Toynbee and History, edited by Ashley Montagu
The well-known social scientist Ashley Montagu has collected over thirty articles to form a symposium on Toynbee’s A Study of History which includes the views of such distinguished scholars as Pieter Geyl, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Geoffrey Barraclough, A. J. P. Taylor, and Walter Kaufmann. Collectively, these essays represent the best criticism that Toynbee is likely to receive in our generation, and their very appearance together in this book marks Toynbee’s emergence, not as a great historian, but as a figure of cultural significance.
The consensus of opinion of the historians among the contributors is not surprising. Had Toynbee presented his work merely as personal reflections on the old questions about the nature, “pattern,” and “meaning” of history, he might have escaped some of the criticism leveled at him here. But he has repeatedly asserted that, unlike Spengler, he has been loyal to fact, and it is precisely on grounds of fact that fellow historians have found him most vulnerable.
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