' 'But where can the lovers of truth turn if not to history?"

Katherine Anthony


"The present state of things is a consequence of the past."

-Samuel Johnson


"History is a butcher's shop, history is a slaughter block."



"History is mostly guessing; the rest is prejudice."

-Will & Ariel Durant


"History is the ship carrying living memories to the future."

-Stephen Spender


"The greatness of today is built on the efforts of past centuries. A nation is not contained in a day nor in an epoch, but in the succession of all days, all periods, all her twilights and all her dawns."

-Jean Jaures


"The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like an incubus upon the brain of the living."

-karl Marx


"The hardest strokes of heaven, fall in history on those who imagine they can control things in a sovereign manner, playing providence not only for themselves but for the far future-reaching out into the future with the wrong kind of far-sightedness, and gambling on a lot of risky calculations in which there must never be a single mistake."

-Herbert Butterfield


"People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them."

-James Baldwin


"It is not the neutrals or the lukewarm who make history"

-Adolf Hitler


"The history of the world is the history of a privileged few."

-Henry Miller


"The most important events in every age never reach the history books."

C.S. Lewis

The Dark Tower & Other Stories


"History is the product of vast, amorphous and indecipherable social movements."

-Count Leo Tolstoy



"The historian owes the dead nothing but the truth."

-J.B.J. Delambre

History of Modern Astronomy


"The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different."

-Aldous Huxley

The Devils of Loudon



"One would expect people to remember the past and imagine the future. but in fact.....they imagine the past and remember the future."

-Lewis Namier


"History and politics are not at all like the notions developed by intelligent, informed people."

Saul Bellow



"The history of the world is the record of a man in quest of his daily bread and butter."

-Hendrick Willem van Loon


"No one makes history: One doesn’t see it happen, any more than we see the grass grow."

Boris Pasternak


"History is made by men who have the restlessness , impressionability, credulity, capacity for make-believe, ruthlessness, and self-righteousness of children. It is made by men who set their hearts on toys. All leaders strive to turn their followers into children."

Eric Hoffer

The Passionate State of Mind



"Swindon: What will history say?"

Burgoyne: History, Sir, will tell lies as usual."

-George Bernard Shaw, The Devil's Disciple Act 3 (1901)



"Our history is the history of our consuming relationship to fire."

Jeremy Rifkin

Declaration of a Heretic



"History never looks like history when you are living through it. It always looks confusing and messy, and it always feels uncomfortable."

John W. Gardner


"We have the need in history in its entirety, not to fall back on, but to see if we can escape from it."

Ortega Y Gasset


"History must be studied in all its length, all its breadth, and in all its depth: nothing else gives us the necessary perspective."




"Awareness of the past is an antidote to both egotism and shallow optimism. It restrains optimism because it teaches us to be cautious about man's perfectibility and to put a sober estimate on schemes to renovate the species. What coursebook in vanity and ambition is to be compared with Plutarch's Lives? What more soundly rebukes the theory of automatic progress than the measured tread of Gibbon's Decline and Fall? The reader of history is chastened, and, as he closes his book, he may say, with Dante, in the Inferno: "I had not thought death had undone so many.'"

Richard M. Weaver

Ideas Have Consequences


"The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it."

Oscar Wilde


"Historians are dangerous people. They are capable of upsetting everything. They must be directed."

Nikita Khrushchev



"There is nothing so corrupt as history when it enters the service of the state."

Edgar Quinet (1875)


"The hardest thing to convey in writing history or teaching history is that nothing ever had to happen the way it happened."

-David McCullough


"In historical events great men-so called-are but the labels that serve to give a name to an event, and like labels, they have the last possible connection with the event itself. Every action of theirs, that seems to them an act of their own free will, is in an historical sense not free at all, but in bondage to the whole course of previous history, and predestined from all eternity."

-Leo Nilolaevich Tolstoi

War and Peace



"The Historian should be fearless and incorruptible; a man of independence, loving frankness and truth; one who, as the poet says, calls a fig a fig and a spade a spade. He should yield to neither hatred nor affection, but should be unsparing and unpitying. He should be neither shy nor deprecating, but an impartial judge, giving each side all it deserves but no more. He should know in his writings no country and no city; he should bow to no authority and acknowledge no king. He should never consider what this or that man will think, but should state the facts as they really are."

                       Lucian (How History Should be Written Circa (170 A.D.)


   "Modern historians have obliterated leagues of data from the historical record. They have done so motivated by prejudice and special interest. Such an attitude is offensive even to Western historians. It was Paul Benoit and Francoise Micheau who noted a definite bias in Western writings and lectures on  the history of science, which they described as an example of "Eurocentrsm." They even labeled the seemingly deliberate omissions of the Islamic works as an example of outright racism. These Western scholars confirm that history should be recorded accurately, and the correct credit must be given to whomever is responsible for the discoveries, whether Western, Eastern, or Oriental."

Dr. Kasem Khaleel

The Arab Connection


"As heretical as it may seem to institution bound historians, the study of history has essentially been a self-help project. That it no longer holds such value for the current generation of students, who shun history for more practical disciplines, is evidence of a failure among historians. They have abandoned the old fashioned notion that history has lessons, and thus emptied their classrooms. The most compelling of all reasons to study the past has always been to foretell the future."

James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg

The Great Reckoning


"I don't see that anyone save a sap-head can now think he knows any history until he understands economics."

-Ezra Pound


"For Hegel, the primary motor of human history is not modern natural science or the ever expanding horizon of desire that powers it, but rather a totally non-economic drive, the struggle for recognition."

-Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man


"The hardest thing to convey in writing history or teaching history is that nothing ever had to happen the way it happened."

-David McCullough


" ….Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever will be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same result."




"History is not a blueprint but a cautionary tale. It is replete with warnings to those who believe that they can outguess the future, or that their country has a mandate from providence, or that alliances are a nuisance, or that a brusque arrogance is preferable to simulated humility."

Karl E. Meyer

The Dust of Empire


"The man who doesn’t understand the past can not think of the future."

Nicholas Roerich


"Every new generation must rewrite history in its own way."

R.G. Collingwood

The Idea of History



"Access to memory replaces historical knowledge as a way for our species to process its past. Memory has replaced history-and this is not bad news. On the contrary, it’s excellent news because it means we’re no longer doomed to repeat our mistakes; we can edit ourselves as we go along."

Douglas Coupland




"History does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do."

James Baldwin


"Mankind is always more or less storm-driven, and history is the sextant and compass of states which, tossed by wind and current, would be lost in confusion if they could not fix their position. It enables communities to grasp their relationships with the past, and to chart on general lines their immediate forward course."

Allan Nevins


"The value of history, like the existence of free will, cannot be proved-it is simply a basic fact of human experience."

Joseph R. Strayer


"As far as we can see history as a whole.....we see it as a continuous development in which every phase consists of the solution of human problems set by the preceding phase."

R.G. Collingwood


"We all believe that the past explains the present and forecasts the future-not in the crude sense of an absolute duplication of events, but in the sense that will always be familiar elements in a new situation which will aid us in making decisions and in judging what the results of those decisions will be. The wider and deeper our experience-the greater our chances of recognizing these familiar elements, and history, properly written, can increase our stock of experiences many fold. We may go wrong in following the clues which it offers, but we would be lost without them. No one could stand the strain of beginning each day in a new world in which there was no rational basis for any decision and no way of predicting the results of any action. History, even at its worst, gives us he comforting and necessary feeling that the world is stable and intelligible. History at its best gives us a real chance of reacting sensibly to a new situation. It does not guarantee the correctness of our response, but it should improve the quality of our judgment."

Joseph R. Strayer


"Unfortunately with us it is these small men who do most of the historic teaching in the colleges. They have done much real harm in preventing the development of students who might have a large grasp of what history should really be."

Theodore Roosevelt

The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt ed. E. Morrison

8 Vols, Cambridge, Mass 1951-54



"In proportion as history took a scientific coloration, employed mechanistic or evolutionary terms, and abandoned its old preoccupation with individual act and motive, it lost much of its serviceability to democratic needs."

