General Question

KNOWITALL's avatar

Is anyone here really interested in history?

Asked by KNOWITALL (15091 points ) December 2nd, 2013

I find history fascinating, regardless of the country, I find something new almost every time I study a new region or a new time period.

If you like history, which time period and country fascinates you the most?

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43 Answers

Lorna's avatar

Absolutely not. I don’t have any interest whatsoever.

blueiiznh's avatar

yes. Open to pretty much everything.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Lorna Do you not believe that history repeats itself quite often? May I ask if you are interested in politics at all?

glacial's avatar

I miss @bookish1.

JLeslie's avatar

I hated history in school, but as I get older I find it very interesting. I am still terrible at retaining the facts though. I think history tells us about ourselves, other cultures, and helps with deciding what we want for our futures.

Lately, American history is more interesting to me. Living in Memphis for several years I became much more interested in black history in our country. It is so appalling to me what happened here. I try to get into the mindset of all the different points of view during that time. I am more interested in the time after slavery than slavery itself, and even present time experiences of black people in our country and how the past affects life today. Possible cultural differences and individual experiences for black people depending on where they live. I think for some black people race is a complete non-issue and for others it is a big issue. I think this is true for many groups in the country.

I also am more interested lately in how and when Jewish people came to American and how they influenced America.

Rarebear's avatar

Currently I’m reading a book on the history of World War 1.

khajuria's avatar

Nope. I have never been the one to remember the dates of events and the names of the people. I can sometimes be interested in the happenings and plots though.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Same here, I HATED it in hs, but now I’m really into it. I am super-fascinated with the Civil War here and in England, and black/ white relations here, along with the many viewpoints on slavery, etc…

Although the immigration from Europe to America fascinates me as well. I just read something about the Poor Tax in England and how it increased the population of America, as well as the Irish situation, etc… To me, our history is very exciting.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL What in particular about the Civil War? Many southern jellies here argue it was not over slavery, is that the point of view you take?

JimTurner's avatar

I enjoy reading about ancient civilizations that supposedly lived before the great flood.

Lorna's avatar

@KNOWITALL No, I don’t like politics either.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s always been my favorite subject. I majored in History, in a thinly veiled effort to assure myself a life of privation, and true to the American dream, can happily report the achievement of my goal. It is my view that we as a society suffer serious consequences from the failure to emphasize the importance of History in our children’s curriculum.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie I do agree that it wasn’t all about slavery, it was about a government who didn’t represent the entire country. Secession came up way before slavery became an issue to fight over.

@Lorna I figured. Most people I talk to who don’t enjoy history also have complete disregard for politics. When I was in hs, I hated history and thought votes were a waste of my time, but then as I matured, I realized it it very important that we exercise our vote and that history shows us exactly why it is important. :)

DWW25921's avatar

I’ve always thought the history of the UK and how it’s expanded and contracted over the centuries is very interesting.

flutherother's avatar

I visited Pompeii, Herculaneum and the amphitheatre in Rome recently and became interested in Roman history. I like history and one of my favourite periods is Tang Dynasty China. The great thing about history is it gives you perspective. It helps you recognise the good and the bad in present day life more clearly.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I really don’t know why the north bothered to fight for the union to stay intact. That is something I would be interested in learning about.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, I’ll let you find that answer for yourself because it’s pretty cool. :)

tom_g's avatar

I think history is fascinating. But I think I’ve always been a little confused about the philosophy and techniques used to gather and report it. I’m sure a historian will say that most of my concerns are covered in History 101. So, I apologize if my thoughts on it are silly.

Have you ever attended an event and then read about it in the newspaper the following day? I have had this experience a few times, and each time I felt as if I were reading about a completely different event than the one I attended. These were relatively minor events, but it seems that the event I experienced may have been lost historically. That is, someone may be able to go back and find one of those newspaper articles. But they would lose nearly everything was essential (in my opinion) to what the event was about.

