[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: Yale University Press
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, eBook
Purchase: Powell’s | Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | iBooks[/alert]

History can be used for many purposes, not all of which are good. In this largely philosophical work, Adam Michnik explains how history has been used for ill, in the modern era and in the past. Mr. Michnik splits the book into two parts; the first part explains the uses and abuses of history. He then hits on his major point: the problem of fundamentalism and how it is used. Fundamentalists use history to their own devices, even if the facts contradict their ideologies. To explain why this fundamentalism is a major issue, Mr. Michnik compares and contrasts modern-day Poland and Revolutionary France. Both experience extreme fundamentalism and both abused history in their efforts to gain control.

This is a book for the serious thinker, both in philosophy and history. Even though general readers could read it, I think they will have a hard time following it and understanding it. The writing can be a bit dry at times and the concepts are very high level. This is still an important book, and one that should be read, though I am not sure everyone who reads it will understand it.

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