Why I Read: History

(Jumping back up on the horse here; sorry about that)

One of my favorite moments in history to read about is D-Day.  I first gained exposure to this momentous event through the film Saving Private Ryan, then through reading Stephen Ambrose’s D-Day for a class project I was doing.  It was fascinating to read about all the work that went into the planning, the organization, the counter-intelligence, and the final launching the the Normandy Invasion, and knowing not only how much work went into it, but also how crucial its success was, and how easily it could have failed.

Thankfully, because of the events of June 6, 1944, we don’t have to worry about what world we might have had to live in, but looking back at the events of yesterday can teach us about the present and the future. Here’s a few good reasons to pick up a history book:

1) As mentioned above, learn from the past to determine actions in the present. If you want to determine how you feel about war, read books on wars past, and you might find yourself with a different point of view.

2) Learn something new!  There’s a lot of niche history books out there speaking on all manner of countries and cities in all manner of time periods.

3) Learn something weird!  All kinds of books exist on the history of different subjects, even such things as food, beer, haunted houses, whatever you want!  Do an Amazon search and see what comes up!

4) Unlearn your high school history courses. Next year, I’m going to read Lies My Teacher Told Me, a book I had started while on my honeymoon about two years ago. There’s a lot of things they leave out of history courses in our schools, things I personally believe we need to stop leaving out. There’s also the added bonus of seeing different events from a new perspective, like how the Arawak Indians were treated when Christopher Columbus “discovered” America (check out Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States for more).

5) Find out about yourself.  I’ve mentioned before my Perry County Project blog I’m starting out.  My whole family is from Perry County, Pennsylvania, and I want to learn about them so I can get in touch with my roots.  History books can tell you a great deal about the lands your ancestry roots itself, whether we’re looking more to the States, or even beyond them to the Old World. You never know what you might find on a hunt like that!

Anyway, history is awesome! Go read some!

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