Philip Ziegler

‘The Undivided Past’, by David Cannadine – review

David Cannadine detests generalisations and looks disapprovingly on any attempt to divide humanity into precise categories. The Undivided Past provides a resoundingly dusty answer to any historian rash enough to seek for certainties in this our life. It is highly intelligent, stimulating, occasionally provocative and enormous fun to read.

Cannadine considers the six ways in which humanity is traditionally deemed to split into distinct and usually hostile groups — religion, nation, class, gender, race, and civilisation — and demonstrates that these groups are neither distinct nor hostile — indeed, can hardly be said to be groups at all.

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