Reviews

Dead Certainties

Geist Staff

Dead Certainties, by Simon Schama (Vintage), contains two "experiments in historical narrative" that should be on the reading list of anyone interested in how we imagine the past, and how the past is imagined for us. The first piece, "The Many Deaths of General Wolfe," is a triumph of imagination and alone worth the price of the book. Here is Wolfe fully imagined in the context of the image-makers of his time, and the events of the Plains of Abraham—for most of us a corny bit of history—become a compelling glimpse into the imaginary world of our British predecessors. An invigorating example of what potential still lies in history-writing.

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