I agree with many of the points. History itself is far stranger than most fiction could ever hope to be. I do differ, though, with the author’s argument that we only look to history to prevent the bad stuff from happening again. We should also be inspired by history for all the good and positive changes over our history and people who brought those changes about.
As a writer of historical fiction, I’m very keen to spark an interest for the past in the teenagers I write for. The Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana said that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. I’m convinced this is one of the most important arguments for teaching history – either in a classroom or indirectly in historical fiction.
The invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11 is a classic example: every single invasion of this place has resulted in disaster for the invaders – be they Imperial Britain, Soviet Russia or the United States. I think with horror of the young neo-Nazis in Greece, Poland, Russia and Germany and can’t begin to understand how the grandchildren of citizens who suffered so cruelly under this most repugnant of regimes can even begin to think this is a good way of running a country.
I’m a writer rather than…
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