I’m just not sure when I am reading an account of an historical event whose perspective I am getting, and what that truly means. I know that Howard Zinn had written about the importance of providing another perspective – say, the “discovering” of America from the perspective of a people who had already been there. But it seems that there is an awful lot more to what is happening “now” that is bound to be lost.

I guess at a minimum, I’d like to see historical writing provide historical perspective, as well as what is not covered. When discussing the Carter administration, for example, are we covering it from the perspective of someone living in East Timor during that time who had to live with the consequences of the administration’s continued support (hundreds of millions in military assistance) for Indonesia.

snowberry's avatar

@tom_g You are right. I have experienced that first hand. What really happened, and what people say happened are often (almost always?) not same thing. An awful lot of what you read in the newspaper or hear on the news is gossip, pure and simple and even ESPN does it (and no, I’m not going to spoon feed you the interview and tell people who I am). If you are tracking a story, and have a chance to interview the guy who it’s all about, and the guy can back up everything he says with documentation, you’re not going to run it because it’s not going to feed the prurient interest of the public. Instead, go find a lowlife with a juicy embellished story, and run that one! Happens all the time. Been there, done that!

glacial's avatar

@tom_g Certainly, it is possible to be selective about what one reads and discover exactly what one wants to discover in history. This is the danger of having a large number of accounts of the same events available. Of course, the hope is that having a large number of accounts available can also make it less likely for a wrong account to persist over time.

As a scientist, I am able to judge how well I know a body of literature about a specific topic – and I can put something newly written into that context and assess it accordingly. But I am on less steady footing with history, because it’s not my field. I suppose the trick is always to discover what is the consensus and why. And then figure out how to assess works that disagree with that consensus.

bossob's avatar

I’m in the ‘history was boring in school, but has become much more interesting the older I get’ club.

What continues to puzzle me though, as @tom_g suggested, is who decided what facts to put in the history books, and whether or not they had an agenda. I find it overwhelming trying to understand the individual and cultural influences on major historical events, when the authors themselves are making judgement calls as to what to include or exclude in their text.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I think those of you who believe that the Civil War wasn’t all about slavery are on thin ice. The Civil war was a conflict over two economic models, and for the agrarian South slavery was the ONLY basis for any thought of prosperity. The importance of slavery can be appreciated from the fact that the monetary value of the slave population at the outbreak of the Civil War exceeded the ENTIRE net worth of the other combined assets of the United States.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The older I get the more connected to history I feel. I’ve always loved history, especially learning how different countries and cultures were born.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Waiting on the slavery issue to explode….It will be interesting.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III lol, not from me, it’s an difference of opinion but if you read Abraham Lincoln’s addresses in totality, I think it would be enlightening.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@bossob It is true that “history” is written and interpreted by the winners. Objectivity is always touted, rarely achieved. This being said, there remain facts that should be beyond dispute, and those wishing to drift away from those facts should be called to task.

CWOTUS's avatar

I never learn anything new when I study history, just more old stuff. ~

Pachy's avatar

I’m fascinated with the ‘40s—FDR and Eleanor, Churchill, the War, Manhattan project, the music (Big Bands, Sinatra, Andrews Sisters, Jo Stafford, etc.), and of course the movies and the great actors, screenwriters and directors.

If that decade interests you too and you’ve never seen The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), you’ve just gotta.

josie's avatar

I consider myself to be serious history hobbyist. My favorite periods of history are the Renaissance and Reformation, 19th century American History, 20th Century world history.

ibstubro's avatar

If you were just a little closer, @KNOWITALL I’d loan you the last book I read. It was written and self published by a local man in 1991. He tells stories of his life as a kid, written from the perspective of a 10 year old boy in 1933. It is HILARIOUS! And written just like you’re sitting there talking to the guy.

I can’t find a reference to the book on-line, anywhere. :-(

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@ibstubro You’d probably like And The Land Remembers. I can get you the author if you want.

YARNLADY's avatar

I am relatively interested, but not avidly.