Allan Nevins


"General knowledge of history is less and less characteristic of American decision-makers and their aides. Our education system turns out lawyers who may know only the history they learn through the constricting prisms of court opinions; economists who may learn neither economic history nor much if any economic thought except their own; scientists who may know next to nothing of the history of science; engineers who may be innocent of history entirely, even that of their professions; graduates of business schools with but a smattering of theirs; and a generalist B.A.s who may with ingenuity, have managed to escape all history of every sort. Our government and politics are peopled with such as these."

Richard Neustadt & Ernest May

Thinking in Time: The uses of History for Decision Makers


"….But history also teaches us that man is stupid and wicked, is afraid to see things in a wide perspective and generally prefers the local squabbles which he calls his interests to his true interests which he calls ‘Utopias.’"

Denis de Rougemont

The Last Trump


"Man's historical experience has been one of steady failure and there are no grounds for supposing that it will ever be anything else. Not one single project elaborated within the historical process has ever proved successful. None of the problems of any given historical epoch whatsoever has been solved, no aims attained, no hopes realized."

N. Berdyaev

The Meaning of History


"In the whole of the New Testament, Gospels and Epistles alike, there is only one interpretation of world history. That pictures history as moving towards a climax in which both Christ and anti-Christ are revealed."




"The ordinary historian has always been somewhat embarrassed when asked to justify his devotion to his subject. Interest in history seems to him natural and inevitable; it no more needs explanation than the act of breathing. If he is completely honest with himself, he will wonder if his original decision to concentrate on the study of history was not due more to the fact that it gave him pleasure than to any profound conviction of its value and significance. When under attack, he may develop elaborate arguments to prove the social usefulness of his work, but these bursts of enthusiasm are apt to leave him with uneasy feeling that he has yielded to the common human failing of inventing good reasons for doing what he would have done in any case. Nagging by scientists and social scientists may drive him to formulate laws of historical research; but the next day he will be wondering if he has not invented a complicated terminology to discuss a method which must be based more on instinct and common sense than on the principles of the physical sciences. History, at least in its final stages, is more of an art than a science, and historians, like artists, have seldom been able to describe their work in purely intellectual terms. In both cases there is a belief that a certain arrangement of carefully selected facts will illustrate some aspect of universal truth, and a feeling that his belief can never be fully justified by purely rational argument."

Joseph R. Strayer


"We have a preposterous little organization called I think the American Historical association, which, when I was just out of Harvard and very ignorant, I joined. Fortunately I had enough good sense, or obstinacy, or something, to retain a subconscious belief that, inasmuch as books were meant to be read, good books ought to be interesting, and the best books capable in addition of giving one a lift upwards in some direction."

Theodore Roosevelt


"After a while it dawned on me that all of the conscientious, industrious, painstaking little pedants, who could have been useful people in a rather small way if they had understood their own limitations, had become because of their conceit distinctly noxious. They solemnly believed that if there were only enough of them, and that if they only collected enough facts of all kinds and sorts, there would cease to be any need thereafter for great writers, great thinkers."

Theodore Roosevelt


"Each of them was a good-enough day laborer, trundling his barrowful of bricks and worthy of his hire; as long as they saw themselves as they were they were worthy of all respect; but when they imagined that by their activity they rendered the work of an architect unnecessary they became both absurd and mischievous

Theodore Roosevelt


"Among many other benefits, for which it hath been honored; in this one (history) Triumpheth over all humane knowledge, that it hath given us life in our understanding, since the world itself had life and beginning, even to this day; yea it hath triumphed over time, which besides it, nothing but eternity hath triumphed over; for it hath carried our knowledge over the vast & devouring space of so many thousands of years, and given so faire and piercing eyes to our minde; that we plainely behould living now, as if we have lived then, that great World….as it was then, When but new to it was created: we behold how it was governed: how it was covered with waters, and again repeopled."

Sir Walter Raleigh

The History of the World


"It is not the least debt which we owe unto History, that it hath made us acquainted with our dead Ancestors; and out of the depth and darknesse of the earth, delivered us their memory and fame."

Sir Walter Raleigh


"History is an essential part of civilized human life, and  it is futile to argue whether we shall or shall not devote some attention to it….the value of history, like the existence of free will, cannot be proved-it is simply a basic fact of human experience….the real problem….is to improve the quality of the history we use."



"The uses of history, arise neither from its relevance nor from its availability as a subject which teachers pass on to students who become teachers and in turn teach others to teach."



"History must be our deliverer not only from the undue influence of other times, but from the undue influence of our own, from the tyranny of environment and the pressure of the air we breathe. It requires all historic forces to produce their record and submit to judgment, and it promotes the faculty of resistance to contemporary surroundings by familiarity with other ages and other orbits of thought."

Lord Acton (1899 lecture at Cambridge)


  "But orthodoxy as well as liberalism has something to learn from the biblical view of the relation of the Kingdom to history. If liberalism has erred in finding a too simple and optimistic solution to our corporate and personal evils, orthodoxy has erred in the other direction. By understanding the persistence of the recalcitrant factor in all human experience, orthodoxy has tended to minimize the power and work of the Holy Spirit. It makes no distinctions between greater and lesser evil or between greater or lesser good. it sees all of history painted in the one color, black, unrelieved anywhere by any lighter hue. Since pure white is an historic impossibility, let pure black reign!

   By such pessimism orthodoxy betrays itself into the hands of society's most reactionary elements. By maintaining a hands-off policy towards all effort for social amelioration, it perpetuates the injustices of the moment and sanctifies the status quo as, somehow, God's will for the hour. Its total pessimism blinds it to the possibilities for achieving relative justice in any given situation, though such achievement is always precarious and threatened by dissolution. Ironically enough, by refusing to relate itself positively to the social struggle, the Church puts it very existence in peril. Where the Church refuses to offer Christian leadership tot he masses, Satan raises up his own, which proceeds to muffle the voice of the Church to a whisper. This is the lesson of the totalitarian state. A Church that is negatively related to the struggles of history can neither be salt nor light to the world."

Culbert G. Rutenber

The Dagger and the Cross


"My answer is that history is "for" human self-knowledge. It is generally thought to be of importance to man that he should know himself: where knowing himself means knowing not his merely personal peculiarities, the things that distinguish him from other men, but his nature as man. Knowing yourself means knowing, first, what it is to be a man; secondly, knowing what it is to be the kind of man you are; and thirdly, knowing what it is to be the man you are and nobody else is. Knowing yourself means knowing what you can do; and since nobody knows what he can do until he tries, the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is."



"By giving peoples a sense of continuity in all their efforts, and by it chronically immortal worth, it confers upon them both a consciousness of their unity, and a feeling of the importance of human achievement. With (history) this world, a brilliant arena of human action canopied by fretted fire, would indeed become stale, flat, and unprofitable, a congregation of pestilent vapors."

Allan Nevins


"A little fact is as important as what is called a big fact. The picture may be well-nigh finished, but it remains vague for want of one more fact. When that missing fact is discovered all others become clear and distinct, it is like turning a light, properly shaded, upon a painting which but a moment before was a blur in the dimness."

Albert J. Beveridge


"All the great events of this globe are like the globe itself, half of which is seen in broad daylight, while the other half is immersed in darkness."



"It often seems to me as if History was like a child’s box of letters, with which we can spell any word we please. We have only to pick out such letters as we want, arrange them as we like, and say nothing about those which do not suit our purpose."

James Anthony Froude


"You may have your Hegel’s philosophy of history, or you may have your Schlegel’s philosophy of history; you may prove from history that the world is governed in detail by a special Providence; you may prove that there is no sign of any moral agent in the universe except man; you may believe, if you like it, in the old theory of the wisdom of antiquity, you may talk, as was common in the fifteenth century, about "our barbarian ancestors," whose wars were merely the scuffling of kites and crows. You may maintain that the evolution of humanity has been an unbroken progress towards perfection; you may maintain that there has been no progress at all, and that man remains the same poor creature he was. You may even agree with Rousseau that people were purest and best in primeval simplicity. In all or any of these views, history will stand your friend. History, in its passive irony, will make no objection."

