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Collingwood wrote that the history of thought, and therefore all history, is the re-enactment of past thought in the historian's own mind. Thus, one may conclude that it takes a sublime mind to manifest the historical enterprise in a manner that transcends disciplinary boundaries. Such an approach is daunting, however, in an age tending to deeply invested historical specialization—economic, social scientific or otherwise. The best historians are true polymaths—that is, their vision, buoyed by eclectic knowledge, transcends the particular without compromising its inherent value. This vision defines the mind of Cody Franchetti: he acutely comprehends the full panorama of history's painting while attending to its minute brushstrokes. Indeed, he proceeds in his historical inquiries fully cognizant that—in true hermeneutical fashion—the parts illuminate the whole, just as the whole illuminates the parts. It is a rare mind that is able to synthesize vastly different horizons of understanding and communicate such in clear and elegant prose; that ability sets Mr. Franchetti apart. That is, history, in his hands, is as much art as science, as much creative expression as intellectual discipline. As such, one garners deep intellectual and aesthetic pleasure from his historical investigations, as he unabashedly reveals the past through the prism of his unique and gifted mind.
-Tom Harford, Dean of Students, Columbia University
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