Summary,Why Historians Disagree


Summary 英语1301山理外国语 Most students are usually learned and memorized a lot of names, event and statistics by means of thick textbook. The more they remember, the higher grades they will be scored. It seems that historians are nothing but bring piece together a very large number of facts. And students often confused on the different view of different historians. As a result, the facts are always wrong if historians are wrong. What historians really is. In general, history refers to the whole of the human past. Historians must base their accounts on the remains of the past, left by people. However, some are missed or destroyed. Therefore historians are select and create evidence by using some theory of human motivations and behavior. Meanwhile, historians will come to different conclusions and use different facts to support their points of view even though different groups of them are dealing with the same event. Base on the same reason, historians might argue that the various items on the list shouldn't be given equal weight. Sometimes, historians disagree because they are really discussing the different things. Suppose the teacher ask you "Why were you late for class this morning? " And you argue that ultimate cause of your being late was that you were born. Therefore historian may again disagree about where to begin the analysis.

Historians disagree because they start from different premise. And they are often merely considering different levels of cause and effect. We

can't eliminate all disagreements. Historians also learn from each other and indeed they are often revising their ideas as well as benefit from international comparisons of similar events and institutions. As we don't have a model of unquestioned validity and foolproof explanation, disagreements are destined to remain. The truth of studying history is intriguing goal in a never ending quest.

第二篇:Unit 11 Why Historians Disagree 41900字

Unit 11 Why HiStorians Disagree

Allen F. Davis & Harold D. Woodman This is a much condensed and adapted version of the preface to the book called Conflict and Consensus compiled by two American history professors. In this essay, the two authors discuss the definition of history, the role of the historian and the reasons why historians disagree. They point out the common misunderstanding that history is just names, dates and statistics of the past, and the historian's job is to find and remember as many of them as possible. They tell us that historians do not just collect facts. They give meaning to the facts. And because they have different interests and a different understanding of human motivation and human behavior which in turn is due to their different background in age, sex, race, class, education, religion, politics, etc, they tend not only to be interested in different facts but also interpret the same facts differently. The two historians therefore emphasize the importance of understanding the historians' approach, perspective and philosophy rather than the facts they have used or left out.

In China, history began as part of literature, usually about kings and generals, and about the rise and fall of dynasties, which supposedly contains numerous moral lessons for posterity. In extreme cases it was even treated as a tool for propaganda. Of course due to the influence of modern western culture people later came to see history as a science. However today people generally agree that it is not a science in the sense that physics or chemistry are sciences. History has to do with human activities and social development and, as a result, it is not purely objective. Besides, there are far more variables involved than in the natural sicences. That is why it is so challenging and intriguing. And young studentrs today must understand that it is a very important part of their education.

It should be noted that although this essay is about why historians differ in their opinions, actually the basic views can also be used to explain why people disagree generally. And to understand why people disagree is the first necessary step toward 1

learning to deal with them. This is particularly important today because we are confronted with an information explosion and surrounded by people who are trying to influence our thinking for their own selfish reasons.

This is a piece of expository writing. So the emphasis in teaching should be on content and clear presentation. It might be helpful for students to have an outline of the piece in mind so that they will see how the main ideas are cleverly organized.

The language used is a little formal, with impersonal structures, long sentences and formal words, which are typical of academic writing. I. The intriduction (paras 1-5)

A. Misconceptions about the study of history (paras 1-3)

B. Definition of history (paras 4-5)

II. The body: reasons why historians disagree (paras 6-11)

A. Selection of different facts about the same event (paras 6)

B. Use of the same facts from different premises (paras 7-10)

C. Analysis of different levels of cause and effect (para 11)

III. The conclusion: inevitability of disagreement (paras 12-13) 1. Most students are usually introduced to the study of history by way of a fat textbook and become quickly immersed in a vast sea of names, dates, events and statistics.

1) Paraphrase: For most students, they begin their study of history with a thick textbook in which there are a great number of names, dates and statistics for them to remember.

2) Language points:

(1) by way of: ① through, by route of经由;路经;经过:e. g. Taiwanese planes can now fly from the mainland to Taiwan by way of Hong Kong or Macao. // You can get this information by way of the Internet. ②as a means of, e. g. He sent her some flowers by way of an apology. // I'd like to say a few words by way of 2

self-introduction. // They decided to give a party by way of welcome to the distinguished guests.

(2) fat: thick or wide

Note the usual collocations of this adjective: a fat person (man or woman or child); a fat book / volume; a fat salary; a fat cigar; a fat check; a fat chance (not likely).

Note also the subtle differences between fat, plump, chubby, stout and obese. Remember that it is not polite to say somebody is fat. A more polite way is to say that he / she is rather overweight or heavy. Stout means also slightly fat. For children and women who are slightly and pleasantly fat, we can use the word plump. Another pleasant word for babies and children is chubby. The strongest word is obese and it is also the word used often by doctors.