James Anthony Froude (1860)


"A rough parallel may be found in certain card games. There is almost no chance that one distribution of cards will be repeated in a subsequent deal in bridge. Yet a man who has played several thousand hands of bridge should be able to make intelligent decisions and predictions even though every deal presents a new situation. He should be able to use his high cards and long suits effectively; he should be able to make some shrewd guesses about the location of cards in other hands. Not every experienced player will develop these skills. Some men are unable to generalize from their past experience, and others cannot see analogies between the present and the past. But, generally speaking, the experienced player will make better use of his cards than the man who has played only ten hands. There is such a thing as card sense, developed from long experience. There is also such a thing as a sense of the realities and possibilities of social activity, which can be developed from a study of the proper sort of history. It is in acquiring, or seeking to acquire, this sense of social realities that the historian ceases to be a scientist and becomes an artist."



"They (historical scholars) do all that the most exacting natural science would demand; they steep themselves in the material of their authors; they compare, contrast, manipulate combinations like the most accomplished cipher breakers, they may find it useful to apply statistical and quantitative methods, they formulate hypotheses and test them; all this may be indispensable but it is not enough. In the end what guides them is a sense of what a given author could, and what he could not, have said; of what fits and what does not fit, into the general pattern of his thought. This, let me say again, is not the way in which we demonstrate that penicillin cures pneumonia."

Isaiah Berlin


"There is no such thing as human history. Nothing can be more profoundly sadly true. The annals of mankind have never been written; nor would it be within human capacity to read them if they were written. We have a leaf or two torn from the great book of human fate as it flutters in the storm winds ever sweeping across the earth. We decipher them as we best can with purblind eyes, and endeavour to learn their mystery as we float along to the abyss."

John Lothrop Motley (1868)


"I have written my work, not as an essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as a possession for all time…"



"And as History which bears witness to the passing of the ages sheds light upon reality, gives life to recollection and guidance to human existence, and brings tidings of ancient days, whose voice, but the orator’s can entrust her to immortality?"



"History….hath made us acquainted with our dead ancestors; and, out of the depth and darkenesse of the earth, delivered us their memory and fame."

Sir Walter Raleigh


"No more deadly harm can be done to young minds than by deprecation of the present. The present contains all that there is. It is holy ground; for it is the past, and it is the future."

Alfred North Whitehead


"History is a melody played too slow to recognize; nevertheless we are all dancing to that tune."

Bird Krueger


"You must write the history of the passions, without which the history of money, labor, and power is incomplete."

Carlos Fuentes


"What we call history is the mess we call life reduced to some order, pattern and possibly purpose."

G.R. Elton (Regius Professor of History at Cambridge)

The Practice of History


"It is not without significance that the one historian among the ancients for whom no one has a bad word seems to be Asinius Pollio of whose writings nothing survives."

G.R. Elton


"The Law of the Survival of the Unread. If there is a natural and perhaps inevitable tendency toward the destruction and disappearance of the documents most widely used, this poses a discomfiting problem for the historian. For he inevitably relies heavily on the surviving printed matter. Is the historian, then, the victim of a diabolical solipsism? Is there an inverse relation between the probability of a document surviving and its value as evidence of the daily life of the age from which it survives?"

Daniel J. Boorstin

Hidden History


The Past! There is no past. All things converge into the present!



"People are always shouting they want to create a better future. It’s not true. The future is an apathetic void, of no interest to anyone. The past is full of life, eager to irritate us, provoke and insult us, tempt us to destroy or repaint it. The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past."

Milan Kundera

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting


"The more extensive a man’s knowledge of what has been done, the greater will be his power of knowing what to do."



"What experience and history teach is….that people and governments have never learned anything from history."




"On a more serious level. I believe that history enables us to understand the past better, no more and no less. This is a matter of detached curiosity, and there can be no nobler exercise of the human mind. I have never supposed, as many earlier historians did, that men can learn any useful lessons from history, political or otherwise. Of course you can learn certain obvious commonplaces, such as that all men die or that one day the deterrent, whatever it may be, will fail to deter. Apart from this, history is an art just like painting or architecture and is designed like them to give intellectual and artistic pleasure."

A.J.P Taylor

Politicians,Socialism and Historians




"What makes a great historian? By no means quantity of output. Many small men have written long books, and some great ones have left only fragments from which later generations must judge their quality, Not brilliance of expression. Epigrams can spell ruin for historians and often do. What distinguishes the truly great historian is integrity, a single-minded devotion to the past and its problems."

A.J.P. Taylor



"Our ignorance of history makes us vilify our own age."



"Historians are not wiser politicians or more sensible in their private lives than other men-often indeed the reverse."

A.J.P. Taylor


"History is not made by parties, unions, groupings, demonstrations. It is discreetly woven in the souls and hearts, the successes, failures, pains and joys of which are a thousand times nearer to daily life of each person."

Claude Charron


"Recent history is the record of a vast conspiracy to impose one level of mechanical consciousness on mankind and exterminate all manifestations of that unique part of human sentience that is identical in all men….Deviants from the mass sexual stereotype, quietists, those who will not work for money, or fib and make arms for hire, or join armies in murder and threat, those who wish to loaf, think, rest in visions, act beautifully on their own, speak truthfully in public-what is their psychic fate now in America? What Authority have we set up over ourselves, that we are not as we are?

Allen Ginsberg


"It must once again be acknowledged that history in general is a collection of crimes, follies, and misfortunes, among which we have now and then met a few virtues, and some happy times; as we sometimes see a few scattered huts in a barren desert."



"….Human history is not a journey across a landscape, in the course of which we leave one town behind as we approach another. Nomads constantly on the move, we carry everything with us, all we possess. We carry the seeds and nails and remembered hardships of everywhere we have lived. The beliefs and hurts and bones of every ancestor. Our baggage is heavy. We can’t bear to part with anything that ever made us human. The way we love in the twentieth century is as much an accumulation of past sentiments as a response to modern life."

Dianne Ackerman

History of Love


"History is an agreed-upon fiction."

Diane Ackerman


"Incidentally, we have lost two of the most vivid dimensions of past experience-color and odor. For us "classical architecture" means the chaste elegance of weathered marble. But in fact when the Parthenon was completed in Athens’ great age, it was a garish polychrome, more resembling the extravagance of a twentieth-century World’s Fair than our cliché of Greek elegance. And as we admire the venerable yellow patina of Amiens, Canterbury, or Chartres Cathedrals, we forget the original vision. As Le Corbusier reminds us, "The cathedrals were white because they were new. The freshly cut stone of France was dazzling in its whiteness as the pyramids of Egypt had gleamed with polished granite."

In the ages before running water and modern plumbing, the characteristic odors of bodies and places intruded in daily experience. The perfumes, today a dispensable luxury, were then a common necessity for pleasant conversation. It is not only automobiles that corrupt the atmosphere by their excrement. We easily forget that smog is the price of the freedom of our streets from manure, and from the flies and diseases it brought. The American industry in deodorant thrives, but where are the odors of the past?"

Daniel Boorstin

Hidden History



"The historian must have no country."

John Quincy Adams


"The aim of the historian, then, is to know the elements of the present by understanding what came into the present from the past, for the present is simply the developing past….the goal of the historian is the living present."

Frederick Jackson Turner


"….Many history teachers don’t know much history: a national survey of 257 teachers in 1990 revealed that 13% had never taken a college history course, and only 40% held a B.A. or M.A. in history or had a major with "some history" in it. Furthermore, a study of Indiana teachers revealed that fewer than one in five stay current by reading books or articles in American history. A group of high school history teachers at a recent conference on Christopher Columbus and the Age of Exploration gasped aloud to learn that people before Columbus knew the world to be round."

