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December 17, 1927


JAMA. 1927;89(25):2079-2082. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02690250001001

James Harvey Robinson ends his book "The Ordeal of Civilization," in which he undertakes to show, by giving an outline of the history of medieval and modern times, how we have arrived at our present position in civilization, with a chapter on the importance of being historically minded. By this he means the possession of an intelligent appreciation of the history and of the evolution of civilization into its present state; to put it in the vernacular, an understanding of how we have gotten this way. It is undoubtedly an important quality of mind in seeing one's period in proper perspective. The same quality, but dealing with a different set of facts, is equally important in seeing ourselves in proper proportions in, and in proper relations to, our own period. It is, indeed, probably impossible for any group to appraise itself accurately in either respect. Distance, whether of space or