(3) immersed: a. involving oneself deeply in sth. 专注的:He became immersed totally in the novel. 他完全沉浸在那本小说中。

[考] to be immersed in: to be completely covered or submerged in a liquid; to be deeply involved or absorbed沉浸于;专心于e.g. I'm immersed in this project. // The idea is to have the students immersed in an ideal learning environment. // To an outsider, those who are immersed in a power struggle look very silly.

[串] 同族:immerse v. 使浸没于;(使)深陷于,沉浸在immersion n. 浸没;沉浸;陷入

(4) a vast sea of: (metaphor) a great amount of大量的;茫茫一片的:It is hard to find the one you want in a vast sea of people. 在茫茫人海中很难找到你要找的人。

2. The students' skills are then tested by examinations that require them to show how much of the data they remember; the more they remember, the higher their grades.

1) Paraphrase: tested by examinations: evaluated by way of examinations (Note how repetition is avoided by using synonyms. )

2) Language points:

(1) data: the plural form of datum Other nouns that form their plural in this way 3

include: medium (media); curriculum (curricula); phenomenon (phenomena) ; criterion (criteria); stratum (strata); bacterium (bacteria)

Note they take the plural verb.

(2) the more they remember, the higher their grades:

Refresh the students' memory of the use of this pattern of comparison Remind them that after "the more ... the more ... " the word order should be the same as in a statement. In this sentence, "will be" has been omitted after "the higher their grades".

3. The professional historian is simply one who brings together a very large number of "facts".

1) Language points:

(1) simply: only; nothing but, e.g. It is simply a matter of time. It is different from the following usages: He lived very simply. // It's simply impossible. // She simply hates noisy crowds.

(2) to bring together: to gather together; to collect

2) Analysis: "facts": The use of the quotation mark indicates that the author does not think that there is such a thing as pure "facts". They have to be arranged, sorted out and given meaning by professional historians.

4. Therefore they often become confused upon discovering that historians often disagree sharply even when they are dealing with the same event.

1) Paraphrase:

(1) Therefore they cannot understand why when they discover that historians often disagree completely even though they are talking about the same event.

(2) upon discovering: (fml) when they discover

(3) to disagree sharply: to disagree seriously, bitterly 5. Their common-sense reaction to this state of affairs is to conclude that one historian is right while the other is wrong.

1) Paraphrase: their common-sense reaction: their response based on common sense

2) Language points:


(1) 句中,commonsense为形容词,意为"具备常识的”;commonsense reaction意为"基于常识的反应";

(2) a state of affairs: a situation 指一种情况或情形e.g. This is a very unpleasant state of affairs. 这种情况不容乐观。// There is not much we can do in the present state of affairs.

(3) while: 是连词whereas; and, 意为“而;然而”

Note that it is used here to emphasize the difference between these historians.

6. And presumably, historians who are wrong will have their "facts" wrong. This is seldom the case, however. Historians usually all argue reasonably and persuasively.

1) Language points:

(1) presumably: ad. used to say that you think that sth. is probably true很可能;大概;想必是:Presumably that is where the accident happened. 很可能那就是事故现场。

[串] 同族:presume v. 假定;假设;推定 presumption n. 假定;假设;可能的事

(2) persuasively: ad. convincingly; in a persuasive manner有说服力地;令人信服地: He presented his ideas persuasively. 他令人信服地提出了他的想法。

[串] 同族:persuade v. 劝说;说服;使信服 persuasion n.说服;劝说 persuasive a.有说服力的;令人信服的

7. Moreover, they often find that contending historians more or less agree on the facts.

1) Paraphrase: contending historians: historians who are fighting or debating

2) Language points:

(1) moreover: besides; what's more; not only that; in addition; apart from that

(2) more or less: ① almost; to an undetermined degree, e. g. This problem is more or less settled. // They more or less agree to reopen their discussions about the border dispute. ② The phrase also means "approximately", e. g. Our average annual income by that time will be 4,000 USD, more or less.

8. They come to different conclusions because they view the past from a different 5


(1) Analysis: People look at the past from different points of view, angles, approaches, perspectives or theoretical stance. These words convey more or less the same meaning.

9. History, which seemed to be a cut-and-dried matter of memorizing "facts", now becomes a matter of choosing one good interpretation from among many.

1) Paraphrase: a cut-and-dried matter: a routine; an ordinary matter

10. Historical truth becomes a matter of personal preference.

1) Paraphrase: personal preference: personal likes or dislikes; sth you like more than any other thing意为“个人喜好;个人偏爱的事物”。

2) Language points:

(1) cut-and-dried a. decided in a way that cannot be changed or argued about已成定局的;不容更改的:The result is cut-and-dried.结果已无法更改。

(2) historical: of, or relating to history

historic: having considerable importance or influence in history

economical: not wasteful or extravagant

economic: of, or relating to economy or economics 11. This position is hardly satisfying

1) Paraphrase: This is not a happy solution or happy situation.

2) Analysis: Students expect to be given clear-cut answers, either yes or no. But now they have to shop around for the proper answer. The answer becomes a personal choice. This makes them feel very uncomfortable.