James W. Loewen

Lies my Teacher Told Me



"The more unintelligent a man is, the less mysterious existence seems to him."

Arthur Schopenhauer


"God cannot altar the past; that is why he is obligated to connive at the existence of historians."

Samuel Butler


"The first law for the historian is that he shall never dare to utter an untruth. The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true. Moreover, there shall be no suspicion of partiality in his writing, nor of malice."




"He who cannot see himself within the context of at least a 2,000 year expanse of history is all his life shackled to days and weeks. "




"There are two kinds of history; the history of politics and the history of literature and art. The one is the history of the will, the other, that of the intellect. The first is a tale of woe, even of terror: it is a record of agony, struggle, fraud, and horrible murder en masse. The second is everywhere pleasing and serene, like the intellect when left to itself, even though its path be one of error. Its chief branch is the history of philosophy. This is , in fact, its fundamental bass, and the notes of it are heard even in the other kind of history. These deep tones guide the formation of opinion, and opinion rules the world."




"A morsel of genuine history, is a thing so rare as to be always valuable."

Thomas Jefferson



"To be a really good historian is perhaps the rarest of intellectual distinctions."




"History repeats itself: that's one of the things that's wrong with history. "

Clarence Darrow



"In short, one may say anything about the history of the world -anything that might enter the most disordered imagination. The only thing one can't say is that it's rational."




"There is nothing new except what has been forgotten. About Faust Goethe wrote: "The work is like the history of the world and men, in which the solution of every problem gives rise to a new problem which needs to be solved."



"Nothing makes men so impudent and conceited as ignorance of the past and scorn for old books."




"During periods of crisis, positions which are false or feigned are very common. Entire generations falsify themselves to themselves; that is to say, they wrap themselves up in artistic styles, in doctrines, in political movements which are insincere and which fill the lack of genuine conviction. When they get to be about forty years old, those generations become null and void, because at that age one can no longer live on fictions. "

Ortega Y Gasset



"History is not a flimsy course of disconnected happenings devoid of duration, History has a memory of moments. Man may forget, history remembers. Man has often tried to destroy history, yet again and again the memory of history bursts forth seeking to repair the absurdity caused by brutality and suicidal tendencies. It is the memory of history that holds together despair and hope, defiance and promise, in spite of the passion to refute all hope."

ISRAEL an echo of eternity

Abraham Joshua Heschel



"History is irrational, young men. It has its own, and to us perhaps incomprehensible, organic structure. "



August 1914



"History grows like a living tree. And as far as that tree is concerned, reason is an ax: you'11 never make it grow better by applying reason to it. Or, if you prefer, history is like a river; it has its own laws which governs its flow, its bends, the way it meanders. Then along come some clever people who say that it's a stagnant pond and must be diverted into another and better channel: all that's needed is to choose a better place and dig a new river bed. But the course of a river can' t be interrupted--break it off only an inch and it won't flow any longer. And we' re being told that the bed must be forcibly diverted by several thousand yards. The bonds between generations, bonds of institution, tradition, custom, are what hold the banks of the river bed together and keep the stream flowing. "





If you reject the Middle Ages, the history of the West collapses, and the rest of modern history becomes incomprehensible. . .the spiritual life of the Middle Ages is more important. Mankind has never know a time, before or since, when there was such an intense Spiritual life predominant over material existence."


(Professor Ol' da Andozerskaia)



"Now in history there is no revolution that is not a Restoration. Among the many things that leave me doubtful about the modern habit of fixing eyes on the future, none is stranger than this: that all the men in history who have really done anything with the future have had their eyes fixed upon the past."

G. K. Chesterton

What's Wrong with the World

Sheed and Word N.Y.



"What is it sacrilege to destroy? The 'Metaxu' . No human being should be deprived of his 'Metaxu' , that is to say, of those relative and mixed blessings (home, country, traditions, culture, etc) which warm and nourish the soul and without which, short of sainthood, a 'human' life is impossible."


Simone Weil

Gravity and Grace



The presence of God in history is never conceived to mean His penetration of history. God's presence in history is sensed in the correspondence between promise and the events in the relation to God' s promise that testify to His presence."


ISRAEL an echo of eternity

Abraham Joshua Heschel



"Moses, tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, drove the flock into the wilderness, and came to Horeb. An angel appeared to him in a blazing fire out of a bush. He gazed, and there was a bush all aflame, yet the bush was not consumed. Moses said: "I must turn aside to look at this marvelous sight; why is the bush not consumed?" (Exodus 3: 1-3)

What is the relevance of Moses' vision? Buddha under the bodi tree awoke to the realization of the impermanence of the phenomenal world. Moses at the burning bush saw a permanence that defies destruction.

The amazement of Moses ; the bush was burning, yet the bush was not consumed. We too, walking in the wilderness, arrive at times at the mountain of God and see the whole world a burning bush, aflame with hatred, envy and murder--yet the world is not consumed. History is like a burning bush. Though each instant must vanish to open the way to the next one , history itself is not consumed. "

Abraham Joshua Heschel




"What man has done to man is the saddest chapter in the history of the world. "

The Legend.of the Wandering Jew

George K. Anderson



"Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes--our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking around. "


G. K. Chesterton



The Meaning of Europe by Denis De Rougement Stein Day publishers

1. Europe discovered the whole of the Earth, and nobody ever came and discovered Europe.

2. Europe has held sway on all the continents in succession, and up till now has never been ruled by any foreign power.

3. Europe has produced a civilization which is being imitated by the whole world, whilst the converse has never happened. These facts are so simple and obvious most historians have neglected them. The phenomenon of Europe is without precedent or parallel in history; and we shall never be able to grasp it in its dynamism, its significance and its general direction by starting from the physical and natural features of a small continent. "




It can do no harm to recall occasionally that the prehistoric evolution of the earth, as it is described for example in the early chapters of H. G. Wells Outline of History, was not merely never seen, it never occurred."



"Why should history alone among other modern sciences be privileged to explain all phenomena rationally?"


Pauwels & Bergier



"The essential truth is 'those who talk to us about facts have not faced facts at all.'

G. K. Chesterton


"In the year 1870, Victor Hugo was 68, Hans Andersen 65, Tennyson 61, Whitman 51, Tolstoy and Ibsen 42, and Nietzche 26. all were in the full flood of creation. The presence of this group of poetic prophets in the west at one moment is of . itself extraordinary. All were deeply religious, but in a new free manner, unconfined to any doctrine. All possessed a breadth and grasp, an immensity of view of time and space, which the discoveries of the new age for the first time made possible. And all in a very special way resumed and incarnated the spirit of their particular countries, reconstructing as it were, the heritage of each for survival in the age to come.

In the Gothic flowering such men would have been abbots or , churchmen , in the Renaissance painters and philosophers. Now they appeared primarily as writers, but as writers who, like Hugo and Tolstoy, could on occasion enter and act in the external world of politics and social reform, and who there appeared as of greater and not less stature than the professional politicians and statesmen.

