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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

History, Fiction and Learning

I watched Valkyrie last night. As I reflected on the experience, I realized how sad it is that people think history is boring.

And, let's face it: History can be boring.

Much like watching a movie that drags now and again. The pointless bits and pieces detract from the experience. Scene after scene of driving, or flying, or walking made the movie slow and uninteresting. Similarly, trying to push names and dates makes history slow and uninteresting.

But those moments of human experience, tension, personality and choices... those are what make history come alive. And after witnessing everything these men and women went through, it made the reveal at the end even more incredible: There were at least 15 attempts on Hitler's life.

I had no idea.

But now that I've experienced it, that fact is etched in my mind.

The study of history need not be boring. Great historical fiction (the literary equivalent of movies "based on a true story") allows you to experience the important parts of history--the how and why and what--while only nodding toward the boring details--who, when, where. When we can apply the how and why of history to what we experience, we can learn from history. When our focus is set upon information more applicable to a party--when and where--then we miss out on the very reason we should be studying this subject in the first place.

What is the most impressive thing you've learned about history recently?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Surrogate Father


Joy ~ Doodlebug ~ said...

So true! Let's see..the most interesting thing I've learned...Well, this is something I remembered from a long time ago. It was when I was about six or seven, and I was taking classes at our local zoo. They have a Komodo Dragon, which is a HUGE black lizard, the size of a human(maybe a bit smaller) that normally lives in Indonesia(in case you didn't know). The zoo guide told the class that it used to live around the Pigme people. He said the Pigme adults were as big as me, and that the Komodo Dragons ate the Pigme people! I thought that was crazy. It jogged my memory today when I was reading my science, and it brought up Komodo Dragons. They actually have poison in their saliva, but it isn't enough to kill a human! So evidently, it either swallowed the people whole, or ran fast enough to catch them! How creepy.


Michelle said...

I think my most favorite 'history-learning' moments are learning about the ancient history of Africa (Core 2, Child's History of the World) or awesome missionaries like Gladys Aylward (again, Core 2) and Mary Slessor (Core 5).

My kids' most recent amazing history lesson was after we finished "Journey to Jo'burg" (Core 5 again). We had a great discussion about apartheid in South Africa - and what really happened in history (the children's march in 1976) and what was made up in the story (the people, but not their experiences).

I love history!

Luke Holzmann said...

Joy, that's incredible! Thanks for sharing <smile>.

Michelle, glad you and your children are loving history. That's great!



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