Rohan McWilliam recommends

Faculty: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
School: School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Course: History BA (Hons)

31 March 2020

Rohan McWilliam

We asked our BA History lecturers to give us their recommendations for a textbook, novel and film that students should try before joining the course.

These selections are by Professor of Modern British History Rohan McWilliam, whose research interests include the Victorian Britain, Modern British and United States history, Labour history and the history of popular culture.

History Text
What is History? by E.H. Carr. The book every History student should have read.  E.H. Carr was a distinguished historian of the Soviet Union. In a famous series of lectures, he pondered the art of writing history and asked if objective history was really attainable.

Novel
Graham Swift, Waterland (1983). This novel is set in the Fens (not far from us). It is about a History teacher in a school, but also far more than that: it is about the natural world and about what kind of history we should be writing.

Film
Citizen Kane (1941). Orson Welles’s masterpiece is often considered by critics to be the greatest film ever made. It certainly changed the language of cinema and repays multiple viewings. The film was based on the life of newspaper proprietor William Randolph Hurst (the Rupert Murdoch of his day). The film showed how film could rival the novel as an art form and make a statement about the American Dream.
 

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