Although I have never met Sam Wineburg, and he is ten years my junior, he has been a mentor since I got into the history-teaching business over two decades ago. He was the only writer I found who tried so diligently to get beneath the skin of history education—to ponder its nature and how it might be made useful.
I tend to think of Wineburg as Mr. Historical Thinking; he first made a name for himself with the book “Historical Thinking and other Unnatural Acts.” And he’s had his biggest impact as director of the History Education Group at Stanford University, which developed the “Reading Like a Historian” curriculum that has been downloaded from the Internet umpteen times by high school history teachers.
I was pleased to see that this latest book also takes a stand for historical knowledge, which has acquired a deservedly bad reputation, because much of what we teach in school is trivial and pointless. Wineburg writes, “Of course, knowledge is a prerequisite to critical thinking. At the same time, knowledge represents its highest aim.” The challenge facing teachers—it seems to me—is to identify historical knowledge that can be relevant to people’s lives.
In the latter part of the book, Wineburg ranges beyond his role as history educator to consider the very real problem of identifying valid information on the Internet, which has increasingly become a primary source of information for many. His research has found that even the people we would expect to be good at it—such as digital professionals and historians—aren’t.
This book is a fine read. Wineburg is a graceful writer who has inspired countless history teachers with his tireless efforts to explore and improve the field of historical learning.
- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: The University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (17 September 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 022635721X
- ISBN-13: 978-0226357218
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 386 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)