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  • Making History

  • The Storytellers Who Shaped the Past
  • By: Richard Cohen
  • Narrated by: Richard Cohen
  • Length: 26 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, World
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Summary

Making History is an epic exploration of who writes about the past and how the biases of certain storytellers - whether Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare or Simon Schama - continue to influence our ideas about history (and about who we are) today.

In this authoritative and entertaining audiobook, Richard Cohen reveals how professional historians and other equally significant witnesses (such as the writers of the Bible, major novelists, dramatists, journalists and political propagandists) influence what become the accepted records of human experience. Is there, he asks, even such a thing as 'objective' history? The depth of Cohen's inquiry and the delight he takes in his subjects includes the practitioners of what he calls 'bad history,' those thieves of history who twist reality to glorify themselves and conceal their or their country's behaviour.

Cohen investigates the published works and private utterances of our greatest historical thinkers to discover the agendas that informed their views of the world, and which in so many ways have informed ours. From the origins of history-writing, when such an idea seemed itself revolutionary, through to television and the digital age, Making History abounds in captivating figures brought to vivid life, from Thucydides and Tacitus to Voltaire and Gibbon, from Winston Churchill to Mary Beard. Rich in character, complex truths and surprising anecdotes, the result is a unique exploration of both the aims and craft of history-making. It will lead us to think anew about our past and ourselves.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our desktop site.

©2021 Richard Cohen (P)2021 Orion Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"What a brilliant achievement! Like all Richard Cohen's writing, The History Makers opens a dialogue with the reader - grave and witty, suave yet pointed - erudite yet engaging and full of energy. It has huge scope, but never forfeits the telling detail. It is scholarly, lively, quotable, up-to-date and fun." (Hilary Mantel)

"Richard Cohen has written an utterly engaging love letter to history's hidden story tellers. Provocative, funny but scrupulously fair, The History Makers is a timely reminder that history doesn't write itself." (Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, A World on Fire and The World Made by Women)

"With meticulous research and riveting anecdotes, Richard Cohen has peeled back the hidden history behind those who record our past. He brilliantly shows how an extraordinary gallery of characters - from prodigies to charlatans, from ideologues to heroes - has exposed, shaped and, at times, bent and even covered up the facts. In the process, Cohen has achieved what only the finest historians can: he has scrupulously and engagingly made history." (David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon and The Lost City of Z)

What listeners say about Making History

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Poor narration

The author narrates his own book here, which is very unfortunate and does a great disservice to a very interesting work. It is a long and complex book, and if ever a subject needed professional presentation, this was it. Probably best to buy the book.

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i have had to order the physical book

The book has the potential to be very interesting on the development of historiography from the classical world to the present. I suspect that the book is well written, though this is based on a small portion of the book, the narration though is the perfect cure for insomnia, it is very clipped posh English but with no passion, it just drones on and on.
There is enough in what i have listened to, to suggest that there is an interesting book here but the narration does not in any way do it justice. With it being the author as narrator it feels as if the authors passion project has gone a bit too far, he should really just stick with the written word.
There is enough of an interest been sparked that i have ordered the book.
Avoid if you have not got insomnia

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An education and a pleasure for your mind

Richard Cohen illuminates not just the authors, historians and their critics, but the times they lived in, their mental and emotional landscapes. He conjures up their most brilliant, personal and intellectual aspects so that you feel you're encountering them yourself. Along the way, even in eras and subjects you thought you knew something about, you're presented with events and ideas and opinions which engage your mind and which are usually utterly persuasive.