Review by Choice Review
Among the books designed to teach aspiring historians proper procedures for their work, this volume ranks high. It is an adaptation for English-speaking academe of the recent edition of Walter Prevenier's Belgian text, which since 1969 has seen many editions (Uit Goede Bron, 1992). The book covers all procedures pertaining to finding and critically assessing sources, interpreting evidence, ascertaining causal connections, writing history, and using historical knowledge. As the title indicates, Howell (Columbia) and Prevenier (emer., Univ. of Ghent) aim to demonstrate how to find reliable sources, use them by means of reliable procedures, and, in so doing, produce reliable narratives. In the context of present debates, that puts the authors on the side of traditional historians. Howell and Prevenier, avoiding harsh partisanship, portray contemporary controversies as epistemological difficulties. Their arguments are always well balanced and soundly documented. Readers will especially appreciate the care taken to show the link between methodological innovations and the historical contexts in which they occurred. The development of methodology, thus, is linked to the history of historiography. The concluding part offers an extensive and helpful bibliography for beginning researchers. Upper-division undergraduates and above. E. A. Breisach emeritus, Western Michigan University
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