I’ve become immersed in history the past couple of months. As a youngster, I read a lot of history, and I made it my major in college. I never stopped reading history as an adult, but it often took a backseat to other non-fiction reading.
A few years ago, though, I started delving into revisionist history, and now I’m hooked. I can’t believe how much bunk has been rammed down our throats, especially when it comes to three areas that interest me: the early medieval period, the English Reformation, and U.S. history.
Expect more and more posts along these lines as 2014 unfolds.
Today’s revisionist-history item: This 2007 piece from The Atlantic about Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars. Excerpt:
Duffy’s most significant contribution by far is to elucidate the fragility of even deeply rooted ways of life: he convincingly demonstrates that for better or worse, the Reformation was “a great cultural hiatus, which had dug a ditch, deep and dividing, between the English people and their past”—a past that over merely three generations became a distant world, impossible for them to look back on as their own. A wholly compelling book (it was a best seller in the UK), this will appeal to any reader who wants to enter and understand another world (and isn’t that why we read in the first place?). After you finish it, Shakespeare’s haunting line from Sonnet 73, about the destruction of the monasteries—”Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang”(which, astonishingly, Duffy resists quoting)—will resonate as never before.
As revisionist–a/k/a “accurate–history continues to pick up steam, I expect the voice of Hilaire Belloc to resonate as never before. That lonely Catholic voice was berated and mocked for his attacks on Whig history.
A hundred years later, I sense that his exoneration is nearing.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList