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    Anyone recommend any? Before an oxbridge interview/ to give you a good intro to history, something to talk about on ure ps etc

    thanks
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    The only general 'intro to history' type of book I skim-read before going to my interview at Pembroke was Ludmilla Jordanova's 'History in Practice', (first published by Arnold in 2000, ISBN: 0-340-66332-4) which I thought was pretty interesting. It introduces you to studying and writing history.

    Blurb on the back: 'She writes with equal facility about the history of society, high politics, economics and science and displays a genuine understanding of the different spirits and methods of sociology, anthropology abd philosopy and the ways in which these have made an impact on history.' & the Times Literary Supplement called it a 'brave and exciting book.'

    She has a very engaging style and I enjoyed reading the book, although I didn't as it turns out actually manage to work it into my interview. I'd still recommend her work if you are keen to read something before going to interview/to add to your ps. Otherwise, I'd say it's important to read widely around your particular areas of interest, rather than focusing on a general book. Mine is Tudor history, so I re-read work by Loades, Tittler, Elton, Haigh, Doran and various articles in History Today etc. Hope that helps.
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    (Original post by White_redrose)
    The only general 'intro to history' type of book I skim-read before going to my interview at Pembroke was Ludmilla Jordanova's 'History in Practice', (first published by Arnold in 2000, ISBN: 0-340-66332-4) which I thought was pretty interesting. It introduces you to studying and writing history.
    Argh! That book is awful! Hard to read, let alone understand!

    I'd recommend -

    History and the Historians – John Warren
    An overview of key thinkers an ideas in history. Nice, but too shallow. You could use it as a basis to find an aspect of history you’re interested in.

    What is History? – EH Carr
    This seems so simple and wonderful when you read it! But don’t be fooled, it’s rubbish! Reading Elton and Evans will set you straight.

    The Practice of History – GR Elton
    Mainly a critique of Carr. Elton argues for the Empiricist position, that through rigorous method the truth about the past can be recovered.

    The Pursuit of History – John Tosh
    A fantastic insight into the methods historians use.

    Historians on History – John Tosh

    Rethinking History – Keith Jenkins
    Good, short (88 pages) postmodernist work; bluntly, he believes that due to complexities stemming from the nature of language, there is no way we can know what really happened. This leaves doors open for Holocaust deniers.

    In Defence of History – Richard J Evans
    Evans tackles the postmodernist position brilliantly in what can only be described as one of the best books ever written.

    Studying History – Jeremy Black
    A history of history and a guide about reading history at degree level – dealing with the massive amounts of reading, writing essays etc. It’s quite useful as they’re trying to assess how suitable you are to the course.

    Fifty Key Thinkers on History – Marnie Hughes Warrington
    This provides a list detailing historians’ opinions. The major thinkers in terms of the theory of history are outlined, along with a full list, in the appendix.

    The Future of the Past: Big Questions in History – Peter Martland
    This is very useful. It consists of a collection of essays about the questions now facing history, and crucially, it’s all written by Cambridge dons, one of whom could well be interviewing you!

    What is History Now? – David Cannadine
    This explains what various strands of history mean now – religious, economic, social, imperial history etc.

    Also maybe you should look at some simple political theory as I was asked about it in one of my interviews, and if you're doing political history it can be useful to have a background knowledge of such ideologies.

    Hope this helps, sorry if it's a bit long

    M.
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    ^^^ omg! *jaw drops open* did you read all that in prep for your interview? *is amazed* lol. Did you really hate the book that much? I kinda liked it!
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    (Original post by White_redrose)
    ^^^ omg! *jaw drops open* did you read all that in prep for your interview? *is amazed* lol. Did you really hate the book that much? I kinda liked it!
    Not really, I just find historiography interesting I'll have a quick flick through Jordanova's book and tell you what problems I have with it, but I doubt you're that interested :p:

    M.
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    What is Histoy - by William Carr

    its interesting and one of the few books i read before my interview. They did ask me what books i had read outside my course that were also history related... so if you have said on your personal statement that you like one area of history.... read stuff on it
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    It would seem that M has covered all the books I was about to mention. I am reading History and the Historians now M, got The Pursuit of History, In Defence of History, Re-thinking History, What is History? and The practice of History all sitting by my bed to read. What order would you recommend?

    How go the exams mon ami? I trust Henry IV was fine on Friday?

    J

    PS Seen Kato's advertising on BD? You should apply for it
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    (Original post by JohnStuartMill)
    It would seem that M has covered all the books I was about to mention. I am reading History and the Historians now M, got The Pursuit of History, In Defence of History, Re-thinking History, What is History? and The practice of History all sitting by my bed to read. What order would you recommend?

    How go the exams mon ami? I trust Henry IV was fine on Friday?

    J

    PS Seen Kato's advertising on BD? You should apply for it
    Hello, I take it this is Dorris? :P

    I'd read them in the following order: Carr, Elton, Tosh, Jenkins, Evans. But you don't have to, read them however you want. Def settled on History at Cam then?

    Exams okay, Henry IV was pretty tough though, I definately screwed up a 10 marker but at least I got loads of Crouzet in [you'll see what I mean next year].

    There's a comp at Wolverhampton Grammar next Saturday, maybe we should look into it. Quite a few people'll be away [Bons, CLS, HR] which could make it an interesting one. Although we'd miss getting our lovely prizes of course...

    M.
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    (Original post by Mib)
    Hello, I take it this is Dorris? :P

    I'd read them in the following order: Carr, Elton, Tosh, Jenkins, Evans. But you don't have to, read them however you want. Def settled on History at Cam then?

    Exams okay, Henry IV was pretty tough though, I definately screwed up a 10 marker but at least I got loads of Crouzet in [you'll see what I mean next year].

    There's a comp at Wolverhampton Grammar next Saturday, maybe we should look into it. Quite a few people'll be away [Bons, CLS, HR] which could make it an interesting one. Although we'd miss getting our lovely prizes of course...

    M.
    Regrettably I am now allowed to miss prize day + it is my best friend's birthday so I am at his all day. Much apologies. Indeed this is "Dorris"

    I have settled on history indeed and most preferably Cambridge though Mr Harley does keep telling me the HAT is an option if I messed up a module - I wonder if he knows something I don't? .

    Is Crouzet one I have to study? I know I have to look at Rady (read the book already), Greengrass and some others though names elude me at this point.

    I have been asked to write a draft personal statement for Monday, tricky, not really sure what to write for a history PS - we have only really looked at ones for silly subjects like Veterinary Medicine. Any chance I could take a gander at yours? (if so could you e-mail to the usual address - the gmail one)

    Oh and a mutual friend going to the place that should not be named for an inferior subject was arguing with me earlier over the existence of historical fact.
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    OMG! You lot have read/are reading sooooo much stuff! I think I might have looked at the first chapter of one of those books and got bored - Historiography's not my thing at all! Anyway to anyone who is as intimidated by those lists as I am I just want to say you don't have to have read books like that as far as I can see. You just have to show a real interest in History. Try to read some books about a period that interests you outside the bounds of your A level course and be prepared to discuss that period in your interview - i.e. if they ask what you want to talk about it's a good idea to go for something history-related while saving the stuff you know more about for your main interview. Obviously interviews are different in different colleges and some people may well have been asked about those sorts of books particularly if they put them on their ps; however I'm currently at Oxford doing History and just read books that interested me (a biography of Elizabeth I and Susan Brigden's 'New Worlds, Lost Worlds') plus I'd done my French coursework on Napoleon but they didn't ask me about that. I don't even think they went into particular detail on the books beyond asking if I'd read anything history-related despite having put Susan Brigden's book in my ps and ending up being interviewed by her! Anyway my point is just read stuff that interests you - there's no point in slogging through something you think you should read when it's a real interest that will come across best at interview. Well that's my opinion anyway, other colleges may have very different interviews to Lincoln.
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    To be honest, if I were you, I wouldn't read specific books that are *good* to read, or sound impressive. Be different.

