict.' Boyd Tonkin, Independent
'An important reminder that human beings around the world not only have much in common but also have improved the conditions of their lives over time. His optimism is both refreshing and necessary.' Alan Wolfe, The New York Times Book Review
'If any current historian might speak truth to power then we should wish it to be David Cannadine.' Dan Jones, The Daily Telegraph
[Cannadine's] great strength is his lucid and crushing treatment of false prophets ... his case is urgent, as the news demonstrates every day ... Cannadine is frank in acknowledging that his is not the last word ... but he has uttered the first word and deserves exhaustive discussion. His plea is of enormous value. It should be heard in every think tank, madrassa, history workshop and sixth form and should guide the utterances of statesmen -- Hugh Brogan History Today Cannadine marshals modern scholarship, a sure historical sweep, and a confident polemic ... Quite rightly, Cannadine denounces the collective, warring identities conjured up by [neoconservative scholars] and again highlights a broader history of cultural exchange ... this collection winningly combines history, politics, and contemporary culture in a refreshingly optimistic manner -- Tristram Hunt MP BBC History An ambitious and wide-ranging exploration of the notion of human solidarity. It explores the concept by seeking to analyse what divides us, neatly sidestepping the need to list what we have in common ... an interesting and informative read Good Book Review [An] impassioned plea ... The Undivided Past should earn applause ... The next time some tub-thumping loudmouth proclaims the timeless truth of a binary divide - between, say, 'Britain' and 'Europe' - throw this book at them -- Boyd Tonkin Independent Highly intelligent, stimulating, occasionally provocative and enormous fun to read ... The Undivided Past is a cry for tolerance ... It is a noble message and one that historians would do well to heed -- Philip Ziegler Spectator Elegantly written and stimulating ... [Cannadine] goes much further than most academic historians in challenging the centrality of tensions based on nation, class, ethnicity and gender -- David Priestland Guardian Cannadine urges us to see through [prejudices] and past them, to get away from the old chestnuts of class, race, gender and the rest, and to concentrate on exploring what brings us together -- Mark Mazower Financial Times Each chapter of Cannadine's book ... displays the incisive and original argument for which he is renowned ... Cannadine is surely right to insist on a recovery of the unchronicled swathes of human history dominated by cooperation and peace, rather than wars of race, religion or nationalism ... [The Undivided Past displays] his characteristic style and ingenuity -- Jeffrey Collins Times Literary Supplement Cannadine has produced a set of lively and informative essays that are leavened ... by a dry wit -- Jill Stephenson Times Higher Education
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 28th May 2014
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 2.8
Weight (kg): 0.4
Edition Number: 1