QUERY: Seeking a concise book or survey of major history theories

Mark Ciotola's picture

I am seeking an easily accessible, concise book or survey paper of major theories of historical phenomena, preferably those that are either generally accepted or that have substantial support by other scholars.

Although I have found works on historical methods, I have not yet been able to find such a work on theory itself. By easily accessible, I mean that theories concerning a particular subject area can be quickly found from the table of contents or index, rather than having to read large sections of the book to find what one seeks. By concise, I mean that the theory itself is expressed in a few sentences. Of course there can be supporting material and discussion, as long as one doens't have to read through it all to find the theory itself.

Would any members of this community have any suggestions for such a work?

You might try Lynn Hunt's Writing History in the Global Era. It's argument-driven, but clear and succinct about major theories/paradigms and how they relate to one another.

Mary, thank you for the suggestion. I will look up this work.

My absolute favorite survey is by Georg G. Iggers, Historiography in the Twentieth Century (Hanover and London: Wesleyan University Press, 1997). It's 20 years old, but it is very concise and clear.

For a brief textbook approach, you might try Norman Wilson, History in Crisis? Recent Directions in Historiography (Pearson/Prentice Hall). The 3rd edition came out in 2013, I believe.