The kind of history that proposed big round answers to large historical questions or propounded Toynbee-like views of man's drift simply did not show in '55. Fascinating bits of Americana were almost daily occurrences, from The American Cowboy to The History of American Funeral Directing. The U.S. Civil War was seldom out of sight, though in small focus, and a huge project dealing with one of Christianity's most dramatic impulses got under way with the first volume of A History of the Crusades. As is usual now, some of the year's best history...

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