Thucydides' classic work on the history of the Peloponnesian War is the root of Western conceptions of history - including the ethnocentric idea that Thucydides' historiography was universally valid, applicable to all societies at all times. Here, however, Marshall Sahlins takes on Thucydides' history with a groundbreaking book that shows how different cultures develop different modes of historical production. Ranging from the Peloponnesian War to the nineteenth-century fight over the Fiji Islands to Bobby Thomson's "shot heard round the world" for the 1951 Giants to the history-making of Napoleon, he demonstrates again and again the necessity of taking culture into account in the creation of history - with apologies to Thucydides, who too often did not.
Marshall Sahlins is the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago. A member of the British Academy, he is the author of many books, including Culture and Practical Reason, How "Natives" Think, Islands of History, and What Kinship Is-And Is Not, all published by the University of Chicago Press.