Carl Trueman is a professor of historical theology and church history at Westminster Theological Seminary. He blogs at Reformation21 and is always an interesting read. Because of my prior knowledge of Trueman and my passion for history I was excited to read his book on Histories and Fallacies.
In December I was given the opportunity to either review this book or Jim Hamilton’s God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment. I chose Hamilton’s book but a week later decided to purchase Trueman’s book. I am glad that I did.
This book is actually pretty difficult to review. It’s difficult because you can actually learn a good deal of diverse things such as Holocaust denial, Marxism, and the “racism” of Martin Luther. Trueman takes various areas of historical research and discusses them while teaching the reader how to do history.
In the first chapter he discusses Holocaust denial and various ways that historians deny history. In the second chapter Trueman explores the grand scheme of Marxism and shows how Grand Schemes can lead to fallacious thinking and bad history. In the third chapter the reader is exposed to the pitfalls of anachronism. Various historical questions are explored such as “was Calvin and Calvinist?” and “was Martin Luther a Jew-hating racist”. Trueman shows how such questions are off-the-mark historically. The final chapter is a conglomeration of some of the most typical fallacies in historical research.
Obviously this book is not for everyone. That is partially why I am only giving it a quick review. Even though the writing is often hilarious and witty, if you don’t give much of a care about “doing history” then you will be bored out of your gourd. But for those of us that are history nerds, and especially those of us that are charged with writing history/biographies, then this book is phenomenal.
Rating 4 out of 5 stars
If you want a sampling of this book check out Trueman on the Fallacy of America as a Christian Nation.