A global history of historical writing, thought and the development of the historical discipline from the ancient world to the present. This is a definitive guide to human efforts to recover, understand and represent the past, bringing together different historical traditions and their social, economic, political and cultural contexts. Daniel Woolf offers clear definitions of different genres and forms of history and addresses key themes such as the interactions between West and East, the conflict of oral, pictographic, and written accounts of the past and the place of history in society and in politics. Numerous textual extracts and illustrations in every chapter capture the historical cultures of past civilizations and demonstrate the different forms that historical consciousness has taken around the world. The book offers unique insights into the interconnections between different historical cultures over 3000 years and relates the rise of history to key themes in world history.