Paradigm, No. 3 (July, 1990)


Volker R. Berghahn and Hanna Schissler (eds), Perceptions of History: International Textbook Research on Britain, Germany, and the United States (Oxford: Berg, 1987)

This collection of essays is concerned with the presentation of history in school textbooks. It owes its origins mainly to a joint project launched by the Historical Association in the United Kingdom and the International Textbook Institute, in Brunswick, West Germany.

The writers are knowledgeable and well-informed on their themes. Accordingly, the book will interest anyone working in the field of history in education or Anglo-German affairs, as well as historians themselves. The essays are primarily concerned, naturally enough, with historical interpretations found in textbooks, rather than either the book as object or the effects of textbooks on society, our two leading spheres of interest.

However, certain parts are relevant to our work, notably the Introduction (by Berghahn and Schissler) and Terry C. Lewis' excellent short account of developments up to 1987, which have strongly influenced the present proposals for history within the national curriculum. Recommended for specialists.

John Wilkes,
Anglia Higher Education College,


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