For avid readers of history, the historical essay offers all the pleasures of a book, compressed; here, in just thirty pages or so, are the elements that make historical scholarship such a compelling literary genre—a good story, well told and thoroughly researched, a narrative that illuminates the past and, in some cases, inspires fresh ways of looking at the present. Indeed, a case can be made that the history essay compares to a book the same way a short story compares to a novel: The shorter work provides the gratification and intellectual stimulation of the longer one, but the story moves more briskly, and the reader is rewarded more quickly.


Indian Woman American History Historical Scholarship Dominant Narrative Racial Ideology 
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Copyright information

© Organization of American Historians 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacqueline Jones

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