3) Language points: position: ① an opinion or an attitude towards a particular subject观点;态度;立场:You must make your position clear on this issue. 在这个问题上,你必须明确表示自己的立场。// What is her position on this problem? ②situation or state; status, 处境;地位;状况:e. g. They are now in a very precarious 6

position. // We cannot negotiate from a weak position. // Right now he is not in a position to impose his will on others.

[真题再现] Maybe he's expressing his rightful position as eldest child and role model. 也许他在表明自己作力长子应有的地位和榜样作用。[TEM-4,2011阅读]

12. They cannot help but feel that two diametrically opposed points of view about an event cannot both be right;

1) Paraphrase:

(1) They cannot help feeling that two completely opposite ideas about an event cannot both be correct...

(2) cannot help but feel: cannot help feeling; cannot but feel; can only feel

(3) diametrically opposed: absolutely or irreconcilably opposed; completely different; poles apart (It derives from the word diameter. )

2) Language points:

(1) cannot help but do sth. (= cannot help doing sth.) 禁不住做某事:I cannot help but think he knows more than he has told me. 我总觉得他没把他知道的事都告诉我。

(2) diametrically ad. completely; entirely完全地;全然地:Their views are diametrically opposed / opposite. 他们的观点大相径庭。

[串] 同族:diametrical a. 截然相反的;完全不同的;直径的diameter n. 直径;对径 13. To understand why historians disagree, students must consider a problem they have more or less taken for granted.

1) Paraphrase: If students want to get clear why historians have different views, they must think about a problem that they have almost assumed to be true.

2) Language points: take sb. / sth. for granted对…不予重视;不把…当回事:Don't 7

take for granted what you have. 不要认为你所拥有的是理所当然的。

take it for granted that... 认为…是理所当然 14. In its broadest sense, history denotes the whole of the human past.

1) Language points:

(1) to denote: ① to refer to sth. 表示;意指What does the term “organic” denote? 单词organic是什么意思?② to be a sign of sth. 标志;预示;象征:This mark denotes that a word has been deleted. 这个符号表示有个词已被删掉。

[串] 同族:denotation n. 命名;指称;指称之物 形近:donate v. 捐赠;捐献

(2) in a broad (narrow, general) sense: in the broad (narrow, general) meaning of the word从广义/狭义/一般意义来看:In a broad sense, love refers to your affection to all your relatives, friends and even animals. 从广义的角度来看,爱是指你对亲朋好友甚或动物的感情。

15. More restricted is the notion that history is the recorded past, that is, that part of human life which has left some sort of record such as folk tales, artifacts, or written documents.

1) Paraphrase: In a more restricted sense, history refers to the recorded past, that is to say, the part of human life which has left some kind of record, such as folk tales, artifacts or written documents. In a more restricted sense, history is understood as the recorded past.

2) Grammar: 本句为倒装句,采取倒装是因为主句的主语notion后面有一个由that引导的同位语从句,这样就避免了句子结构头重脚轻,使句式更加平衡美观。句中,which引导定语从句,修饰that part of human life。

3) Language points:

(1) restricted a. ① having certain limitations受限制的;有限的:a restricted space 8

有限的空间// His vision is restricted in one eye. 他只有一只眼睛有视力。②controlled by rules or laws受(法规)制约的;受控制的;受约束的:The match is restricted to players under the age of 30. 这次比赛只允许30岁以下的选手参加。

[串] 同族:restrict v. 限制;限定;约束 restriction n. 限制;约束;限制规定 restrictive n. 限制性的;约束的 反义:unrestricted a. 没有限制的

(2) notion n. an idea, a belief, or an opinion about sth. 观念;信念;观点:The traditional notion of marriage goes back thousands of years. 婚姻的传统观念可以追溯到数千年前。

[串] 同族:notional a. 猜测的;估计的;理论上的;想象的

[真题再现] I'll admit spring cleaning is a difficult notion for modern families to grasp. 我承认春季大扫除对现代家庭来说是一个很难理解的概念。[TEM-4, 2011阅读]

(3) that is: in other words (abbreviated as i. e from the Latin id est---that is)

4) Analysis: folk tales: Remember that written documents were impossible before written language and paper were invented. The only record left to us is in the form of folk tales and artifacts.

16. Finally, history may be defined as that which historians write about the past.

1) Paraphrase: Finally, history may be described as what historians have written about our past.

2) Analysis: It means that history is human past through the eyes of historians. History requires the combination of two factors: the objective facts and the subjective selection, arrangement, and interpretation of the historian. This is why historians often disagree. And it is in this sense that we often say that everyone tends to write his own history.

17. Obviously they cannot know everything for the simple reason that not every event, every happening, was fully and completely recorded.

1) Analysis: Many events and happenings were not recorded or fully and completely 9

recorded because people at the time did not have the time, energy, interest or the necessary means. Often they were not recorded because they were considered too trivial, too embarrassing, or too dangerous to be known. Many records have also been distorted, lost, or destroyed in fire, flood, war or through decay. That is why historians have such a formidable task.

18. Therefore the historian can only approximate history at best. No one can ever claim to have concluded the quest.

1) Paraphrase: Therefore the best the historian can do is to get as near as possible to the historical truth. But no one can ever boast that he / she has completed this search. It goes on for ever.

