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Are you interested in history?

  1. Mar 11, 2016 #1
    It's strange how Wolram and I are thinking about similar things at the same time :-)
    I wanted to ask if you are interested in history and how much do you know about it? Do you think knowing history can help us understand what is happening now? Is it important to know it or is it just a hobby like reading fantasy or detective novels?
    I've heard that history is considered an important subject in the US and that Americans know much about their history.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 11, 2016 #2
    I spend much more effort on reading history than current events. Reporting of current events is partisan. It is also based on partial information and deliberate misinformation. With history the participants are dead and the issues no longer of advantage to anyone so there is hope of finding the truth. That being said, history as taught in high schools is also partisan and larded with deliberate misinformation. The true goal is not to inform the student, the goal is to convince said student to support the established order. To get the real story one must confine one's studies to reports based on primary sources. Even then there is bias, so one is well advised to confine one's attention to said primary sources and disregard the author's "analysis."

    BUT if one goes to all that trouble of reading dozens of thick tomes, then one may begin to recognize certain patterns. When those patterns recur in contemporary life, one may assume that the same things are going on, that the same sort of lying and other concealment is occurring, the same hidden moves are being made, and so forth. It is difficult to hide very big things completely.

    I would say the opposite. There is so little interest in history that I have been able to buy thick scholarly works, created from primary sources at great effort, for fifty cents apiece.
  4. Mar 11, 2016 #3
    That's a very interesting post, Hornbein.
    Where do you get the primary sources? I guess you don't go to archives, do you?
    I hated History at school. It was too dull matching dates to events and learning dictionary definitions by heart.
    I wanted to buy a history book but the one I wanted was accused of being written by an author with strong political interests. So I ordered another one with better reviews and expect it to arrive in Monday.
    But as you say, it seems to me that a person who is not a professional can only hardly see if something in the textbook is true or if it was written to support one view that the establishment tries to prove.
    So I was wondering where one can find the primary sources you are taking about. And if you can find them how can you read them if they are written in old and foreign languages.
  5. Mar 11, 2016 #4
    There is nothing new under the sun, and those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. It is not so important to relate dates to events in history as it is to understand what lead up to that event what were the repercussions of that event. Human behavior being what it is hasn't changed since the first chemist made fire. If we understand history, we can use that knowledge to evaluate current affairs and to formulate strategies to address the issues. Otherwise we will make the same mistakes of the past.
  6. Mar 11, 2016 #5
    If you are truly interested in the history of the 20th century read Hope and Tragedy by Carroll Quigley. Quigley provides insight to historical events that have not been revealed previously. He had access to documents from Chatam House, the Royal Institute on International Affairs and many other institutions of world power brokering.
  7. Mar 11, 2016 #6
    I don't go direct to primary sources. That is what historians do. Instead I read books by historians that are packed with quotations from primary sources. Often what those quotations are telling you is the opposite of what the historian says.

    Reading the news you'd be surprised how often those graphs fail to support or even refute the presenter's conclusions.

    History as taught in school is dreadful. All the sex and passion has been drained out of it. The characters are like stuffed mannequins, symbols of this and that. Real history is fascinating. It's like a novel, but better. Reality is not constrained by plausibility. Anything can happen. I frequently post about history to my friends. They love it.
  8. Mar 11, 2016 #7
    Those who are aware of history are also doomed to repeat it, because those who shape events behave in the same ways.
  9. Mar 11, 2016 #8
    Tragedy and Hope is available free of charge from a Quigley web site. 1300+ pages. It'll be a while.
  10. Mar 11, 2016 #9


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    I started to be interested in history when i was researching my village, it turns out that there was and upper Itching and a Lower Itching, the lower Itching
    became depopulated in the 15 century due to enclosure, this is when land lords wanted to clear the land for agriculture, it was not due to the black death as many thought, the only remains of lower itching is a wall included into a building that was part of the church.
  11. Mar 11, 2016 #10
    But probably worthwhile :-)
    I'm interested in other books as well, mainly about general European history if you know some. I'll read about the US too, but first I'd like to start from home :-)
  12. Mar 11, 2016 #11
    I'd read the first volume of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The UK and US governments are based on those of Rome. Generations of UK schoolboys were required to read it, so it is one of the most influential books ever.

    For more modern things there's Charles Bracelen Flood, Hitler: the Path to Power. It reads like a novel. Except better, of course.

    More off-the-beaten-path is CG Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Very unorthodox: not even Jungians follow it.
  13. Mar 11, 2016 #12
    Oh, there's the story of Joan of Arc. I think I got Mark Twain's version over the Internet for free. Incredible story, unacceptable to the scientific mind, but it happened.
  14. Mar 11, 2016 #13
    I find it is great to know, but I pay more attention to that of my place than history of elsewhere.

    You don't mind if I put this picture here? :-p


    :nb) :nb)
  15. Mar 11, 2016 #14
    Yes very much so
    i like the 1800 and the dark ages (Norse/viking)
  16. Mar 11, 2016 #15
    history dose not repeat but it rhymes
  17. Mar 11, 2016 #16
    Quigley's book is mainly Europe, Russia, Caucuses, and Asia. Very little is written about US history in this tome.
  18. Mar 12, 2016 #17

    I'm up to page 271. Never before have I been exposed to such concentrated, distilled truth. Naturally it is considered toxic by the great majority of the human race. Unflattering to all factions, it has the support of no faction. No faction except one, which did more harm than good. It didn't help that a small portion was heavily publicized by the John Birch society to support their conspiracy theories, much to Quigley's dismay.
  19. Mar 12, 2016 #18
    Quigley is Saharan dry, but his research is impeccable. The behind the scenes look at historical world events is an eye opener. Wait until you get to the Arab-Latin axis. What insight!

    On a side note, I'm surprised he wasn't assassinated.
  20. Mar 12, 2016 #19
    Sounds like a must-read! Will definitely get that book.
    However I need to learn earlier history first. I'm at the 7-9th century central Europe now (which is quite interesting, didn't expect that. I will spend some time in this period). Want to see everything in chronological order.
  21. Mar 12, 2016 #20

    I find it fast-paced, gripping, and massively entertaining. But I'm not a normal human being. Novels and porn bore the &^%# out of me.

    I'm on page 303. I can't imagine what the remaining 1000 pages will contain.

    Why should he be assassinated? His work was ignored, discredited by the John Birchers, then forgotten.
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