Some people are under the impression that studying history is dull or of no interest. Maybe we can blame the way it’s presented in education: Quick, little bites that don’t get into the personalities, the drama and the earth-changing events. Don’t get me wrong, I had some history teachers that knew their stuff and were great at teaching, but they were always limited by time.
Education shouldn’t end at graduation. That’s a mistake most people make. It’s a mistake that can be overcome. Many authors are gifted with research and telling history that is every bit has exciting as a novel or film.
If Pilgrims arriving on the Mayflower and having the first Thanksgiving is about the extent of your backgrounder on the subject, Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower will unveil a far more exciting and nation-shaping series of events. Similarly, after reading his The Last Stand, the Indian Wars and Custer will never be quite the same. Some parts of history don’t always end well, but we must learn from them just like any other.
If you ever wondered why so much focus has been put on a single battle like Gettysburg, Noah Andre Trudeau’s Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage, told largely through the eyes of those who fought, will show how war reveals the best, and worst, of men.
Everyone thinks of the Cuban Missile Crisis as the close call of the Cold War, but we were at the brink far more times than that. Books like 15 Minutes and The Dead Hand detail the frightening world that few knew existed.
So start stockpiling some books before winter sets in and prepare to fascinated, amazed and shocked. You’ll wonder why you ever stopped learning or thought it dull or unnecessary.
You are in charge of your education. That education didn’t stop years ago. It only barely had begun.