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To travel round the world is to be reminded of the very public presence of history, of the past as issue and identity. Yet this is widely underrated. The main reason for the discrepancy is the contrast between the ethos and methods that are central to the modern notion of scholarship that focus on questions, and history as it is appropriated and used by the state, the media, and the national collective memory in which the emphasis is on simplistic answers. Rather than seeing academics as the drivers of historical assessments, the central claim of this study is that developments in the public usage of history are crucial to the understanding of the past, and that these developments stem largely from political pressures. Using History is the first book to tackle public, non-academic history for the student and general reader. Furthermore, it does so from a truly global perspective as opposed to focusing on the traditional Western-dominated model.
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