    For my interview, I read widely around periods I was interested in, and not the sort of *classic* books either. For example, for someone interested in modern German history, the obvious things to read would be Bullock's "Hitler: A Study In Tyranny" or Kershaw's biography. Obviously, I've read these, but in my interview I enthused about Albert Speer's "Inside the Third Reich." Personally, I'd go for a different angle.
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    Mib, do I gather that you did AQA Unit 6 on Henri IV as well? I thought I was the only one...

    Don't worry too much about reading just for interviews, it's really not that important. It'd be better to think about which areas or periods of history particularly interest you and why, as well as having intelligent things to say about your course. But I'd recommend Eric Hobsbawm, he's quite easy to read (I love him and don't even like his period). It might be best to start with his collection of essays on historiography and history generally, which I think is called "On History". But like other people have said, read around your favourite periods, ask your history teacher to recommend a couple of books (conveniently, they also often lend them to you, which can save you having to hunt them down/buy them yourself). And read John Guy.
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    (Original post by Dizzykiki)
    OMG! You lot have read/are reading sooooo much stuff! I think I might have looked at the first chapter of one of those books and got bored - Historiography's not my thing at all! Anyway to anyone who is as intimidated by those lists as I am I just want to say you don't have to have read books like that as far as I can see. You just have to show a real interest in History. Try to read some books about a period that interests you outside the bounds of your A level course and be prepared to discuss that period in your interview - i.e. if they ask what you want to talk about it's a good idea to go for something history-related while saving the stuff you know more about for your main interview. Obviously interviews are different in different colleges and some people may well have been asked about those sorts of books particularly if they put them on their ps; however I'm currently at Oxford doing History and just read books that interested me (a biography of Elizabeth I and Susan Brigden's 'New Worlds, Lost Worlds') plus I'd done my French coursework on Napoleon but they didn't ask me about that. I don't even think they went into particular detail on the books beyond asking if I'd read anything history-related despite having put Susan Brigden's book in my ps and ending up being interviewed by her! Anyway my point is just read stuff that interests you - there's no point in slogging through something you think you should read when it's a real interest that will come across best at interview. Well that's my opinion anyway, other colleges may have very different interviews to Lincoln.
    Omg, I'm about to do my French coursework on Napoleon... what aspect did you focus in on?
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    Rethinking History – Keith Jenkins
    when i start uni in september - he's going to be one of my lecturers. I went to the History course trial day thing and in his mini lecture he gave us 10 questions about what is History, how is it defined?


    it was really interesting.

    my advice for interviews - read about the subjects covered by your course. Have a look in Brian Heap's university guide - gives some likely interview questions
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    I'm shocked that no one has yet mentioned 1066 and All That, by RJ Yeatman and WC Sellar. Possibly the greatest history book ever written.
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    (Original post by *Bethany*)
    Omg, I'm about to do my French coursework on Napoleon... what aspect did you focus in on?
    Erm... whether he was 'a man or a monster'. Can't remember the exact title but it was definitely something like that. Ooh I found this really useful (from what I can remember) little book in the 'que sais-je?' series - 'Napoléon' by Roger Dufraisse but it's out of print. There is a site you can get such things from though if you're interested. WHat aspect are you thinking of doing?
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    (Original post by Madelyn)
    I'm shocked that no one has yet mentioned 1066 and All That, by RJ Yeatman and WC Sellar. Possibly the greatest history book ever written.
    A classic, without a doubt! :cool:
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    Virtual History - Alternatives and Couunterfactuals by Niall Ferguson.
    I liked it anyway! Suppose it would only interest you if you're interested in counterfactualism but definitely worth a read if you are.
    xx
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    (Original post by Mib)
    What is History? – EH Carr
    This seems so simple and wonderful when you read it! But don’t be fooled, it’s rubbish! Reading Elton and Evans will set you straight.

