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Old January 2nd, 2017, 11:23 AM   #11
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Every generation faces different challenges than those before and therefore draws upon history for different inspirations or different lessons about how to deal with today's problems. Take for example the American Civil War. In the early 20th century the world was obsessed with economics far more than today. So it was only natural that Civil War historians would emphasize the economic aspects of industrial North vs agrarian South. In the mid-20th century, as the civil rights movement took off, Civil War historians started emphasizing the abolitionist movement. Today there is more emphasis on strategy and tactics. It's not that the Civil War did not have economic components, nor was there a civil rights aspect, nor were there strategy and tactics. All of these were present, but at different times each has been emphasized more than other aspects of the war because different audiences want or need different lessons from the Civil War. So it is with any other historical subject or topic.
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 12:21 PM   #12

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Revisionism is fine except when it's sophistry, and agenda-driven sophistry is the worst. I'm something of a revisionist myself: I hate the standard take on Gaelic civilisation, especially the kitsch pop version. But I have the sources to prove any points I try to prove. No sources, no point. That ought to be a golden rule.
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 12:45 PM   #13
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Revisionist approaches tend to polish academic resumes. One is more interesting, and thereby often more influential, if he has something new to say. Revisionist approaches can also tend to sell more books.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 12:02 AM   #14

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Depends where the boundary is between revisionism and new knowledge/thoughts.

To bore you all again with my pet subject, medieval Spanish, many of the arabic letters and texts originating from, or ending up in, North Africa, were only translated/discovered/studied in the late 19th/early 20th century by people like Dozy and Sanchez Albornoz. Then along came the next generation of great historians like Huici Miranda and Levi Provencal to point out errors and serious unlikeliness.

The history of these times is riddled with contradicting sources and also serious exaggeration and embellishment, where the author is a servant of the subject EG the Almohad Caliph or the Portuguese or Castilian Crowns. They tend to start with basic facts and then go right off the rails with ridiculous embellishments or exaggerations. In some cases new material is still being unearthed

Garcia Moreno has recently published the best analysis of the 'invasion period' of Spain from 702 to 719, re-examining all sources and sifting out nonsense, legends and errors as far as possible, to get the most probable scenarios.

This sort of thing is still being sorted out - so is it 'revisionism' or is it just further subject study? In this subject there is a dreadful tendency to believe the first writer that came along, and I assume this extends to many subjects.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 11:37 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by songtsen View Post
I believe that there will be a lot more revisionism as African and Asian countries get more educated and start rewrtiting their own histories. Most will be of nationalistic junk nevertheless it will hopefully be not too bad.
Black Athena by Martin Bernal is an example. I have not read this though.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 11:42 AM   #16
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I am reading Durant's "The Story of Civilization." There has been revisionism since then, especially on Persia and Cambyses in particular- i.e. he wasn't insane ( I am on book 1 which was published in 1935).

Revisionism can be good.

Another revision of topic which is interesting is that of Abraham Lincoln. Thomas DiLorenzo writes an interesting take on Lincoln and Hamilton as well.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 12:14 PM   #17

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Agreed. Revisionism has been much maligned since Professor David Irving published his nonsense denying the holocaust. A fine example of historical revisionism at its best is the painstaking research that proved the Medieval English household was comprised mainly of the nuclear rather than the extended family. Revisionism is not dangerous of itself, but unfortunately a small number of agenda driven historians are.
David Irving is not a Professor, he hasn't even got a graduate degree although he did do a year at Imperial studying physics and after a break a further two on political economy--but he never gained a degree. Anyone who has read Irving's books, as I did many years before he lost his lawsuit against the alleged libels of his detractors (he sued them, remember), would know that he never " denied" the holocaust, but he questioned its extent, maintained that it was haphazard rather than subject to a plan and that much of the evidence offered is bogus. He has been proved by right and wrong over the years as more hard evidence has come to light.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 04:30 PM   #18

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If you mean: 'asking questions about and trying to change existing beliefs about how events happened or what their importance or meaning is: historical revisionism'; then it can be a perfectly natural process, and obvious when new evidence has been discovered.

Some revisions state that previous histories covering the topic in question were biased or idiosyncratic in some way, but are in turn biased (over a key point) in their own way too.

A key text on the history of the League of Nations is by Walton from the 1950s, is in fact very similar to Pedersens 2015 'revision'; but Walton does not cover everything: he doesn't talk about all the mandated territories, New Guinea for example; while Pedersen mentions Brazil in one sentence. Their respective intro essays are amazingly similar.

The League of Nations
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Old January 4th, 2017, 02:10 AM   #19

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David Irving is not a Professor, he hasn't even got a graduate degree although he did do a year at Imperial studying physics and after a break a further two on political economy--but he never gained a degree. Anyone who has read Irving's books, as I did many years before he lost his lawsuit against the alleged libels of his detractors (he sued them, remember), would know that he never " denied" the holocaust, but he questioned its extent, maintained that it was haphazard rather than subject to a plan and that much of the evidence offered is bogus. He has been proved by right and wrong over the years as more hard evidence has come to light.
Thanks for pointing out my error for which I apologise, but I would still point out that Irvine's ridiculous falsehoods that the holocaust was "haphazard rather than subject to a plan" is patently wrong as anyone familiar with the Wannsee Conference should know. If there was no plan why the hell would they have built the gas chambers? He has set back the cause of revisionist history to the point that many now associate it with an agenda driven vehicle for rampant nationalism, which is largely undeserved.
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Old January 4th, 2017, 03:48 AM   #20

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Thanks for pointing out my error for which I apologise, but I would still point out that Irvine's ridiculous falsehoods that the holocaust was "haphazard rather than subject to a plan" is patently wrong as anyone familiar with the Wannsee Conference should know. If there was no plan why the hell would they have built the gas chambers? He has set back the cause of revisionist history to the point that many now associate it with an agenda driven vehicle for rampant nationalism, which is largely undeserved.
The Wannsee Protocol was known among scholars from 1947 when the sole surviving copy was uncovered by a US Nuremberg Trials prosecutor in the German Foreign Office files. It was widely circulated during Eichmann's trial in 1961 when Eichmann stated that, despite the document never referring to any plan to exterminate Jews, he assumed that was his superior's intention. Despite this availability of the protocol and it being referred to in many publications, it was not given particular prominence until 1984 when a German TV drama film was made of the conference was made and an avalanche of new Holocaust books appeared.
While the Wannsee conference certainly called for a plan to get rid of the Jews one way or another--the cack-handed way the Germans implemented it was totally haphazard---the subject, I think, for another thread.

http://www.holocaustresearchproject....eeminutes.html
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