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The aim of this book is to analyze, to describe and to evaluate the achievement of the Annales School, a journal of historical studies founded in 1929 in France. The journal was founded in order to promote a new kind of history - the substitution of a problem-oriented analytical history for a traditional narrative of events, and the history of the whole range of human activities in place of a mainly political history.
This critical text describes, analyzes, and evaluates the acheivements of the Annales School, combining chronological and thematic approaches. The author distinguishes three generations in the history of the Annales movement. In the first phase, from the 1920's to 1945, the movement was small, radical, and substantive, fighting a guerrilla action against traditional political history and the history of events. Its leaders, and the founders of Annales, were Lucien Febvre and Marc Bloch. After the Second World War, the movement's rebels took over the historical establishment. During this second phase, which lasted untill about 1968, the movement was most nearly a school, with distinctive concepts and mehods, and was presided over by the towering figure of Fernand Braudel. The third phase of the movement was marked by fragmentation.