John Tosh, “Why History Matters”

“My purpose in this book is to show how a more widespread understanding of historical thinking might bring closer the ideal of the critical citizen. (…) My concern is a practical one: to make the case that history is a critical resource for the active citizen in a representative democracy. (…) My contention is that the real value of history lies in equipping young people with a distinctive mode of thinking which can be critically applied to the present.” (Preface)



Why History Matters


Author(s): John Tosh


Publisher: Red Globe Press




Pages: 192


Downloads: Flyer

Sample chapter




In order to better understand our current society, we need to critically examine the historical events which have shaped it and this textbook thoroughly demonstrates how analysing history can provide the basis for an informed and insightful understanding of our society as it is today. Examining key events in history such as the Iraq War and the AIDS crisis, John Tosh persuasively argues that we are in danger of missing history’s principal contribution – how we can practically apply the lessons learnt from history to society today. The text clearly demonstrates why historical examination needs to have a bigger role in current decisions and how we should reconfigure our priorities in order to make that happen.


Providing an important and engaging introduction to the study of history, this text is perfect for undergraduate students of the subject.




– A critical examination of important historical events and how they have shaped our culture


– Discusses how historical events are portrayed in the media and the affect this has on society


– Takes a practical approach in demonstrating how historical knowledge can be applied to current issues


– Considers how a historical knowledge can benefit active citizens in making informed decisions





Prologue: Britain in Iraq

Contending Histories

Other Worlds

Becoming Ourselves

Parallels in the Past

The Family in Crisis: a Case-Study

History Goes Public

The Citizen’s Resource



Select Bibliography.




JOHN TOSH was formerly Professor of History, Roehampton University, UK. He is the author of the standard introductory text, The Pursuit of History, now in its fourth edition. He has also published extensively on the history of masculinities in Britain, including A Man’s Place: Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England.