The Importance of History

History Today welcomes its seventh Editor to the magazine.

The last few months have served to remind us, once again, of the importance of history. Just as the attacks of 9/11 deprived the West of the comforting illusion of the End of History, so the credit crunch reminds us all, painfully, that the economic cycle remains untamed. History has a way of tripping us up with its harsh realities, especially societies prone, like ours, to bouts of serial amnesia. Even historians succumb: was it not Dr Gordon Brown, chronicler of Red Clydeside, who proclaimed the end of ‘boom and bust’? Surely, it is significant that Brown, George W. Bush and now Barack Obama, facing a once-in-a-century crisis, have all sought the advice of professional historians. History is a serious subject for serious times.

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