I Love History
I do not "like" history. I do not "appreciate" the need for history as a tool for teaching civics, or to build up a necessary base of useful knowledge, or to meet state mandated requirements. I do not view history as a curricular necessity. History may be all of those fine things. But for me, history is a passion, it is a love. Reading history informs me, pleases me, but, most of all, it makes sense of the world. History is for me what theology, or psychology, or ethics, or meditation, or poetry might be for someone else: it is how I find meaning. I understand the present by connecting the dots to the past. History is a bridge, it graciously, generously, offers itself as an explanation of any one effect by tracing out its fascinating causes. I want to know, history says: sure, let me tell you.
Precisely because history is a passion for me, I cannot understand how we treat history in schools. There is no love lost on history — it is sliced up into textbooks, flattened out into scopes and sequences, mashed down into ultra-familiar topics; it has no magic, no passion, no love. History is a medicine we feed young people, hoping it will do more for them then it does for us.
If I have one goal in this blog it is speak for that passion, to investigate why it is not more widely shared, and to think — with you — about how to awaken it, in young people, in authors, in books, in teachers. I am writing this blog to invite all lovers of history to a place where as Joe Hill advised us, we can not "mourn but organize."