Writing Ancient History.
Duckworth, London, 1999. 175p. Paperback. Front cover slightly creased. Else fine. 'M.'s purpose is to provide an undergraduate introduction to the study of historiography, stressing a couple of general points: that history is largely the product of the historian, and that, while never very useful as a predictive tool, it is nonetheless 'most useful in helping us to understand the present and recent past' (p.151). In this he is largely successfull. M.'s points are prettuy much standard contemporary fare, and he organizes them into four chapters: 'What is History?', 'The Use and Abuse of Sources', 'Telling the Story', and 'What is History For?' (...) His various specific case studies are, on the whole, well chosen, and set forth clearly. Lucidity is also a feature of his discussions of general trends in histroical thinking, most impressively in his discussion of cyclical, progressive and chaotic style of narrative (pp.144-150). Perhaps the greatest strength of the book is that M.'s discussion is framed in a way that would be recognizable to historians of other periods. He steers clear of the fascination, current ins ome quarters, whth demonstrating that history is a work of rhetoric. For M. there is no question but that this is the case, or that most people have thought this all along. Likewise he is perfectly clear that even if history is a rhetorical product, it is still supported by its own rules of evidence. (...) He demonstrates these rules through a series of well-chosen examples that are commonplace in standard British ancient history curricula. (...) As a basic instroduction to ancient historiography, and the modern writing of ancient history, this book works.' (DAVID POTTER in The Classical Review (New Series), 2003, pp.498-499).