2) Language points:

(1) approximate v. to be similar or close to近似;接近Your story approximates to the facts we already know.你所说的与我们了解的事实很接近。|| a. nearly correct or accurate, but not completely so大约的;近似的;接近的:an approximate number约数What is the approximate size of this room? 这间屋子大概有多大?

[串] 同族:approximately ad. 大概;大约 approximation n. 近似值;粗略估算;类似事物

(2) at best充其量;至多:He is at best a middle-level manager now. 他现在至多是一个中层管理人员。

[串] at worst (指可能出现的最坏情况) 往最坏处说,充其量 19. But this does not say enough.

1) Paraphrase: But this does not explain everything. / But this is still an inadequate answer. / But this is not a full and complete explanation.

20. Rather, they select only those records they deem most significant.

1) Language points:

(1) rather: instead; on the contrary


(2) deem v. to have a particular view about sth. 认为;视为;相信:I deem it a great honor to be invited to address you. 邀我向诸位讲几句话,我深感荣幸。 to deem sth significant: to consider sth important

Deem is more subjective than consider emphasizing judgement rather than analytical thought.

21. Moreover, they also re-create parts of the past. Like detectives, they piece together evidence to fill in the gaps in the available records.

1) Analysis: As available records are always incomplete, that is, there are always missing links or gaps in the evidence, historians therefore will have to do some guessing to fill in those gaps or find the links.Like detectives (Sherlock Holmes, the fictional detective, for example), historians also have to rely on deductive and inductive methods.

2) Language points: piece together拼凑;拼合:The little boy tore the book in anger and his mom had to piece it together. 那个小男孩气得把书撕了,他的母亲不得不将书拼凑起来。 22. Historians are able to select and create evidence by using some theory of human motivations and behavior.

1) Paraphrase: create evidence: find evidence based on reasoning or analysis rather than material records such as artifacts or documents

2) Analysis: theory of human motivation and behavior: Historians start from some basic view of history, about who makes history---kings, generals, politicians or the common people, about what is the driving force of history---ideas or human actions, about what are the most important human activities that determine the direction of historical development---politics, religion, or the economy, about what are the basic human needs that cause people to behave the way they do---power, money, etc. To use terminology familiar to us, they all have to have a general world outlook. Without this, they will not be able to select or create evidence.


3) Language points: motivation n. ①the reason why sb. wants to do sth. 动机;原因:The motivation for the decision is to improve our service to our customers. 做这个决定的原因是为了改善我们对顾客的服务。②eagerness and willingness to do sth. without being forced to do it 积极性:He made great efforts to improve employees' motivation. 他努力提高员工的积极性。

[串] 同族:motive n. 动机;原因 motivate v. 成为…的动机;激励;激发 motivational a. 动机的;激发性的 motivated a. 有动机的;有积极性的

23. Sometimes this appears to be easy, requiring very little sophistication and subtlety.

1) Paraphrase: Sometimes this seems to be easy, requiring no special training or profound knowledge or the ability to understand very complex issues and subtle distinctions.

2) Language points:

(1) sophistication n. the quality of knowing and understanding a lot about a complicated subject老练;精通:She has acquired sophistication after working so many years.工作那么多年之后,她已经学得老成了。

[串] 同族:sophisticated a. 见多识广的;老练的

(2) subtlety n. ①the quality of being subtle微妙;巧妙;敏锐:His eyesight lacks subtlety.他的目光缺乏敏锐。②small but important details or aspects of sth. 细小但重要的地方;微妙之处:the subtleties of language语言的微妙之处

[串] 同族:subtle a.微妙的;巧妙的;敏锐的 subtly ad.微妙地;巧妙地;敏锐

24. Thus, for example, historians investigating America's entry into World War I would probably find that the sinking of American merchant ships on the high seas by German submarines was relevant to their discussion.

1) Paraphrase: the high seas: the areas of ocean around the world that do not belong to any one nation意为“公海”,指不属于任何国家的海域。


2) Language points:

(1) investigate v. ①to try to find out the truth about sth.调查;侦查(某事) He has carefully investigated the allegations. 他对这些指控作了详细调查。②to try to find out information about sb.'s character, actions, etc. 调查(某人):He was investigated by the police for fraud. 警察调查他是否有欺诈行为。

[串] 同族:investigation n.调查,侦查;科学研究 investigator n.调查者;侦查员 investigative a.调查研究的;侦查的

(3) relevant a. closely connected with the subject or problem being discussed or considered

紧密相关的;切题的:a relevant point / question相关的观点/问题 // Do you have any experience that is relevant to the position? 你有与这个职位相关的经验吗?

[考] be relevant to: to be related to the matter at hand; to the point与…紧密相关的e.g. This point is relevant, but I don't think it is very important. // Strike out this part. It is hardly relevant to the subject. // I have found a few books which might be relevant to your paper.

Cf. to be related to: connected; connected by kinship, marriage, or common origin, e.g. The two countries are closely related. // You have the same surname. Are you related?

