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10.20.03 Lukacs, John, Historical Consciousness; or, The Remembered Past, published in 1968.

As our review, we are quoting, in part, from commentary by historian Richard M. Gamble.

John Lukacs (1924-   ), the Hungarian-Born American historian, is probably best known to American readers as the author of several books dealing with Churchill, Hitler, and Stalin and those critical days in 1940 and 1941 when the outcome of the Second World War was very much in doubt.  Less well known is Lukacs’s historical philosophy. This is most unfortunate, because he has many important things to say about such matters.

His historical philosophy is built around several overlapping notions.  These include an understanding of history as a form of thought, the utterly critical emergence of historical consciousness bringing with it the intrusion of minds into the structure of events, the historicity of all knowledge, and the remembered past. 

Of his experience with the historical philosophy of John Lukacs, Richard M. Gamble, himself a notable historian, wrote:

“As a young graduate student at the University of South Carolina in the late 1980s I purchased a used paperback copy of John Lukacs’s Historical Consciousness: or, The Remembered Past.  I do not remember now how familiar I was with the author’s name or why exactly the book attracted me.  But through this book and many others to follow over the next quarter century, Professor Lukacs became one of my most formative teachers.  In more ways than I probably recognize, he has shaped how I think and talk about history, how I practice the historian’s craft, and the habits of mind I seek to cultivate in my own students.  Along with a handful of other teachers, he participates in an ongoing conversation in my head about what it is that makes history history.”