According to Hutton, the originality of AriÃ¨s's work and the power of his appeal derived from the way he drew together the two strands of his own intellectual life: his enduring ties to the old cultural order valued by the right-wing Action Française, and a newfound appreciation for the methodology of the leftist Annales school of historians. A demographer by training, he pioneered a new route into the history of private life that eventually won him a wide readership and in late life an appointment to the faculty of the prestigious Ã‰cole des Hautes Ã‰tudes en Sciences Sociales. At the same time, he fashioned himself as a man of letters in the intellectual tradition of the Action Française and became a perspicacious journalist as well as a stimulating writer of autobiographical memoirs. In Hutton's view, this helps explain why, more than any other historian, Philippe AriÃ¨s left his personal signature on his scholarship.
"The elegant, thoughtful, polished, smoothly argued work of a mature scholar. Hutton's explication of Philippe AriÃ¨s's intellectual and historical importance is carried out with brio."—David L. Schalk, Vassar College, Emeritus
"Patrick Hutton has written an extremely important book. By placing his subject and his work in a larger historiographical context, he offers what should prove to be a a major contribution to French and twentieth-century historiography as well as to the new cultural history that AriÃ¨s helped to create."—Leslie Derfler, Florida Atlantic University