[串] 同族:relevance n.相关;关联 relevantly ad. 贴切地;得要领地 反义:irrelevant a. 无关紧要的;不相关的

25. The choice as to which fact to use is based on a theory---admittedly, in this case a rather crude theory, but a theory nonetheless.

1) Language points:

(1) as to (or for) : with regard to; concerning Pay attention to the nouns that are often used in connection with as to: The choice as to which... / The decision as to when... / The question as to how... / The problem as to who... / The issue as to whether ... / The debate as to where...


(2) admittedly: ad. we all admit, used when sb. is accepting that sth. is true诚然;无可否认地:e.g. Admittedly life is much better than before for most people, but it does not mean we should become wasteful. // Sanskrit is a language---admittedly a dead language, but useful nonetheless. // Admittedly, I have never been there. 我的确从未去过那里。

(3) crude a. ①in the natural state天然的;自然的:This place is full of crude oil. 这个地方原油丰富。②simply made without much skill or attention to detail粗糙的;粗制的:crude workmanship粗糙的工艺His paintings are rather crude. 他的画还不够成熟。③impolite or coarse粗俗的;粗鲁的:He made some crude jokes. 他讲了一些粗俗的笑话。④not exact or without any detail but giving a general idea of sth. 粗略的;大概的:In crude terms, the causes of this disease seem to be of two main kinds.简略地说,导致这种疾病的原因看起来主要有两种。

(4) nonetheless: (fml) nevertheless; however These sentence adverbs can be placed at the end of the sentence, unlike but which has to be put at the beginning.

26. It would go something like this: National leaders contemplating war are more likely to be influenced by belligerent acts against their countries than by their unhappiness with their haberdashers.

1) Analysis: This crude theory assumes that national leaders are all responsible, rational, thinking people who will not make whimsical decisions or allow trivial things to influence their big decisions. Their decisions are always made after careful deliberation and always in the best interests of the people. By the way, history has provided us with many examples which prove that this theory is not always reliable. National leaders can be irresponsible and irrational.

2) Paraphrase:

(1) contemplating war: pondering over the problem of war; considering going to war with another country


(2) belligerent acts: war acts, acts of war

(3) unhappiness with their haberdashers: unhappiness with their hat makers or hat shops; unhappiness about personal trivial things

3) Language points:

(1) contemplate v. ①to think deeply and thoughtfully about a possible course of action or a future event深思;细想;考虑:He has contemplated living abroad. 他考虑过去国外居住。②to look at sb. / sth. carefully for a long time端详;凝视:He contemplated her with a smile. 他微笑着注视着她。

[串] 同族:contemplation n.深思;沉恩;凝视;默默注视

(2) belligerent a. ①very unfriendly and aggressive好斗的;寻衅的;挑衅的:He is very angry at the other man's belligerent attitude. 他对另一个男人的寻衅的态度感到十分生气。 ②engaged in a conflict or a war参战的;交战的:There were many belligerent countries in World WarⅡ.在第二次世界大战中有许多参战国。

[串] 同族:belligerence n. 好斗性;好战性;交战 belligerently ad. 好战地;好斗地 27. Historians ... will find in addition to German submarine warfare a whole series of other facts that could be relevant to the event under study.

1) Paraphrase: the event under study: the event being studied.

2) Language points: Remind the students of the use of under.

More examples: under repair; under discussion; under consideration; under review; under observation; under construction; under attack

28. For instance, they will find that the British government had a propaganda machine at work in the United States...

1) Paraphrase: propaganda machine: an organized group of people who, on behalf of the British government, worked to influence the public opinion in the U. S. and win 15

American people over to the British cause

2) Language points: at work: doing their work; operating

29. They will read of the interception of the "Zimmerman Note", in which the German foreign secretary ordered the German minister in Mexico, in the event of war, to suggest an alliance between Germany and Mexico whereby Mexico, with German support, could win back territory taken from Mexico by the United States in the Mexican War.

1) Grammar: 本句为复合句,句子主干为They will read of the interception of the "Zimmermann Note”。句中, in which引导定语从句,修饰the "Zimmermann Note"; whereby引导定语从句,相当于by which, 修饰an alliance;过去分词短语taken from Mexico...作后置定语,修饰territory。

2) Language points:

(1) read of / about: to find out information about sth读到;查阅到:I read of the accident in the newspaper. 我在报纸上看到了这次事故。

(2) interception n. the act of preventing sth. from proceeding or reaching the destination拦截;截取:the interception of enemy radio signals拦截敌方无线电信号

(2) in the event of: in case sth should happen如果…发生;万一;倘若:In the event of rain, we will cancel the hiking tomorrow. 如果下雨,我们就取消明天的远足。

[串] in the event结果;到头来in any event / at all events不管怎样;无论如何

(3) whereby: ad. in accordance with this; by means of this; because of which凭此;借以;由于:They have adopted a new system whereby all staff must receive training. 他们采用了新的制度,所有的员工都必须接受培训。

Warning: compound words like whereby, whereto, whereupon, thereby, therein, thereupon etc are always formal and often archaic. They are used mainly in legal and 16

financial documents.