    The Practice of History – GR Elton
    Mainly a critique of Carr. Elton argues for the Empiricist position, that through rigorous method the truth about the past can be recovered.

    In Defence of History – Richard J Evans
    Evans tackles the postmodernist position brilliantly in what can only be described as one of the best books ever written.
    Basically, if you are a tad pushed for time (or lazy), reading 'In Defence of History' gives you Carr and Elton's views as well as a critique of them. Incidentally, I was surprised how I started out as a blatant Eltonite, and over the A2 year turned into a total Carrist!

    For quite an interesting view on the man Evans (as Carr says we must 'study the history before we study the history'), admittedly for only a few pages in a fascinating book, 'The Holocaust on Trial' by Gutenplan is worth a read.

    (Original post by Mib)
    Also maybe you should look at some simple political theory as I was asked about it in one of my interviews, and if you're doing political history it can be useful to have a background knowledge of such ideologies.

    Hope this helps, sorry if it's a bit long

    M.
    Hegel and Marx are a must for modern european history - some knowledge of Foucault and Oakeshott may be useful too.

    As an aside, I found understanding of the debates in your chosen period are particularly useful for getting into historiography; eg in 20th Century political history structuralism vs intentionalism, for Fascist Italy Makeweight vs Strutting Buffoon, for Nazi Germany strong dictator vs Weak and Consensus Dictatorship vs Terror. 'Nazism; a reader' is a wonderful book which would have got me through the A2 Exam without a problem!
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    (Original post by LondonBoy)
    Anyone recommend any? Before an oxbridge interview/ to give you a good intro to history, something to talk about on ure ps etc

    thanks
    Although most people will suggest it (teachers especially), even if they dont like it E H Carrs 'What is history' is a good introduction to the theory of history in that it basically started the trend. Now there are numourous books, some with very similar titles and in practically all of them they will mention Carr whether they are praising or denouncing him. It was the only thing I read before my interview and at the time I didnt really take in much of it apart from the first chapter on 'the historian and his facts' which is accessible and quite interesting.

    My advice is dont try and read as much about the theory of history just for the sake of doing so, some 'theory' books like Ludmilla Jordanova 'the practice of history' or John Tosh 'The pursuit of history' are more general, while other books, like something by Keith Jenkins are written from their own standpoint, in his case he takes a post modernist line. In short if you try and read too many you will probably just end up confused, so instead if you are going to read theory do so with something in mind and something you are interested in, i.e you want to find out something about oral history, or womens role in history or the problems of historical sources and then choose chapters or books accordingly. For one you are much more likely to be able to 'slip in' to interviews what you have read up upon if its slightly more directed.

    In the interview, if you apply to a college where you are given something to read about an hour before the interview and then to discuss it like I was, it will often have an element of theory, in that you will be reflecting upon history itself, rather than discussing the russian revolution or something, but this is more about how you interpret what you've read and are able to reflect upon it and has a strong element of 'thinking upon your feet.'

    (As an aside if you end up studying at Cambridge you will study historical theory in conjunction with your normal history papers. so for example if you are Studing modern african history you will appreciate the use of oral history, or if you are studing a social paper you will appreciate the use of 'history from below')

    Moving on from theory, what I would suggest is that you ask your history teacher if they can suggest any books that would complement the course you are doing, i.e mine suggest 'Crime and Punishment' because it gives you a feel for russian society at the time I was studying, that way you get to read something that is relevant and away from the 'access to history books' (sometimes I still miss them though... ) and something you are likely to be able to bring up if you choose to.

    Sorry for that slightly long winded reply, good luck with your oxbridge application
 
 
 
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