Search our Catalog
Print Larger font Smaller font Bookmark this page
Browse All Subjects
Book details
ISBN: 9780073385488 / 0073385484
Division: Higher Education
Pub Date: SEP-09
Pages: 512

Copyright: 2010
Edition: 6
Format: Paperback
After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection

James West Davidson, Mark Lytle


About the book

For more than twenty-five years, After the Fact has guided students through American history and the methods used to study it. In dramatic episodes that move chronologically through American history, this best-selling book examines a broad variety of topics including oral evidence, photographs, ecological data, films and television programs, church and town records, census data, and novels. Whether for an introductory survey or for a historical methods course, After the Fact is the ideal text to introduce readers, step by step, to the detective work and analytical approaches historians use when they are actually doing history.
Key features

  • A new Chapter 1, Contact, explores the dramatic decline of the Indian population in the Mississippi region after the De Soto expedition of 1539-1543. Could the population have been decimated by diseases spread by De Soto's army of 700 pigs'
  • A new chapter on the Civil Rights movement looks at the 1960 lunch counter demonstrations in Greensboro, examining the unique factors and forces surrounding these events that helped a broad social movement take wing.
  • Significant revisions in Chapter 7, "The Madness of John Brown", reexamine John Brown's unsuccessful raid on Harper's Ferry from a clinical psychological perspective, generating a case that he was bipolar and raising the question of whether labeling him with a psychological disorder in any way detracts from the significance of his beliefs.
  • A fresh design complements the engaging narrative while careful edits throughout streamline the presentation and provides greater accessibility.
  • Lively and engaging narrative captures students' attention and engages them in the search for answers about the nation’s past.
  • Examination of a broad variety of topics like oral evidence, photographs, ecological data, films and television programs, church and town records, census data, and novels, shows students how different kinds of materials can be treated as evidence.
  • Chapter-length case studies move chronologically through American history
  • Apprentice-style approach to historical methods guides students step by step through a problem, introducing them to the explanations and interpretations of history.
  • Primary Source Investigator Online. This database, now online with free access to all students on the Online Learning Center, offers a wealth of primary sources such as interactive maps, charts, photos, and documents with contextual information on each source, and thought-provoking questions that show students how historians look at sources. In addition, PSI has a program that walks students through how to write a paper using sources as evidence and is also easy to use in the classroom to support lecture and discussion.
  • An online instructor manual offers chapter summaries, links to additional resources, suggestions for assignments, and tips for incorporating Primary Source Investigator into the classroom.
  • To purchase an electronic eBook version of this title, visit (ISBN 0-07-731914-1).

  • About the author

    James West Davidson
    James West Davidson received his B.A. from Haverford College and his Ph.D. from Yale University. A historian who has pursued a full-time writing career, he is the author of numerous books, among them After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection (with Mark H. Lytle), The Logic of Millennial Thought: Eighteenth Century New England, and Great Heart: The History of a Labrador Adventure (with John Rugge). He is co-editor with Michael Stiff of the Oxford New Narratives in American History, in which his most recent book appears: 'They Say': Ida B. Wells and the Reconstruction of Race.

    Mark Lytle
    Mark H. Lytle received his Ph.D. from Yale University and is Professor of History and Environmental Studies. he has served two years as Mary Ball Washington Professor of American History at University College, Dublin, in Ireland. His publications include The Origins of the Iranian-American Alliance, 1941-1953, After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection (with James West Davidson), America's Uncivil Wars: The Sixties Era from Elvis to the Fall of Richard Nixon, and, most recently, The Gentle Subversive: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, and the Rise of the Environmental Movement. He is co-editor of a joint issue of the journals of Diplomatic History and Environmental History dedicated to the field of environmental diplomacy.

    Table of contents

    Prologue: The Strange Death of Silas Deane
    Chapter 1. Contact
    Chapter 2. Serving Time in Virginia
    Chapter 3. The Visible and Invisible Worlds of Salem
    Chapter 4. Declaring Independence
    Chapter 5. Material Witness
    Chapter 6. Jackson's Frontier-and Turner's
    Chapter 7. The Madness of John Brown
    Chapter 8. The View from the Bottom Rail
    Chapter 9. The Mirror with a Memory
    Chapter 10. USDA Government Inspected
    Chapter 11. Sacco and Vanzetti
    Chapter 12. Dust Bowl Odyssey
    Chapter 13. The Decision to Drop the Bomb
    Chapter 14. From Rosie to Lucy
    Chapter 15. Sitting In
    Chapter 16. Breaking Into WaterGate
    Chapter 17. Where Trouble Comes



    Bookmark and Share