3) Cultural Notes:

(1) Note: Here, a formal written diplomatic communication外交照会

(2) foreign secretary: In Germany, Britain and some other countries, the term foreign secretary is used rather than foreign minister, and in the United States, the foreign minister's counterpart is the Secretary o f State.

(3) minister: Here, it means a person authorized to represent his government in diplomatic dealings with other governments usually ranking next below an ambassador. (Students might want to know all these terms: ambassador大使, minister公使, consul领事, commercial counselor商务参赞, military attache武官, cultural attache文化参赞)

4) Paraphrase:

(1) in the event of a war: in case a war should break out

e.g. in the event of an emergency: in case there should be an emergency

30. They will also find among many American political leaders a deep concern over the balance of power in Europe, a balance that would be destroyed---to America's disadvantage--- if the Germans were able to defeat the French and the British and thereby emerge as the sole major power in Europe.

1) Cultural Note: balance of power: It is a popular theory among western political scientists that peace will be preserved if nations' power is well balanced, that is, no country is too powerful or too weak---if any country is too powerful, it will not be able to resist the temptation to take advantage of other countries; and if any country is too weak, it is bound to invite foreign aggression. So to maintain world peace, the best we can do is to achieve a balance of power. In actual practice, however, countries like the United States still strive for world hegemony.

2) Language points:

(1) to one's disadvantage: 对某人不利:It may be to your disadvantage if you invest in this project. 你投资这项工程可能对你不利。


Similar phrases are: to one's advantage; to one's benefit; in one's interest.

(2) emerge v. ①to come out or start to exist显现;露出:The moon emerged from behind the clouds. 月亮从云层后露出。②(of facts,ideas, etc.) to become known(事实、意见等)暴露;被知晓:No new evidence emerged during the inquiry. 在调查过程中没有发现新证据。

[串] 同族:emergent a. 新兴的;处于发展初期的 emergence n. 出现;浮现;露出 同根:submerge v. 浸没;淹没

[辨析] emerge / appear显现

emerge常有从隐蔽、被覆盖之处或从无名、卑微、困难的境地中出现的意思。After a long

hunt for him, we saw him emerging from the crowd. 经过一段长时间的搜寻后,我们看到他从人群中冒了出来。

appear有时仅指看得清楚或显现出来,有时则指以某种身份出现,还可以指文章的发表或书籍的出版等。The president frequently appears on TV. 总统经常在电视上露面。

[真题再现] As long as this gap exists, there will always be a possibility that new conflicts and jealousies will emerge, or rather that the old conflicts will reappear, but between different groups. 只要这种差距存在,新的冲突和妒忌就有可能出现。或者更确切地说,旧的冲突会再次

出现,只不过是出现在不同的群体之间。 [TEM-4,2006阅读]

3) Grammar: 本句为复合句,句子主干为They will also find a deep concern over the balance of power in Europe。句中,a balance作the balance of power的同位语,解释说明其内容;that引导定语从句,修饰a balance,该定语从句中含有一个if 18

引导的条件状语从句;to America's disadvantage是插入语,表示这个平衡的破坏对美国不利。 31. What then are historians to make of these facts?

1) Paraphrase: Then how will historians understand or look at these facts?

2) Language points: to make of sth: to regard as the nature or meaning of sth领会;理解;懂得:I don't know what to make of his odd behavior. 我法理解他的奇怪行为。 // We don't know what to make of his behavior. // What do you make of their recent move? What do you think they hope to achieve?

32. ... those things they put on their list are of equal importance in explaining the U.S. role.

1) Analysis: People who like to list things in trying to explain something do so because they do not want to take the trouble to go deeper in their analysis to find out the relative importance of each point. But they do not know that in doing this, they are actually making the assumption that all these points are of equal importance.

2) Language points: to be of equal importance: In informal English, we say to be equally important. The pattern to be of sth (to be of the same size, the same weight, the same color, the same material, no value, no consequence, etc) is formal.

33. ... views that stemmed from the President's background and education.

1) Language points: to stem from: to derive from; to develop from; to originate in是…的结果;起源于;根源是:The failure in his career stemmed from his character defects. 他在事业上的失败是由他的性格缺陷造成的。// The strong resentment stemmed from heavy taxes. // The present crisis stemmed from border disputes in the 1970s.

34. The facts selected, and those ignored, will depend not on the problem studied but on the points of view of the historians.

1) Language points: ignore v. ①to pay no attention to sth. 忽视;对…不予理会: 19

He completely ignored all these facts as though they never existed. 他完全无视这一切,好像它们根本不存在似的。②to pretend that you have not seen sb. or that sb. is not there佯装未见;不予理睬:He ignored her and continued working. 他没理她,继续工作。

[串] 同族:ignorant a. 无知的;愚昧的 ignorance n. 无知

[辨析] ignore / overlook / neglect忽略;忽视

ignore通常指主观上有意不顾或不理显而易见的事物或人。She saw him coming but she ignored him. 她看见他走过来,却装作没看见他。

overlook指由于粗心、放任而没看出或采取行动。He overlooked my errors.他忽视了我的错误。

neglect侧重由于行为上的疏忽而忽略或忽视。He is neglecting his work for private life.他正在为私人生活而忽略工作。 35. Similarly a third group of historians might maintain that the various items on the list should not be given equal weight...

