Testing by Time. Review of: Gordon A.V. Historians of the Iron Age. Moscow; St. Petersburg: Center for Humanitarian Initiatives, 2018. 448 p.

Krikh S.B.


In the review, the author analyzes the book «Historians of the Iron Age» by A.V. Gordon, which is devoted to the study of the contribution of Soviet scholars to the development of historical scholarship. The author considers A.V. Gordon's approach to the material, methodology, and the structure of this book, as well as highlights its features. The book is divided into nine chapters, in which portraits of ten historians are given – those who studied the French Revolution and the next epoch in the history of France. The fates of these Soviet historians are shown in the closest intertwining with the fates of Soviet (and post-Soviet) Russia and the upheavals they have lived through. The book is distinguished by the use of rare and little-known sources, ranging from data stored in the Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences and memoirs to information from the personal archive of A.V. Gordon as well as his own memories, because he is a historian of the same field and closely communicated with most of the main heroes of his book. Thus, the author himself is another protagonist of the book, and his portrait, albeit not indicated either in the table of contents or in any other way, is just as clearly visible to the reader as the others, whom he was able to create thanks to his unique knowledge of the material, to his personal involvement in his time and to his great erudition. According to the author of the review, the main reason for the persuasiveness of the book by A.V. Gordon as a research work consists in the fact that he tried to find an unstable, complex – but enticing for the reader – balance between the two main approaches to the history of science in the modern Russian tradition: anthropological and conceptual. In this search for balance not the fact of the connection of the two paradigms is important, but how exactly it was implemented: by anthropologizing the conceptual paradigm A.V. Gordon remains on the basis of the study of historical science (the main actors of his work are ideas), but at the same time gives his research depth and drama, which can be added through anthropological analysis.


A.V. Gordon; Soviet Historiography; «Historians of the Iron Age».

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2019.03.15

Download text