The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 182

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

colonial peoples in shaping regional policies. He concludes, in
characteristic style: "In partnership with the mother countries,
the laboring masses of the West Indies can, with more confidence
than ever before, greet the dawn of a new era and by their own
efforts strive to bring ever nearer the high noon of prosperity."
The University of Texas
Understanding History: A Primer of Historical Method. By Louis
Gottschalk. New York (Alfred A. Knopf), 1950. Pp. xix+
29o+vi. $2.50.
In this compact little volume, Professor Gottschalk analyses
the problems which confront the beginning student of history.
It arises in part from experience which he has gained while
teaching a "laboratory" course in historical method.
Gottschalk divides his work into three sections which deal
with the objectives of historians, historical method, and historical
theory. The volume is more than a grammar of historical method,
which Gottschalk defines narrowly as "the process of critically
examining and analyzing the records and survivals of the past."
He devotes a large part of his attention to such questions as
causation, influence, and motive; the place of history in the
humanities and the social sciences; the relation of history to the
present; and the nature of history itself.
Gottschalk maintains that history is partly science, partly art,
and partly philosophy. He asserts that value judgments are an
essential part of historical writing and that the good historian
will unavoidably identify himself with some philosophy or sys-
tem of ethics. But while regarding history as a personal study,
he commends Lord Acton's famous instruction to the contrib-
utors to the Cambridge Modern History that they write as if
they were "in Long. 30o W." He suggests that history often can
and should be relevant to contemporary problems.
Gottschalk proposes five criteria by which a reviewer should
judge a historical study. It should have more than private or
passing significance, be written in a manner that assists toward
better understanding, introduce new information or a new inter-
pretation of old information, establish facts by strict application


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. ( accessed November 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.

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