One task of these men, in its effect on time, was curiously parallel to that of the scientists already mentioned. For it was to reshape the past of their own countries, and to make the past 'acceptable from a new point of view. ' A striking example is Victor Hugo's 'Notre Dame de Paris' . For in this book he not only evokes medieval Paris with uncanny reality, but he puts back into that Paris a humanitarian point of view which did not exist there. And he does this in such a way that the picture of medieval Paris is permanently altered-for all later men it becomes a compound of actuality and of Hugo' s reconstruction, and they can never undo his work. In the same way, Andersen reconstructed and permanently fixed a picture of pre-Christian Scandinavia, Tennyson reconstructed and permanently fixed a picture of Arthurian England, Tolstoy reconstructed and permanently fixed a picture of Napoleonic Russia, and Whitman reconstructed and permanently fixed a picture of Lincoln's America. In each Case the reconstructions was so grand, so all-embracing, and it corresponded so truly to certain attitudes of the new age that it was almost instantly accepted in preference to other memory. All these men, in one aspect, played the strange role of improving the past, that is, of making it acceptable to the present and the future, which belongs to all founders of an age. This extraordinary work, which every man who cultivated memory is forced to do in relation to his own life, they performed in relation to their countries. For this task of reconstructing the past is the first and essential step towards any real change in the future; and Karl Marx also realized when he prepared the way for bolshevism by reconstructing history on the basis of 'economic native' and 'class struggle' .But Hugo, Andersen and Whitman worked upon time in the reverse way to Marx. Instead of eliminating the ideals which actually existed and ruled in the past, and replacing them with the lowest human motives of greed and violence , as he did, they attempted to put back into the past higher ideals than had actually prevailed there, or at any rate ideals more comprehensible to the new age. Thus their attempt, whether successful or not, was to regenerate the past, whereas that of Marx, again whether successful or not, could only serve to degenerate it. "


The theory of Celestial


Rodney Collin



The remedy to national crisis is spiritual revival. This is the message of history. God rules over events.

Isaiah XI-lv



"What undergraduates want from their history teachers is an under- standing of how the American past relates to the present and the future. But if I teach what I believe to in the truth, I can only share with them my sense of the irrelevance of history and of the bleakness of the new age we are entering. ..Unlike every previous American generation, we face impossible choices...What, then, can a historian tell undergraduates that might help them in this new and unprecedented age? Perhaps my most useful function would be to disenthrall them from the spell of history, and help them see the irrelevance of the past. . ."


Prof David Donald


"What we need in a moment of national crisis is the stability which comes from a long view of history."

Raymond C. Harlan

AirForce Academy Instructor




"Do you know that history is full of evidence of hatred for the past, of a desire on the part of some men to destroy even the memory of their predecessors? Public monuments are effaced, names destroyed, histories rewritten. Sometimes to achieve these ends a whole intellectual elite may be slaughtered in order that the peasantry can be deliberately caused to forget its past. The important discoveries about the past have been made not so much through the present refined techniques of treasure hunting and grave robbery, but through the intuition of those whose faith in poetry led them to a scientific truth."

John Mitchell

The View Over Atlantis



"The illusion that "great men" create history is one of mankind's most sacred cows. And while there have been sporadic attacks upon this veneration, its companion illusion that "great" men of art and science create the culture of civilization has rarely been appraised, much less put where it belongs. Only an occasional Blake, Swift, Butler or Shaw has had the vision and enterprise to challenge this view."

James Wyckoff

Mesmer Prentice Hall Pub



"We propose that there is not one, but that there are two cultures, two realities, two "histories" that reveal the story of man. One is the orthodox, visible tale seen through subjective eyes, a linear, sequential story, gleaned through mere "information." The other, not so clearly visible, is simply what took place, seen not with, but through, a different set of eyes, a different "instrument" as it were, and reached through an understanding. "Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder." So does history, so does the culture of mankind. Who writes our history, who records our culture?

James Wykoff


"....Americans tend to live in a perpetual present, viewing the past as at best a diverting idyll, suitable for theme parks. In what other society is the word "history" used as an epithet, as in "You're history!"

Karl E. Meyer

The Dust of Empire


"One of the tragedies of man is that he continually makes it necessary to discover again what was already known for many years past. In keeping with the peculiar notion that if "science doesn't know it, then it doesn't exist," the diligent archaeologist dredges up the information that the Indian of the Western hemisphere was "in fact" a fine engineer, artist, mathematician; while the professor of medical science is now telling us that Indians and other "primitives" did "in fact" practice a "practical" medical therapy. These discoveries, however, are only discoveries to cultured man; the primitive  knew them already. What is this gross assumption that the cultured intelligentsia-the writers and artists, the scientific establishment are alone the arbiters and beacons of man's achievement? Just who do they think they are, these solons who rule upon what is "reality," what is "truth" and what is not? Who are they to demand from others a "license" to think, refusing ideas or data from sources outside the Academy of Boldface Initials?"

James Wyckoff 




"Unmourned and unstudied-here lies the contemporary uninterest in history and the refusal to study it. To hang on to this picture of innocence, you must deny history. For history is the record, among other things, of man's sins and evils, of wars and confrontations of power, and all the other manifestations of man's long struggle toward an enlarged and deepened consciousness. Hence so many of the new generation turn their backs on history as irrelevant; they do not like it, they are not part of it, they insist we are in a brand new ball game with new rules. And they are completely unaware that this is the ultimate act of hubris."

Rollo May

Power and Innocence


"No good modern historians are impartial. All modern historians are divided into two classes-those who tell half the truth, like Macaulay and Froude, and those who tell none of the truth, like Hallam and the Impartials. The angry historians see one side of the question. The calm historians see nothing at all, not even the question itself."

G.K. Chesterton

Lunacy & Letters



"The first step in liquidating a people, is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have somebody written new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was. The world around will forget even faster."

Hubl (Czech historian)



"All great historians were amateurs, as you know. up until Henry Adams' no great historian had any historical training, at least I don't know of any. Thucydides trained himself.. Everybody trained themselves. We enormously exaggerate the importance of professional and technical training at the expense of the literary, philosophical value of history."

Henry Steele Commager



"Lend me the stone strength of the past, and I will lend you the wings of the future. "

Robinson Jefferes


"History has the cruel reality of a nightmare, and the grandeur of man consists in his making beautiful and lasting works out of the real substance of that nightmare. Or, to put it another way it consists in transforming the nightmare into vision; in freeing ourselves from the shapeless horror of reality-if only for an instant-by means of creation."

Octavio Paz

The Labyrinth of Solitude


"One history passes by in full view and, strictly speaking, is the history of crime, for if there were no crimes there would be no history. All the most important turning-points and stages of this history are marked by crimes: murders, acts of violence, robberies, wars, rebellions, massacres, tortures, executions....This is one history, the history which everybody knows, the history which is taught in schools.

   The other history is the history which is known to very few. For the majority is not seen at all behind the history of crime. But what is created by this hidden history exists long afterwards, sometimes for many centuries, as does Notre-Dame. The visible history, the history proceeding on the surface, the history of crime, attributes to itself what the hidden history has created. But actually the visible history is always deceived by what the hidden history has created."

-P.D. Ouspensky

A New Model of the Universe


'And I came into the fields and wide Palaces of Memory."




"The fanatics and the hallucinated create history"

Gustave Le Bon



"Mothers who love your children, do not set them too soon to the study of history; let them dream while they are young. Do not close the soul to the first breath of poetry, "

Edward Laboulaye


"History is worth knowing, historians believe, because the past happened, and our race is possessed by a spiritual necessity to try to understand all that was or is. As for the the molding of it, most historians have an equal future and the molding of it, most historians have an equal conviction about the study of history. From the Kaleidoscopic and iridescent record of mankind, we can learn chiefly this: the possible range of human thought, emotion, organization, and action is almost infinite. In facing today's problems, we must therefore liberate ourselves from presuppositions as to what may or may not be possible. Knowledge of history frees us to be contemporary . "


Lynn White Jr.

Dynamo and Virgin Reconsidered

M.I,T. Press




"Students of history don't revolt. They know that every generation has its problems and its setbacks. They know that we make progress slowly, but we do make it. They know history. It's the students who study English or art who have been unreasonable. They don't understand history."

S.I. Hayakawa

(quoted in Pearson's syndicated column American Press)


"History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker's dam is the history we make today."

-Henry Ford 1916


"You all remember," said the Controller, in his strong deep voice, "You all remember, I suppose, that beautiful and inspired saying of our Ford’: HISTORY IS BUNK. History," he repeated slowly, " is bunk." He waved his hand; and it was though, with an invisible feather whisk, he had brushed away a little dust, and the dust was Harappa, was Ur of the Chaldees; some spider webs, and they were Thebes and Babylon and Cnossos and Mycennae. Whisk. Whisk-and there was Odysseus, where was Job, where were Jupiter and Gotama? Whisk-and those specks of antique dirt called Athens and Rome, Jerusalem and the Middle Kingdom-all were gone. Whisk-the place where Italy had been was empty. Whisk, the cathedrals; whisk, whisk, King Lear and the Thoughts of Pascal. Whisk, Passion, whisk, Requiem; whisk. Symphony; whisk…." That’s why you’re taught no history, The Controller was saying."

