Critical Analysis of "Historiography in the Twentieth Century" by Georg G. Iggers

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Historiography in the Twentieth Century: From Scientific Objectivity to the Postmodern Challenge, a book written by Georg G. Iggers, explores the transformation of modern trends throughout history using the influence of social science. Iggers combines his studies of German and American customs defined by social history to bring us in-depth highlights of pertinent information.

Iggers opens the book by talking about a revolutionary way that the Western world was taught about history. Throughout the book he ascertains the changes that take place throughout historiography and the nature of history itself. He also examines prior historical notions and the way that historiography was altered after World War II. History morphed from previous antiquarian teachings into a deeper, more evaluated approach. Historians gained a more intimate relationship with postmodern ideas and began looking at history in an objective manner using contemporary discipline. Iggers studies the way postmodernism was changed by new social sciences which allowed more detail into cultural influences and the problems surrounding globalization theories. He also explains the birth of microhistory which replaced macrohistory.

We are introduced to historical work done by North America, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, Italy, France, Central Europe, and some minor reference to Poland and Russia. The three main divisions of the text are a gamut of information about the late 19th and early 20th century. It is during this time that Iggers talks about Leopold Ranke and the influence of his brilliant ideas. “It was Ranke's aim to turn history into a rigorous science practiced by professionally trained historians” (Iggers, 2005). Ranke initially introduced the ...

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...ry approach that Iggers produces in his book, mentioning important influences of both macrohistory and microhistory but I do not agree with his biased approach without further analytical detail in order to back up his arguments. I also agree that Iggers does provide an easy to read introduction to historiography for beginners or undergraduate students. Overall, his combination of intense studies and supreme understanding of historiography on a modern level makes Historiography in the Twentieth Century: From Scientific Objectivity to the Postmodern Challenge an enjoyable read that is highly enlightening for students and teachers or anyone interested in a quick background of modern social history.

Works Cited
Iggers, G. G. (1997). Historiography in the twentieth century: from scientific objectivity to the postmodern challenge. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press.
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