Past Masters: John Burrows' History of Histories

The writing of history is one of the great legacies of the ancient Greeks, and its earliest masters, Herodotus and Thucydides, are as central to the foundations of Western civilization as Homer, Socrates and Sophocles. In more modern times, multivolume sagas of crumbling empires, explosive revolutions and nations nudging toward greatness were huge best sellers, making historians like Edward Gibbon, Thomas Macaulay and Thomas Carlyle as well known as Stephen King and John Grisham are today.

But the fact that this needs stating, or that we must intermittently re-emphasize history's relevance to understanding ourselves, points to a problem...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!