Aldous Huxley

Brave New World



"Time discovers truth."



"Our version of history tends to emphasize Western Civilization as having been the center for the development of human knowledge. It presents European society as the light that brought the rest of the world into the modern age. Actually, there were many societies, such as that of ancient China, that were far more advanced before and during the centuries when Europe was plunged into the backward and superstitious Dark Ages. It was actually a vast influx of knowledge from the Arab world that finally brought Europe out of the Dark Ages."

John Richard Stephens

Weird History 101


"History repeats itself, but only in outline and in the large."

Will & Ariel Durant



"To understand a man, you must know his memories. The same is true of a nation."

Anthony Quale


"For it is history alone, without involving us in actual danger, that will mature our judgment, and prepare us to take right views, whatever may be the crisis or the posture of affairs."



"No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it."

Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist


"History must stay open, it is all humanity."

William Carlos Williams


"There is no history of mankind, there are only many histories of all kinds of aspects of human life. And one of these is the history of political power. This is elevated into the history of the world."

Karl Popper

The Open Society and its enemies



"World events are the work of individuals whose motives are often frivolous, even casual."

Gore Vidal

Rocking the Boat



"History records the names of royal bastards, but cannot tell us the origin of wheat."

Jean Henri Fabre


"Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all; the conscientious historian will correct these defects."

Herodotus (484-425 B.C.)


"In our schools today, the story of our nation has been replaced by social studies-which is the study of what ails us now. In our churches, the effort to see the essential nature of man has been displaced by the social gospel-which is the polemic against the pet vices of today. Our book publishers no longer seek the timeless and the durable, but spend most of their efforts in a fruitless search for -la mode social commentary-which they pray will not be out of date when the item goes to press. Our merchandisers frantically devise their new year models, which will cease to be voguish when their sequels appear three months hence. Neither our classroom lessons nor our sermons nor our books nor the things we live with nor the houses we live in are any longer strong ties to our past."

Daniel Boorstin


"What is human life worth unless it is incorporated into the lives of one’s ancestors and set in an historical context."




"Man is a history-making Creature who neither repeats his past nor leaves it behind."


W.H. Auden



"History is a contest between art and war, and art plays the part of Sisyphus."

Will Durant




"More History’s made by secret handshakes than by battles, bills, and proclamations."

John Barth

The Sot-Weed Factor




"For everything is history. What was said yesterday is history, and what was said a minute ago is history. But, above all, one is led to misjudge the present, because only the study of historical development permits the weighing and evaluation of the interrelationships among the components of the present day society."

Claude Levi Strauss



"All great events have been distorted, most of the important causes concealed, some of the central characters never appear, and all who figure as so misunderstood and misrepresented that the result is a complete mystification. If the history of England be ever written by one who has the knowledge and the courage, the world would be astonished."

Benjamin Disraeli


"Who has fully realized that history is not contained in thick books but lives in our very blood."

Carl Jung

   "According to Augustine, history is the account of God acting in time. Human history reveals that there are two kinds of people: those who live according to the flesh in the city of Babylon and those who live according to the spirit in the City of God. In other words, humanity is composed of individuals who live entirely according to their selfish inclinations and individuals who live according to the Word of God. The former will endure eternal hellfire, the latter eternal bliss."

 A History of Western Society Vol I: Antiquity to the Enlightenment


"Concealment of the historical truth is a crime against the people."

Gen. Petro G. Grigorento (Samizdat letter to a history Journal 1975 USSR


"We regard history as something dead and gone. We live in the fingernail of the present, and fail to realize how this cripples us. At best, we think history is six thousand years old, something involving humans only, most of it irrelevant. We have convinced ourselves that our ancestors all tried to be like us, but failed. We think they too would-if they could-devote themselves to a machine world, a bigger and bigger GNP, and a continent filled with consumers."

Brian Swimme

The Universe is a Green Dragon



"To forget the past! What can this really mean, other than to deprive ourselves of infinite power? The universe desires to break through into human form, but we cripple ourselves, insisting upon living in a fingernail’s edge of our true heritage. We are just like some ignorant oak tree who insists upon ignoring all the efforts of the past, setting out to make its own leaves and own form. Impossible."

Brian Swimme


"….whosoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever will be, animated by the same passions, and they necessarily have the same result."



"History moves too slowly-it needs a push."

Andrei Zhelyabov


"The present is something that binds us. We create the future in our imagination. Only the past is pure reality."

Simone Weil


"…The Icarians who lived only in the mind of Etienne Cabet, or the Freelanders who dwelt within the imagination of a dry little economist, have had more influence upon the lives of contemporaries than the Etruscan people who once dwelt in Italy, although the Etruscans belong to what we call the real world, and the Freelanders and Icarians inhabited-nowhere."

Lewis Mumford



"Nowhere may be an imaginary country but news from Nowhere is real news."

Lewis Mumford


"Is ours a historical age? Or are we beyond history, because too much has happened and there is no longer a theme? Or is the theme hidden, and we are at the beginning of a passage to a new phase of history, when much of what now seems like mere chaos will become clear?"

Robert Kaplan

The Ends of the Earth


  "The end of history" looks like this: Under the benign tutelage of the super-power, the differential in wealth between the richest and poorest countries-which had been about 3 to 1 at the beginning of the industrial revolution and roughly 30 to 1 at mid-twentieth century-has grown to the stunning proportions of 100 to 1. As a result, large swathes of the world-Central Africa, Northwestern South America, Western Asia-are decaying like so many gangrenous limbs, and in the process, spawning pestilence, unspeakable violence, and fundamentalist terror. The dominant system is so awash in Enronic corruption as to yield an annual "Gross Criminal Product" estimated at a trillion dollars. The United States executive, meanwhile, has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the oil industry, just in time to begin waging the endless wars of the twenty-first century over the control of energy resources, though in the name of battling terror."

Joel Kovel

The Enemy of Nature


                                          EEK! Popular History!

                                       By Max Boot   Wall Street Journal Oct 23,2002

   "David McCullough's "The Path Between the Seas, "published in 1977, remains the definitive account of the building of the Panama Canal. It is as evocative as it is exhaustive. Yet a leading College textbook-"America in the Twentieth Century" by Frank Burt Freidel and Alan Brinkley-damns Mr. McCullugh's achievement with these faint words of praise: "A lucid popular history of the building of the canal."

   This odd description was noted in a recent newsletter of the Historical Society by John Lukacs, himself a distinguished scholar who has won considerable acclaim for such books as "The Duel" and :"Five Days In London." "Popular history?" What kind of nonsense this is, "Mr. Lukacs snorted in derision. "The Path Between the Seas was not only well written; McCullough's research, reading, and scholarship were largely faultless."

   And yet professional historians felt compelled to deride it-only in a university is "popularity" a term of abuse!-simply because David McCullough holds no faculty appointment and writes books that reach a large audience. To Mr. Lukac's unerring critical eye, this represents the height of self-defeating snobbery.

   I thought of Mr. Lukacs's essay upon haring, this week, of the death of Stephen Ambrose, whose obituaries invariably referred to him as a "popular" historian. That he was, although he was a latecomer to that distinction. He spent most of his career at the little-known University of New Orleans, where he was by all accounts an inspiring teacher and dogged scholar. 

   It was only in the last decade of his life that Ambrose found a wide following. His history of D-Day-timed for the 50th anniversary-flew off the shelves and so did his next book, a recounting of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Thereafter he churned out bestsellers like Microsoft churns out Windows upgrades. The once-obscure professor became rich and famous-one might say an overnight celebrity, if you ignore the previous decades of hard, fairly anonymous toil.

