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Hodder History Expert Blog

Access to History for the new specifications
By Dr Michael Lynch
25 Feb
Series Editor, Dr Michael Lynch, introduces the new editions of the Access to History series, as the first two titles are now available.

Relax, your wait is over! Eager as you are to get your hands on new texts that offer enlightenment, guidance and enjoyment, you will be thrilled by the appearance this week of the first books in a series that will cover practically all the areas of A-Level History study. Specifically written to meet the demands of the new-style examinations that begin in 2016, these books, will satisfy all the student’s needs and more.

The features are an attractive layout, apt visual illustrations, guided question advice and practice, and, above all, a text that combines narrative and analysis. In fluent prose that never patronises the reader or dumbs down the content, the written texts achieve the feat of balancing accessibility with rigour. The language and style aim to extend the readers’ academic vocabulary and stimulate their understanding of historical concepts.

Historical study, like history itself, never stands still. Reassessments are taking place the whole time. Conscious of this, the new books introduce readers to the latest thinking and interpretations among historians. By way of choice quotation from leading scholars in their field, readers are introduced to the major findings, and controversies that animate current historical research. Appearing regularly in all the books are ‘Key Debate’ sections, which illustrate disputed themes and invite the reader to ponder the merits of conflicting interpretations. 

The writers of the new texts form a team whose combined scholarship and specialist knowledge make them an excellent guide through the thickets of exam preparation. As workers at History’s coal face, they are familiar with the pit props that have to be supported and the seams that have to be dug. Some have even appeared on TV.

A strong conviction among the authors is that their books will not merely help students prepare for exams, but will have a broader relevance and value. By encouraging reflection, the texts will prompt readers to look for historical connections across time and cultures. By way of example, the first two new editions in the series may be cited: Access to History: Bolshevik and Stalinist Russia 1917-64 and Access to History Mao’s China 1936-97. Both countries are big news. To grasp the significance of the resurgence of Russian nationalism and the emergence of China as a great economic power requires an appreciation of recent history. The current conflict between Russia and Ukraine defies understanding unless one appreciates the legacy bequeathed by Stalin and Khrushchev to the former Soviet Union.
In the case of China, its extraordinary impact on the world’s strategic, financial and economic order can only be truly evaluated by reference to the legacy of  last two ‘emperors’, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

Sample chapters from each of the books published in February will suggest their flavour and character; clicking on the titles below will take you to them
Access to History: Bolshevik and Stalinist Russia 1917-64, fifth edition, by Michael Lynch
Access to History Mao’s China 1936-97, third edition, by Michael Lynch

For a list of all the new editions in the series and the units in the different specifications they support click below.
AQA
Edexcel
OCR

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