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History: What and Why? is a highly accessible introductory survey of historians' views about the nature and purpose of their subject. It offers a historical perspective and clear guide to contemporary debates about the nature and purpose of history and a discussion of the traditional model of history as an account of the past 'as it was'. It assesses the challenges to orthodox views and examines the impact of Marxism, feminism and post-colonialism on the study of history. This second edition has been updated to reflect the continuing, and still increasing, debate surrounding these issues. In particular it discusses: historians' fear of postmodernism holocaust denial and the Irving/Lipstadt libel trial the future of the past in the light of the postmodern challenge.