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Download The Undivided Past: Humanity beyond Our Differences Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Undivided Past: Humanity beyond Our Differences, by David Cannadine Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Cannadine Narrator: Gildart Jackso Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From one of our most acclaimed historians comes an account of human solidarity throughout the ages, provocatively arguing against the received wisdom that history is best understood as a chronicle of groups in conflict.

Investigating the six most pervasive categories of human difference—religion, nation, class, gender, race, and civilization—Cannadine asks how determinative each of them has really been over the course of history. Without denying their power to motivate populations dramatically at particular moments, he reveals that in the long term none has proven remotely as divisive as the occasional absolutist cries of “us versus them” would suggest, whether Christian versus Muslim during the Crusades (and now), landed gentry versus peasantry during the Bolshevik Revolution, or Jews versus “Aryan race” in Nazi Germany. For most of recorded time, these same “unbridgeable” differences were experienced as just one identity among others; whatever most chroniclers, self-serving mythmakers, and demagogues would have us believe, history needs to be reimagined to include the countless fruitful interactions across these lines, which are usually left out of the picture. 

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Cannadine does not say so, but he may well have written his book in response to Samuel Huntington’s famous argument about the clash of civilizations…I can only hope that The Undivided Past will have all the impact of Huntington’s work, serving as an important reminder that human beings around the world not only have much in common but also have improved the conditions of their lives over time…His optimism is both refreshing and necessary.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A mediation on the ways in which history has been abused to present the world divided into simple, opposing identities of good and evil, ‘them’ and ‘us’…If any current historian might speak truth to power then we should wish it to be David Cannadine.” 

    Daily Telegraph (London)

  • “One of our most provocative and profound historians, Cannadine confronts the brutally populist, crudely polarized Manichean concept of ‘us versus them’ in the writing of history. He affirms, rather, the complexity and diversity of humanity and the connectedness of its manifold identities.”

    Times (London)

  • “A spirited case for harmony against the myths of identity politics…The Undivided Past succeeds best as a Swiftian treatise on the ignorance of the learned and the follies of the wise. While the fetishism of a single, adversarial identity still derails the study of history as much as the practice of politics, The Undivided Past should earn applause.”

    Independent (London)

  • “Highly intelligent, stimulating, occasionally provocative, and enormous fun to read…To write about the past, Cannadine concludes, requires the historian to celebrate the common humanity that has always bound us together, that still binds us together today, and that will continue to bind us together in the future. It is a noble message and one that historians would do well to heed.”

    Spectator (London)

  • “David Cannadine is a distinguished historian; his new book should make him famous. Now at the summit of his career, he brings a message that only a veteran and learned historian could deliver convincingly.”

    History Today (UK)

  • “Cannadine systematically examines the six most pervasive areas of identities across historical periods…Drawing on history, philosophy, economics, sociology, and religion, Cannadine offers a broad and sweeping look at the myriad ways we’ve been at each other’s throats throughout history. Still, he ends with the hopeful prospect that more historians will reexamine the chronicles of group conflicts and offer balanced perspectives.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Historian and editor Cannadine constructs a stirring critique of history that questions conventional approaches to narrating the human chronicle…That we exaggerate animosities and fail to recognize how cooperation, at least as much as conflict, has marked humanity’s experience, may seem a belaboring of the obvious. Yet Cannadine, an accomplished writer, details it in fresh and provocative terms.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “A complex, thoughtful examination of the fundamental ways in which humanity divides itself.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • The Undivided Past offers us a great historian’s skeptical and liberating exploration of the ways in which our various social identities do and do not make us what we are. David Cannadine deploys his penetrating erudition through contentious territory, maintaining always an exemplary elegance and civility.”

    Kwame Anthony Appiah, author of The Ethics of Identity

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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