   This might have been a feel-good story, were it not for the sad coda of the past year. Ambrose stood accused of plagiarism, or borrowing the words of others while omitting the requisite quotation marks. He acknowledged some sloppiness, but claimed no intent to deceive-an argument buttressed by the fact that his endnotes did mention his sources.

   I have no desire to pass final judgment on this controversy. But I do wish to address the larger question here. For Ambrose's perceived failings-and those of another best-selling author, Doris Kearns Goodwin-have brought the gotcha squad out in full force. From the ivy-covered parapets one hears gleeful chortling over "popular" historians brought low.

   Yet academics are in no position to cast stones. In the past year, Michael Bellesiles, a professor at Emory, has been accused of fabricating the research behind his history of colonial gun ownership, "Arming America"-a far more serious charge than anything of which Ambrose was accused. Joseph Ellis, another academic star, albeit one who has also found a home on best-seller lists, has admitted to fabricating a Vietnam War record.

   The larger sin for which the historical profession must be indicted is not falsehood but, worse, triviality, faddishness and irrelevance. Picking up the latest issue of the American Historical Review, one sees titles regurgitated from the maw of academia: "Masturbation: The History of a Great Terror." "America's Airfields: Airfield Development . 1918-1947, "Holding Up More than Half the Sky: Chinese Women Garment Workers in New York City, 1948-92."

   I do not mean to pick on these books. For all I know they represent fabulous scholarship on the cutting edge of intellectual inquiry. But that's precisely the point-I don't know. I'll never know, and I bet you never will either, because we're not going to read these books. No one is, outside the author's immediate family and fellow experts in the fields of "masturbation studies" or "airfield history'.

   And therein lies the problem. Unreadable history books foster ignorance of history. I recently spent a day at an Ivy League campus, where a professor informed me that entering students- the creme de la creme of our leading prep schools-think that the Middle Ages began in 1 A.D. This accords with the finding of surveys which show that college students can't place the Civil War in the correct century. All this ignorance-at a time when we have more professional historians than ever before. It might lead a disinterested observer to wonder just what we, as donors and taxpayers and tuition-payers, are getting for our money.

   Academic historians are apt to reply that their work is too "sophisticated" for Joe Paper- back. But the work of authors such as David McCulloough, Paul Johnson, John Keegan, Simon Schama-and, on his better days, of Stephen Ambrose-gives lie to the myth that good history can't be good business. Perhaps that's why "popular" historians are so hated by, well, unpopular historians."

Max Boot  (a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is the author of "The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power" Wall Street Journal  October 23,2002



Hindsight into the Future

A History of the Past, Part II

Compiled by Anders Henrikson (from choice insights found in students papers over the years. In the hands of these young scholars, the past truly does become a foreign country) copyright 2000 by Anders Henrikson From the secondary sources we are given hindsight into the future. Hindsight, after all, is caused by a lack of foresight.


Civilization woozed out of the Nile about 300,000 years ago. The Nile was a river that had some water in it. Every year it would flood and irritate the land. There was Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Lower Egypt was actually farther up than Upper Egypt, which was, of course, lower down than the upper part. This is why we learn geography as a factor in history. Rulers were entitled Faroes. A famed one was King Toot. It was a special custom among them not to marry their wives.

Mesapatamia was squiggled in a valley near the Eucaliptus river. Flooding was erotic. Babylon was similar to Egypt because of the differences they had apart each other. Egypt, for example, had only Egyptians, but Babylon had Summarians, Acadians and Canadians, to name just a few.

The history of the Jewish people begins with Abraham, Issac, and their twelve children. Judyism was the first monolitichic religion. Old Testament profits include Moses, Amy, and confusius, who belived in Fidel Piety. Moses was told by Jesus Christ to lead the people out of Egypt into the Sahaira Desert. The Book of Exodus describes this trip and the amazing things that happened on it, including the Ten-Commandments, various special effects, and the building of the Suez Canal. David was a fictional character in the Bible who faught with Gilgamesh while wearing a sling. He pleased the people with his many erections and saved them from attacks by the Phillipines.

Helen of Troy launched a thousand ships with her face. The Trojan War raged between the Greeks and the Tories. We know about this thanks to Homer’s story about Ulyses Grant and Illiad, the painful wife he left behind. Sparta demanded loyalty, military service and obscurity from its citizens. King Xerox of Persia invaded Greace, but fell off short at the battle of Thermosalami. Alexander the Great conquered Persia, Egypt, and Japan. Sadly , he died with no hair. Religion was polyphonic. Featured were gods such as Herod, Mars and Juice.

The Greeks were important at culture and science. Plato invented reality. The Sophists justified themselves by changing relatives whenever this needed to be done. Lust was a must for the Epicureans. U. Clid proved that there is more than one side to ever plain. Pythagasurus fathered the triangle. Archimedes made the first steamboat and power drill.

Rome was founded sometime by Uncle Remus and Wolf. Roman upperclassmen demanded to be known as Patricia. Senators wore purple tubas as a sign of respect. Slaves led existances of long and ornery work. Spartacus led a slave revolt and later was in a movie about this. The Roman republic was bothered by intestinal wars. Ceasar inspired his men by stating, " I came, I saw, I went." He was assinated on the Yikes of March, when he is reported to have said, "Me too Brutus!"’

The Romans had smaller, more practical brains than the Greeks. Stoicism is the belief that you should get through life by baring your troubles. The warmth and friendship of the mystery cults attracted many, who came to feel better through dancing and mutilations. Certain cultists followed Diane Isis, the godess of whine. Christianity was just another mystery cult until Jesus was born. Eventually Christian started the new religion with saying like, "The mice shall inherit the earth." Later Christians fortunately abandoned this idea. Romans persecuted Christians by lionizing them in public stadiums.

A tidal wave of Goths, Huns, Zulus, and others impacted Rome. Athena the Hun rampaged the Balkans as far as France. Society was crumpity. Neo-Platonists celebrated the joys of self-abuse. When they finally got to Italy, the Australian Goths were tired of plungering and needed to rest. A German soldier put Rome in a sack. During the Dark Ages it was mostly dark.

Medeval monarchy was tuile. Charlemagne used the ‘missi dominici"(Latin for "missles of the king) to inflict government on his people. England’s Henry II acquired new parts by marrying Ellenor of Equine. Society was arranged like a tree, with your nobes in the upper twigs and your pesants grubbing around the roots. This was known as the manorial system, where land was passed through fathers to sons by primogeuflecture. Power belonged to a patriarchy empowering all genders except the female. Nuns, for example, were generally women. In the early part of the Middle Ages female nuns were free to commit random acts of contrition and dedemption. Later they were forcibly enclustered in harems. Margo Polo visited Kukla Kahn, who rained in China at the time

Russia was run over by Batu Cohen and crushed under the Mongol Yolk. Certain tribes of India practiced voodoo innuendo. The Crusades, meanwhile enlarged opportunities for travel.

Kings resented Popal authority. This caused the so-called Divestiture Controversy and led to the Bolivian Captivity of the Church. The Council of Constance failed to solve this even though Constance herself tried very hard. John Huss refused to decant his ideas about the church was therefore burned as a steak.


Historians today feel that the renaissance was the result of medevil people being fertilized by events. Italy was pregnant with huge ideas and great men. Machievelli, who was often unemployed, wrote the Prince with Richard Nixon. Ivan the Terrible started life as a child, a fact that troubled his later personality. This was a time when Europeans felt the need to reach out and smack someone. Ferdinand and Isabella conquered Granola, a part of Spain now known as Mexico and the Gulf States. Columbus came to America in order to install rule by dead white males over the native people.

The Catholic church sold indulgences as a form of remission control. Lutherans began to meet in little churches with large morals painted on their walls. Martin Luther King stood for the priesthood of all relievers. John Calvin Klein translated the Bible into American so the people of Geneva could read it. Most Prodestants objected to holy communication. Henry VIII survived an assault from the Papal bull. Phillip II tried to force religious monotony on his empire. Henry Bourbon married Edict of Nantes and became King of France. With the promise to reconnstipate the country to Catholicism. The highlite of the Catholic Reform was the Council of Trend, which decreed that if a man did not believe in the birth of the earth he would go to Hell.