1) Paraphrase: Similarly a third group of historians might argue that the various points put on the list should not considered equally important.

2) Language points:

(1) similarly: for the same reason

(2) maintain v. ①to strongly state that true坚持意见;固执己见:She maintains that the accusation is groundless. 她坚持说该指控是毫无根据的。②to let sth. continue at the same Ievel, standard, etc. 保持;维持:They have always maintained close relationships. 他们一直保持着密切联系。③to keep sth. in good condition by checking or repairing it regularly维修;保养:The machine is difficult to maintain. 这 20


[串] 同族:maintenance n. 维护;保养;维持;保持

(3) to give weight to sth: to consider sth important (Weight in the sense of importance is used when personal judgement or evaluation is emphasized. ) 认为…重要;重视: The manufacturers must give weight to product packaging design. 厂商必须重视产品的包装设计。

36. The theory here would be that economic matters are the key to human motivation ...

1) Analysis: Marxists, for example, believe that economic matters are the key to human motivation. They make a distinction between the economic base and the superstructure, and maintain that it is the former that determines the latter.

37. ...and that a small number of wealthy bankers have a disproportionate ability to

influence government.

1) Paraphrase: ... although the number of wealthy bankers is small, they can exert great influence on government, so great that it is out of proportion to their number.

2) Language points: disproportionate: a.relatively too large or too small; out of proportion不相称的;不成比例的:People on lower incomes spend a disproportionate amount of their income on

fuel. 低收入的人花在燃料上的钱却不少。

[串] 同族:disproportion n.不相称;不成比例 同根:proportion n. 比例;均衡;部分 38. In the examples given, historians disagree because they begin from different premises.

1) Paraphrase: In the examples we have given above, we can see that historians disagree because they begin from different assumptions.

2) Language points: premise: n. a proposition upon which an argument is based or 21

from which a conclusion is drawn, a statement or an idea that forms the basis for other ideas前提;假定:His advice to investors was based on the premise that interest rates would continue to fall.他给予投资者的建议是以利率将继续下降这一点为前提的。

39. ... and that a small number of wealthy bankers have a disproportionate ability to influence government.

1) Paraphrase: Although the number of bankers is small, they exert great influence on government, so great that it is out of proportion to their number.

40. Often they are merely considering different levels of cause and effect.

1) Analysis: We know that everything that happens in history has a cause, which in turn is the effect of an earlier cause. Therefore historians have to decide how far they should go back to start the analysis. Because they do not always agree on this, their views will differ.

41. The Civil War began because South Carolina shore batteries opened fire on the federal garrison at Fort Sumter on April 12,1861.

1) Language points: battery: a basic tactical artillery unit, corresponding to the company in the infantry炮兵连

42. Neither statement can be faulted on the grounds that it is inaccurate;

1) Paraphrase: You cannot find fault with either statement and say it is not accurate. (Neither statement can be criticized on the grounds that it is inaccurate. )

2) Language points:

(1) to be faulted: to be criticized; to be considered wrong

(2) ground: reason or justification

43. In other words, we have to go beyond the proximate cause and probe further and further.

1) Paraphrase:

(1) In other words we must not stop at the proximate cause. We have to go beyond it. We have to go further or to dig deeper.

(2) proximate cause: nearest cause近因 (远因: remote cause)


2) Language points: proximate: a. nearest in time, order, etc. to sth.(时间、顺序等)最接近的;最邻近的:The proximate bus stop from here is Xuejiadao bus stop. 离这儿最近的汽车站是薛家岛汽车站。

[串] 同族:proximity n.(时间或空间)接近,临近,靠近 同根:approximate v. 近似;接近 || a. 近似的;大约的;接近的

44. But as we dig more deeply into the problem...

1) Paraphrase:

(1) to dig more deeply into the problem: to probe further into the problem; to investigate the problem further

2) Language points: dig into sth. 探究;探寻;探询:We need to dig deeply into our financial problem. 我们需要更深入地探究一下我们的财务问题。

45. Similarly you could trace the cause of the Civil War back to the discovery of America, but again, that is a necessary but not a sufficient cause. The point at which causes are both necessary and sufficient is not self-evident.

1) Analysis: Similarly, you could trace the cause of the Civil War back to the time the continent was first settled, to when the first black slaves were brought in and to when the thirteen independent states began to develop along different lines.

2) Language points:

(1) trace sth. back to sth. 追溯;追究: His fear of water can be traced back to a childhood accident. 他很怕水,这源于他儿时的一次事故。

(2) self-evident a.obvious and not needing any further proof or explanation显而易见的;不言而喻的:It is self-evident that childhood experiences can influence a person's adult behavior. 儿时的经历会影响一个人成年后的行为,这点是显而易见的。

46. By now students should see that the well-used phrase "let the facts speak for themselves" has no real meaning. The facts do not speak for themselves; historians... are doing the speaking.


