The aim of this book is to question the reliability of source material taken from the press of interviews, private papers or statistical surveys, and assess how it should be used when writing contemporary history.
Contemporary history presents historians with particularly difficult methodological problems, as it offers a wealth of source material denied to those engaging with earlier periods. But how reliable is material taken from the press of interviews, private papers or statistical surveys, and how should it be used? How can contemporary history be "real" as opposed to "instant"? In this book a distinguished group of academics and journalists - including John Barnes, David Butler, Peter Hennessy, Gillian Peele and Tom Nossiter - consider the value and practicalities of contemporary history in Europe and North America.