Download After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection by James West Davidson, Mark Lytle PDF

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By James West Davidson, Mark Lytle

For greater than twenty-five years, After the Fact has guided scholars via American background and the equipment used to review it. In dramatic episodes that circulation chronologically via American background, this best-selling booklet examines a vast number of themes together with oral proof, images, ecological facts, movies and tv courses, church and city documents, census info, and novels. even if for an introductory survey or for a historic equipment path, After in truth the best textual content to introduce readers, step-by-step, to the detective paintings and analytical techniques historians use once they are literally doing historical past.

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The arrow sped with such strength, it pierced the horse's tightly woven cloth armor and tore through the saddle, the arrow's shaft lodging more than a third of the way into the animal's flesh. * In the short term, though, De Soto and other newcomers used the horse and lance to great tactical advantage. De Soto also brought a number of large dogs, which the Indians learned to fear. Conquistadors had used dogs in the Caribbean. De Soto's first master there, the governor of Castilla del Oro, sponsored manhunts in which pris­ oners were set loose and, for sport, hunted down by dogs.

The Atlantic and Pacific oceans had long acted as barriers isolating the western hemisphere from ecosystems in the rest of the world. As the oceanic barriers broke down after 1492, the resulting migrations created 6 AFTER THE FACT: THE ART OF HISTORICAL DETECTION frontiers, not only of people but also of plants and animals. Indeed, the plants and animals frequently traveled in advance of human immigrants, and their arrivals transformed existing ecosystems in fundamental ways. Finally, there were also frontiers of microorganisms-frontiers of disease-which spread with astonishing and deadly results.

Skeptics resist the notion that history has to be refashioned on a regular basis. Objections most often surface in relation to textbooks. As historians, the two of us have written a number of surveys of the American past. ) When we mention that we are revising a text, the reaction is often puzzlement. What is there to do, other than to add a few pages to bring the story up-to-date? Yes, detective work went into putting the story together. But historians have had decades, even centuries, to piece together topics from the past.

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