Times, Thank Goodness, Have Changed

Indeed, what is accepted as the true history of events is constantly being revised. So it is not surprising that editions of old books sometimes reflect values which today we find highly offensive and utterly reject. The respect and appreciation of individuals and cultures we have today are often sadly absent in the writing of the past.  

That does not mean that there is no place for such outmoded titles in our scholarship. To the contrary, they are extremely useful in understanding the prejudice and bias that shaped life in years gone by. And we need to remind ourselves that probably much of what we accept today will be viewed equally critically.

It would be wrong then to make access to what people read in the past so difficult and expensive to obtain that its influence and significance became something of a secret. Westphalia Press does not present books because it agrees with them but because an important part of publishing for us is about access, about reasonable prices, about understanding the past and keeping books in print so that readers can obtain the texts they need when they need them.

This then is a reminder that some of our books demonstrate that there has been advancement in what is acceptable in society, in what is right, and that our discomfort in how authors treated topics is a good reaction produced by social progress. We fervently wish there was more such social advance. But the axiom that those who do not understand the past are condemned to repeat it applies to having available evidence of that past.

So the appearance of books on our list sometimes should produce the reaction that thank goodness times have changed. It does change, fortunately. To understand and examine that process is part of what should be part of the policy and research we try to foster.