What is History, Now?

How the Past and the Present Speak to Each Other
co-edited with Helen Carr

(London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2021; paperback 2022)

How can we write the history of empire?

Can and should we queer the past?

Why does history deserve to be at the movies?

How can we recover the lost lives of women?

To mark the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of What is History? by E.H. Carr, this collection edited by Suzannah Lipscomb with Carr’s great-granddaughter, historian Helen Carr, reflects on the state of the discipline today.

The essays explore the ways in which people approach the past, different approaches to the study of history, histories that have been marginalized, and the ‘rewriting’ of history.

With contributions from Justin Bengry, Emily Brand, Leila K. Blackbird, Guy Casely-Hayford, Sarah Churchwell, Caroline Dodds Pennock, Peter Frankopan, Dan Hicks, Bettany Hughes, Islam Issa, Maya Jasanoff, Rana Mitter, Onyeka Nubia, Charlotte Lydia Riley, Miri Rubin, Simon Schama, Alex von Tunzelmann, Jaipreet Virdi and the editors Helen Carr and Suzannah Lipscomb, this is a stunning collection of inspiring writing which reflects on what the very best histories can say to our present.

It has been translated into Turkish, Korean, Chinese, and Simplified Chinese.

‘THE history book for now. This is why and how historians do what they do. And why they need to.’

Dan Snow

What is History, Now?

What’s new about this book?

This book captures and expands on all the way in which the discipline of history has developed in recent years. It has important things to say about new approaches and sources, how we grapple with silence in the archives, and neglected areas of our subject.

The essays provide a stimulating and inspiring insight into the best practice in history today.

Buy What is History, Now?

It is available from all good booksellers – support your high street! – and online from Amazon or Waterstones

What are people saying about the book?

‘A timely collection, varied and thought-provoking’

Pippa Bailey, The New Statesman 

‘What is History, Now? demonstrates how our constructs of the past are woven into our modern world and culture, and offers us an illuminating handbook to understand this dynamic and shape-shifting subject.

A thought-provoking, insightful and necessary re-examination of the subject for all students and lovers of history, which brings the past into the present’

Hallie Rubenhold

‘What is excellent about this collection is the passion with which it champions pluralism of historical study, as well as the sheer quality of the writing… the essays in this collection are models of lucidity and literary skill’

The Critic

‘Engaging and personal’

The Spectator

‘Urgent and utterly compelling’

Sathnam Sanghera

‘Simple yet intellectually sharp… The new volume is an active realization of the trajectory Carr proposes in What is History?, a filling of the archival gaps’

Georgia Smith, Retrospect Journal

‘Important and exciting’

Kate Williams

‘I recommend this book for tutors seeking to provoke critical thinking in their students or general readers… Ultimately, Lipscomb and Carr’s editing shows diversity in history. It is contentious, diverse, intimate, and public, a space that contains gatekeepers and anarchists.’

Deborah Lee- Talbot, Australian Policy and History

Other books by Suzannah Lipscomb