History: What and Why? is an introductory survey of the nature and purpose of history. Beverley Southgate argues that the traditional model of the subject as a re-discovery of the past `as it was' has now been superseded. It has been successfully challenged by developments in other disciplines, such as linguistics, psychology and philosophy, together with the work of Marxist, feminist and post-colonial historians. This book combines a historical perspective with a clear guide to current debates about the nature of history. It proposes a positive role for historical study in the postmodern era.