1) Paraphrase:

(1) Facts do not have any meaning of their own. It is the historians who give them meaning.

(2) the well-used phrase: the frequently used phrase 47. Indeed they are often revising their ideas.

1) Language points: revise v.①to re-examine sth., order to correct or improve it修订;校订;修改:I have to revise the figures in this report as new information just came in. 因为新的信息刚刚到,所以我要修改这个报告中的数字。②to go over work in preparation for an exam复习;温习:She is revising her geography notes for the test tomorrow. 她正在复习地理课笔记准备明天的测试。

[串] 同族:revision n. 修订;修改;复习 同根:supervise v. 监督;管理;指导

[辨析] evise / amend修改,修正

revise通常指根据需要或多或少地修改作品等,使之趋于完美,有时也指改变某种态度等。They revised the production schedule.他们修订了生产进度。

amend是正式用词,表示对作品、法律文件或声明等进行修改,以臻完善。 Congress may amend the proposed tax bill. 议会可能会修正提议的征税法。

48. They have to do so because they are constantly discovering new information, gaining new insights from other social scientists and mastering and using new techniques.

1) Analysis: Historians also gain new knowledge from other social scientists. For instance, they learn from social scientists the importance of racial conflicts as an explanation of human behavior; they learn from anthropologists the importance of cultural and religious conflicts in understanding human motivation; they learn from economists the importance of money supply as a key to understanding economic 24

fluctuations and the social changes that come in their wake, etc. This kind of interdisciplinary influence actually exists in all branches of learning. 49. If the state of our knowledge were such that it provided us with a model of unquestioned validity that completely explained human behavior, we can.

1) Paraphrase:

(1) We can if our knowledge could give us a perfect model that completely explained human behavior. Unfortunately no such model has ever existed.

(2) a model of unquestioned validity: a model that is always valid (effective or logically sound) ; a foolproof model; a model that can be used under any circumstances

2) Language points:

(1) ... such that ... : This can be viewed as a variation of the pattern "so... that ... ". e.g. The conditions were such that many young people wanted to leave the place. (=The conditions were so miserable that many young people wanted to leave the place.)

(2) validity n. ①the state of being officially or legally acceptable (法律上的)有效,合法性;(正式的)认可:We should test the validity of the evidence. 我们应当检验这个证据的有效性。②the state of being logical and correct符合逻辑;正当;正确:He questioned the validity of her assumption. 他对她的假设的正确性提出质疑。

[串] 同族:valid a. 有效的;符合逻辑的;合理的 反义:invalidity n. 无效;失效

50. But since we do not have such a complete and foolproof explanation, disagreements are destined to remain.

1) Paraphrase: But since we do not have such a complete and infallible explanation, disagreements surely exist.

2) Language points:

(1) foolproof: a. always effective; completely dependable; infallible; very well 25

designed and easy to use so that it is certain to be successful 使用简便的;完全可靠的;万无一失的:The system is pretty well foolproof. 这个系统相当容易使用。 -proof (suffix): able to resist or withstand, e.g. fireproof; waterproof; rustproof; bulletproof

(2) to be destined to do sth: to be bound to do sth; to be predetermined or preordained to do sth命中注定要做某事e.g. Shanghai is destined to be the financial center of the country. // Many believe that China is destined to play a more and more important role in the world economy. // They are destined never to meet. 他们命中注定无缘相见。

51. When students realize that there is no one easy answer to the problems historians raise and that "truth" is but an elusive yet intriguing goal in a never-ending quest, they will find the study of history to be a significant, exhilarating, and useful part of their education.

1) Paraphrase:

(1) Students have to realize that there is no one simple answer to the historians' problems and that to find "truth" is a complicated and interesting aim, which is never completely achieved. Only then can the study of history become a meaningful, exciting and useful part of their education.

(2) an elusive yet intriguing goal: a goal that is extremely attractive yet forever out of reach

(3) a never-ending quest: an everlasting or interminable search / pursuit / exploration

(4) truth: Note that the word truth here refers to the ultimate truth, which, in the authors' opinion, is impossible, and therefore they consider them illusive. It does not mean that historians cannot find truth in a relative sense.

2) Language points:

(1) elusive a. difficult to define, find or achieve 难以解释的;难找的;难以达到的:I was totally mixed up by his elusive and abiguous remarks. 我完全被他模棱两可、含混不清的话搞糊涂了。


(2) intriguing a. very interesting because it is unusual or it doesn't have an obvious answer非常有趣的;引人人胜的;神秘的:He found the story intriguing. 他觉得这个故事引人人胜。

[串] 同族:intrigue v. 激起…的兴趣

(3) exhilarating a. very exciting and enjoyable使人兴奋的;令人激动的;令人高兴的:Our first parachute jump was an exhilarating experience. 我们的第一次跳伞是一次令人兴奋的经历。

[串] 同族:exhilarate v. 使高兴;使兴奋;使激动


Unit 11

Why Historians Disagree


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