RockerChick14's avatar

Yes and the 1700s :)

Unbroken's avatar

I fell in love with ancient civilizations in grade school. I always wanted more on the subject but the libraries available to me were so limited on the topic.

I hated wars and timelines in middle and high school but the holocaust and the personal accounts entranced me.

After highschool band of brothers got me caught up in world war 2. I got better with timelines. But I still need work.

I am currently interested in slavery and woman’s rights history.

Like tom_g and others pointed out history is selective, so many various accounts and perspectives while an event is going on. If we can’t get it right as it unfolds, and we need time for objectivity as we also lose crucial details it is sad. If only we could stop as a society and get clarity. Yeah I am dreaming.

Gonzo journalism has been misconstrued and warped, yellow journalism and propoganda. If we stick to just the absolute facts there is so little left. I read an article and have more questions then I started. Not in a good exploratory way, but as in they didn’t even bother to give a who, what, when, how account.

ibstubro's avatar

Is this it @Adirondackwannabe?

If so, I’ve wasted hours “here’:http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/. Fascinating stuff. I can hardly credit how hard people used to work!

LostInParadise's avatar

I am interested in Alexandria following Alexander’s conquest. The Greek rulers of Alexandria were anything but enlightened, but they latched onto a great idea. They built a library which they claimed contained a copy of every book ever written. At a time when books were written by hand, that was quite a boast. Attached to the library was what they called a museum (home of the muses), which could be considered the world’s fist university..

The city attracted some of the best minds of the time. Euclid did his work in Alexandria and Archimedes visited the city. Eratosthenes used shadows and simple geometry to measure the circumference of the world to within 10 percent. Heron created a steam powered toy. Aristarchus came up with the heliocentric theory.

It is a shame that both Christians and Moslems contributed to the destruction of the library because it contained pagan books.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@LostInParadise I agree. Just one more example of how passing judgement on others makes us all lose. :)

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Sure, I enjoy history, all the way back. I always remember though, that almost no history is , “Historical fact.” Like all docudramas, all history lessons should begin with, ” Based on actual events. Some names and events have been changed for dramatic purposes.”
I remember as a child having Columbus day off, and feeling so patriotic, celebrating this guy.Along the way, i learned who REALLY discovered America, all of them. Why don’t we celebrate America day, Dutch day, Cross The Land Bar From Asia day.
History is full of fascinating stories. They grow, evolve, entertain, educate.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@LostInParadise The library at Alexandria built its huge collection partially by confiscating the books from every ship that docked in the city’s port. The books were copied, then returned and the resulting copies were added to the library’s collection. I had always thought that the library was burned to the ground when Caesar was under siege in 48 BC. But apparently the library was partially destroyed several times. A lot of the confusion about the extent and dates of the episodes of destruction is caused by the fact that there was a huge backup collection of copies of significant books housed in the Serapeum (the temple of Serapis)

downtide's avatar

I love history. I’m particularly interested in European history; everything from the Bronze Age (around 1200BC) up to the 19th century. I think if I had to pick a particular favourite it would be the Celts (~500BC-100AD). My partner is also a history buff and is an expert on Alexander the Great.

deni's avatar

I love history. I find ancient Egypt to be a fascinating period of time, always have. I am also really interested in early America in general but specifically the wild west. I live in Colorado now, and will be living in Utah soon. I love ghost towns and learning the history of them because you can actually BE in a place and see the history! Then, given the internet, you can learn a ton more about all the crazy things that happened there. I really can’t think of any period of history anywhere in the world that isn’t fascinating. It’s all fascinating because it’s so different, and honestly it is hard for me to imagine living in a different period of the world.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I find history fascinating! I like to learn about how ordinary people lived during earlier time periods. We learn so much about how royalty and the upper classes lived but it’s the working class and their lifestyles I find most interesting.

mattbrowne's avatar

Totally interested! Just recently, I learned why Australians shifted their focus from Britain to the US. Two factors: Japanese bombardments and the UK joining the EU after WWII.

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