question of the weekend: Which bits of history do you feel you should know more about?
This weekend’s question is inspired by an essay at the Guardian recently by Martin Kettle which began thusly:
Earlier this year, one of my children made a confession. He had reached adult life knowing almost nothing about the English civil war. Could I recommend him a book on the subject? I could, and I did. And a few months later, I saw that the Hampstead theatre in north London was putting on a Howard Brenton play, 55 Days, about the events leading up to the execution of Charles I. So we went to that too. As we were leaving the theatre we talked about Oliver Cromwell and the dramas and dilemmas of 1648-9. And my son said: "I don't think any of my school friends know anything about the civil war. But everyone in this country ought to know about it. They all ought to see that play."
And Kettle goes on to discuss how a lack of general knowledge about English history has had a negative impact on British culture. Which is a notion I can neither agree with or disagree with, though it has a ring of truth and I would agree about the same thing being said about the United States.
But that’s not quite what I want to talk about. This is:
Which bits of history do you feel you should know more about?
If you’d like to connect your lack of knowledge to a larger cultural decline, feel free. But I’d really just like for us to geek out on history and the bits that interest us most.
I wish I could know more about a part of human history that we probably cannot know much more about: What was human life like in prehistory, before we had writing and before we could record much? I love the Clan of the Cave Bear series of novels because, in spite of some of their problems, they create a compelling and plausible re-creation of Ice Age human civilization.
As for those parts of history that we do know lots about and I’ve simply been negligent in learning about, I’d like to learn more about ancient Greece and Rome. I feel like I have only the slightest grasp of those eras and their influence on our modern civilization.
(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD/QOTW, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)
blog comments powered by Disqus
Sat Feb 02 13, 12:53PM
join the conversation:
talk amongst yourselves
by MaryAnn Johanson
· question of the day: How are you coping with Kate-is-pregnant-induced nausea?
· question of the day: Will Seth MacFarlane be a good Oscar host?
· question of the day: What is the appeal of Madame Tussauds?
· question of the day: Has the Academy just made it too difficult for documentaries to qualify for the Oscars?
· question of the day: Is it too soon for an Amy Winehouse biopic?
· question of the day: Famous creative types pushing back against corporate greed: hot new trend or momentary pissing into the wind?
· question of the weekend: Should gruesome photos of famous dead people be plastered all over the media?
· question of the weekend: Are the London riots this week the inevitable consequence of consumerism, and are we likely to see more such unrest?
· question of the day: Is J.J. Abrams being a troll when he says, “If you’re so smart, you come up with a better ending for ‘Lost’”?
· question of the day: What the heck could J.K. Rowling be up to with Pottermore.com?
London photo of the day: heads on spike
Disqus upgrade implemented