CDN$ 20.95
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
Temporarily out of stock.
Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
The Killing of History: H... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Killing of History: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists Are Murdering Our Past Paperback – Feb 1 2000

3.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"
CDN$ 20.95
CDN$ 14.00 CDN$ 11.01

Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping for Six Months When You Try Amazon Student

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; New edition edition (Feb. 1 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893554120
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893554122
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 14.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #593,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

From Amazon

Australian scholar Keith Windschuttle is one of the fieriest participants in the debate about the practice of history. In The Killing of History he decries the growth of so-called cultural studies in place of the old-fashioned facts-and-chronologies approach. Windschuttle's passion sometimes carries him a bit too far, but he lands many solid punches, such as when he takes on the heavily published French scholar Michel de Certeau, who has called writing a tool of the power elite. "For someone who thinks writing is a form of oppression," Windschuttle twits, "he has done a lot of writing." Elsewhere Windschuttle attacks efforts to explain away such matters as human sacrifice among the Aztecs, saying that to accept such behavior is akin to "accepting the cultures of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia as equal but different." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Australian author and lecturer in history, social science, and media, Windschuttle presents an articulate, acerbic, sustained but balanced attack on postmodernist theory and its influence on the practice of history. After a survey of the major tenets of postmodern theory with its radical relativism, the author examines a series of case studies where the practice has been applied, such as Cortes's conquest of Mexico, movie versions of Mutiny on the Bounty, and the Hawaiian system of signs in the interpretation of Captain Cook's existence. He also includes a long chapter on Foucault. Showing the inconsistencies, errors, contradictions, and illogic that resulted from the postmodernist approach, he ultimately argues that the relativism and rejection of empirical research by such theorists produces a tribalism that disarms the marginalized groups it proposes to liberate. While oriented toward Australian intellectual circles, this book is readily accessible and deserves a wide audience.?Thomas L. Cooksey, Armstrong State Coll., Savannah, Ga.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

See all Product Description

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
First Sentence
Almost every week, the book review pages of the newspapers and magazines in most of the world's large English-speaking cities repeat a message that is rapidly becoming one of the intellectual axioms of our era: there is no longer any clear distinction between works of fiction and non-fiction. Read the first page
Explore More
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Keith Windschuttle was a young radical who grew up to become a scourge of the progressive intelligentsia and intellectual fraud. He is a courageous advocate for his causes and he is prepared to venture into the "lions dens" of his opponents to engage them in face to face debate, most recently in connection with his book "The Fabrication of Aboriginal History".
This earlier work is a critique of some modern theorists and theories which threaten to turn history and the humanities at large into an intellectual wasteland. It should be placed on the shelf alongside Sokal and Bricmont's book on intellectual impostures, though unfortunately the downside of both books is that the authors have misread the philosophy of Karl Popper and so depict him as a part of the problem and not as an ally.
The first chapter "Paris labels and designed concepts: The assension of cultural studies and the deluge of social theory" provides a valuable overview of the various intellectual icebergs that are floating loose in the sealanes of discourse. Many of the key players hail from France, though the German Heidegger was a major influence in paving the way for younger generations. Marxism and socialism in various forms provide a subtext for the movement, even while Marxism in its more rigorous traditional forms has become unfashionable. Cultural studies has become the major growth area on campus, catering for the perceived grievances of various groups and political movements.
The deluge of cultural theory incudes structuralism and semiotics, poststructuralism, and various kinds of postmodernism. The latter are classified as: the Neitzsche and Heidegger version; The Paris 1980s version (Lyotard and Baudrillard); the art and architecture version; the literary version; and the popular culture version.
Read more ›
3 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This is a book for a GENERAL audience - the widest possible reading public - because it's nothing short of a backlash against political correctness. I truly believe that wildly revisionist histories at least make us THINK, and can even throw new light on old stories (however dim that light might be). But we also need books like this to skewer obscurantist writing and the semiotic worldview - and I'm still not absolutely sure what semiotics is, which is part of Windschuttle's point. This is a stern check to a pendulum that might otherwise fly off the pin. He doesn't dismiss our elegiac feelings for the pre-Columbian world, he redirects it to the tribes that suffered genocide under the Mexica sacrificial knife. On the other hand, there are sections of his book difficult to read only because they're so hilarious. Structuralism? One of Windschuttle's unfortunate targets cites Captain Bligh's threat to make his crew "eat grass like cows." The author, Greg Dening, apparently goes on in his book to explain the crew's cultural understanding of those words, and I could hear the squeaky wheels of Monty Python's Trojan Bunny approaching. I find it very difficult to laugh helplessly and continue reading at the same time.
You won't be bored, or - God forbid - lost in the foreign language of postmodernism and hermeneutics!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
The essence of history, writes the author, is that it once tried to tell the truth, to describe as best as possible what really happened. Not anymore. No longer is there a distinction between history and fiction in this, one of many fronts, in the culture wars against Western Civilization. We find a war of atrocities committed by the West upon itself. As the Australian Windshuttle carries us through the wreckage we find objectivity has been abandoned, truth hopelessly politicized.
But no vacuum remains. The old objectivity is replaced by kind sounding censorship, control and quiet vendetta - a score to settle with the West. The author shows this is not isolated but permeates the West's political system, media and every university that once considered education its aim. The attack is not only on history but on knowledge, truth, the categorical separation of disciplines, and - in keeping with a perpetual incapacity of modern thinkers to grasp science - even that science fabricates its understandings of nature to serve political bias, regardless of truth. (Fortunately, nature is the final judge.)
One such "new movement" theory discussed by Windshuttle, structuralism, claims people are incapable of seeing outside structures imposed by their culture - a psychological edifice confining every thought to this structure. But structuralism cannot account for new movements outside the status quo. Insights radically outside accepted modes of thought are the mainstay of scientific and social revolutions - Einstein or Jesus. Windshuttle dismantles structuralism by showing how Sahlins and Dening not only lie about history but force-fit history to match their prejudice - the opposite of scientific method.
Double standards are glaring.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This is a book for a very specific audience. Windschuttle lays out a well-researched debunking of the current politically correct fads in the discipline of history. You'll find this book useful if you're interested in the esoteric differences among structuralism, poststructuralism, modernism, postmodernism, postcolonialism, relativism, tribalism and a long parade of other isms, not to mention a few stragglers like semiotics and hermeneutics. Certainly these theories and schools of thought have become popular among historians, much to the detriment of strict historical study at the expense of real "facts." As Windschuttle nicely sums up, these disciplines start with ill-defined theories then bend the historical facts to fit the theory. A prime example is the shifting treatment of European explorers and the uncritical praise of non-Western viewpoints.
Unfortunately this book merely becomes an intellectual catfight that is better left to the obscure halls of academia. Windschuttle fails to explain what true historical "facts" really consist of, and how his own strictly traditionalist approach is morally or literally superior to the new disciplines. In fact, Windschuttle shows many indications of a frustrated right-winger fighting back against the left-wing fads, with no possibility of compromise in the middle, and no possibility of admitting that his approach may have some weaknesses as well. This is most evident in the effort Windschuttle expends in painstakingly debunking some very minor works by minor academics, such as Greg Dening in Chapter 3 and Paul Carter in Chapter 4. This book merely shows one intellectual complaining about his peers, with little effort to explain how this applies to the non-academic world. Such disputes have little connection with the general public and are suspiciously personal in nature, as Windschuttle has merely expanded these very doctrinaire disputes with his colleagues into book form.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most recent customer reviews