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What does history mean today? What is its relevance to the modern world? In contemplating fundamental questions about history and the Western legacy, the historian Christian Meier offers a new interpretation on how we view the world. Meier sees an 'absence' of history in contemporary Europe and throughout the West-an absence he attributes to the way modern historians have written about history and, more important, to the dramatic transformations of the twentieth century. He argues for the central legacy of Western civilization. He tackles the difficulty of reconciling a historical perspective with our era of extreme acceleration, when experience is shaped less by inheritance and legacy than by the novelty of changes wrought by science and globalization.