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10.20.01 Fischer, David Hackett, Historians’ Fallacies, Toward a Logic of Historical Thought, published in 1970 by Harper.

Notes Concerning the Author

David Hackett Fischer (1935-    ) is Professor of History at Brandeis University near Boston, Massachusetts. He wrote Historians’ Fallacies early in his career, but his interest is widespread.  Major works include large macroeconomic and cultural trends (Albion’s Seed, The Great Wave), narrative histories of significant events (Paul Revere’s Ride, Washington’s Crossing) and, our topic of interest: explorations of historiography.  In fact he is said to have coined the term Historian’s fallacy.  Because professional pressure imposed on today’s historians to conform to “politically correct” historical interpretations,  the Society believes Fischer’s organized analysis of Historian’s Fallacies is an important contribution to the knowledge we of the Society need to sort out and categorize the false and intentionally incomplete telling of our history.

Fischer received a B.A. from Princeton University and a Ph.D. from John Hopkins University.


Fischer closes his introduction with these words:

“History, it is said, is an inexact science.  But in fact historians are inexact scientists, who go blundering about their business without a sufficient sense of purpose or procedure.  They are failed scientists, who have projected their failure to science itself.  Nothing could be more absurd, or more nearly antithetical to the progress of a potent discipline.”

A review by Robin W. Winks states, in part, “This is an important book, perhaps the most important to have appeared in recent years, in terms of helping an entire generation of scholars who profess to have lost confidence in being historians.”

Fischer’s Conclusion chapter is powerful and just as critical to our need for truthful history as it was 43 years ago.  For example he warns, “failures of historical understanding exist everywhere today. . . .  Arabs cry up a jihad against the infidels, as if nothing had changes in 900 years but the name of the enemy.”

And, at the risk of repetition, we of the Society believe that the history of the Southern people and their culture is in great need of truthful telling.  And the persistent historical fallacies that consistently distort the telling of the story of our people and their forbearers constitute the greatest hurdle we Southern historians are forced to confront.  So read Historical Fallacies and know your enemy.

Availability of this Book

We suggest Amazon.  Used books can be obtained.