Keeping Time
Memory, Nostalgia, and the Art of History

Peter N. Carroll


“A brilliant, witty, touching, and consistently thoughtful book . . . Carroll succeeds in uniting the personal with the professional; in uniting the growth of a New York City working class boy with that of a tenured college professor. Carroll situates the scholar squarely in the world that made him and that he in turn helped to make.”
History Teacher

“Carroll’s unusual book comments wisely on history as something that is by definition at once personal, social, intellectual, and political. He invites all historians—who rarely stop to think very clearly about what we do and why—to draw both instruction and inspiration from these resonances.”
Journal of American History

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At once memoir and meditation, Keeping Time records one professional historian’s struggle to live in history even as he studies it, writes about it, and teaches it. Exploring the omnipresence of the past in American life today, Peter N. Carroll weaves into his autobiographical narrative a wealth of provocative observations on the practice of history, the connections between “small” lives and large forces, and the relationship of personal choice to public activity.

Carroll feels compelled to view the past in a different way—not as something remote from the present, but as a vital current in everyone’s life. He strives to popularize history, reminding us that the particulars of ordinary life are indeed historical, that all human beings, however “obscure” or “important,” exist in time, and that each must live in history.
Page count: 224 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $25.95

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Peter N. Carroll is the author, coauthor, or editor of seventeen books, including The Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade: Americans in the Spanish Civil War; They Still Draw Pictures: Children’s Art in Wartime (with Anthony L. Geist); and a volume of poetry, Riverborne: A Mississippi Requiem. He teaches at Stanford University.