There was an increase in climate during the 18th century. Agriculture fed more people as the crop yields became lower. These were factors in the better times to come. The Scientific Revolution developed a suppository of knowledge which greatly helped later generations. Copernicus showed that the solar system rotates around the earth. Sir Isaac Newton invented the Newton. Locke taught that life was a fibula rasa.

The American colonists lived on a continent and England was an island. Thus the Americans wanted independence. Benjamin Franklin, already famous as inventor of the light bulb, persuaded French King George III to help the USA.

The French Revolution was like a tractor. It gave people the understanding that you need change in order to make tracks in the world. The Third Estate was locked out of its motel and had to do its business on a tennis court. Another problem was that France was full of French people. Revolters demanded liberty, equality, and fraternities. Fraternity breeded pride in the nation and therefore thicker political boundaries. In 1799 , Napoleon performed a coo. Napoleon fertilized all his life.

The industrial Revolution was slow at first due to the lack of factories. Great progress was made through the introduction of self-acting mules. Telephopes were not available-communication went by mouth to mouth or telegram. The airplane was invented and first flown by the Marx brothers. Europe was disrupted by the faste paste of change. The social structure was Upper Class , Middle class, Working Class, and Lowest poor Scum. Nobles claimed to be descended from better jeans. British paternalists were motivated by "noblesse oblique." Certain members of the lower middle class exhibited boudoir pretentions. The slums became brooding grounds for lower class unrest.

In Russia, the Decembrists attempted a coup du jour. Mazzini was a conservative liberal socialist who founded a revolutionary group known as "little Italy". Pope Leo XIII is known as the author of Rectum Novarum , a book of conservative ideas. Another man to influence the state and others was Kark Marx, who advanced diabolical materialism. His ideas are about revoution, condos, and supermen intrigued many.

Nineteenth-century women wore frilly hats day in and day out unless they had a special activity to engage in. In 1887 and surrounding years, it was unheard of to openly express yourself in private. Sex in this period was a very quiet ordeal. Prostitution, considered to be the world’s oldest profession, got its beginnings in the 19th century. Feminists argued that sex outside the family would make you go blind or lose your memory. Leaders of the women’s movement included Florence Nightengail, Susan B. Anthony, and Crystal Pancake.

Burt Einstein developed the theory of relativism. Marie Curie won the Noel prize for inventing the radiator. Writers expressed themselves with cymbals. Cubism, splattterism, etc. became the rage. There was a change in social morays.

European countries were growing dramatically and instead of spilling onto each other they had to go elsewhere. Another reason that the governments of European nations tried to take over other lands was so that they could gain so-called "cleavage". Most English believed in the missionary position. Admiral Dewey sank the Spanish Armada in Vanilla Bay. The Russo-Japanese War exploded between Japan and Italy. Infestations of gold in South Africa led to the Boar War between England and Denmark

Germany’s William II had a chimp on his shoulder and therefore had to ride his horse with only one hand. The AustroHungarian Compromise was the result of a defeated Austria combing with Hungary. The German takeover of All-Sauce Lorrain enraged the French, who clamored for vendetta. The Triple Alliance faced NATO Europe grew fevered with heated tensions thrusting toward an outlet. In 1914 the assignation of Archduke Ferdman gave sweet relief to mounting tensions.

The deception of countries to have war and those who didn’t want one led the countries of Europe and the world to an unthinkable war which became thinkable. The Germans used the "Scleppen Plan" to surprise France by attacking through Bulgaria, which is not far from Paris. Austria fought the Snerbs. Unressurected submarine warfare led the Germans to sink the Titanic and thus bring the USA into the war. Florence of Arabia fought over the desert. Military technology progressed with ideas such as guns which would shoot genrally straight. New war techniques caused massive deaths, and today in the 20th century we are used to this war-fair.

After the war the great powers tried to cut military spending by building enormous navies. The Wiener Republic was nobody’s ticket to democracy. Economic problems were caused mostly by falling prices, a problem we now recognize as inflation. J.M. Keynes tells us there is no existence between big government and business. When the Davy Jones Index crashed in 1929 many people were left to political incineration. Some, like John Paul Sart, retreated into extra-terrestrialism. The Spartacist revolt was led by a man and woman named Rosa Luxemburg. Hitler believed in a Panned Germany and therefore insisted that Czechoslavia release the Sedate Germans into his care. England’s rulers vanely hoped for "peas in our time," but were completely foddled by Hitler. Lennon ruled in Russia. When he died, the USSR was run by a five man triumpharate-Stalen, Lenin, Trotsky, Menshevik, and Buchanan. Stalin expanded capitalism by building machine tractor stations. When things didn’t go as planned, he used the peasants as escape goats.

Few were surprised when the National League failed to prevent another world war. The perverbial chickens laid by the poor peace treaties after World War I all came home to roast. The Germans took the by-pass around France’s Marginal Line. This was known as the "Blintz Krieg." Japan boomed Pearl Harbor, the main US base in southern California. The Russians defended Stalingrad fiercely, as the city was named after Lenin. The allies landed near Italy’s toe and gradually advanced up her leg, where they hoped to find Musalini. Stalin,Roosevelt, Churchill, and Truman were known as "The Big Three" Hitler, who had become depressed for some reason, crawled under Berlin. Here he had his wife Evita put to sleep, and then shot himself in the bonker.

World War II became the Cold War, because Benjamin Franklin Roosevelt did not trust Lenin and Stalin. An ironed curtin fell across the haunches of Europe. Berlin was airlifted westwerd and divided into pieces. Israel was founded despite the protests of local Arabs known as Zionists. The Marsha Plan put Europe back together with help from Konrad Adenauer, a French leader whose efforts led to the creation of the Communist Market. Many countries signed the GNAT Agreement. The roll of women has greatly expanded also. Famous women since the Second World War are Queen Victoria and India Gandy.

The British Empire has entered a state of recline. Its colonies have slowly dribbled away leaving only the odd speck on the map. Mohammed Gandi, for example, was the last British ruler of India. In 1921, he cast off his Western clothes and dawned a loin cloth. This was a good way to get through to people. The French Empire, on the other hand, fell into total term-oil as they clutched painfully at remaining colonies in Argentina and the Far East. South Africa followd "Apart Hide" , a policy that separated people by skin colour. Actually, the fall of empires has been a good thing, because it gives more people a chance to exploit their own people without outside interference.

The USSR and USA became global in power, but Europe remined incontinent. Wars fought in the 1950s and after include the Crimean War, Vietnam, and the Six Minute War. President John F. Kennedy worked closely with the Russians to solve the Canadian Missile Crisis. Yugoslavia’s Toto became a non-eventualist communist. Hochise Min mounted the power curve in Viet Nam. Castro led a coupe in Cuba and shocked many by wiggling his feelers every time there was trouble in Latin America. This required the United States to middle in selected bandana republics during the 1960s . Mentally speaking, Russia had to reinvent itself. Gorbachev became top Russian after the death of Leonel Bolshevik.

The historical period ended shortly after World War II-III, We, in all humidity, are the people of currant times. This concept grinds our critical, seething minds to a halt.



Copyright 2000 by Anders Henrikkson, a professor of history at Shepherd College, is the author of the Tsar’s Loyal Germans: The Riga German Community, Social Change , and the Nationality Question 1855-1905 (1983) His first history of the past, "Life Reeked with Joy" (WQ Spring’83), was one of the Wilson Quarterly’s most widely reprinted articles . He would like to thank the scholars who contributed examples of student bloopers, especially Professor James Greenlee at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada, for his annual "Cretinalia Historica." Wilson Quarterly Winter 2000

Editors note: Don’t laugh these are the smart ones!


Book: "The Dynamics of World History" by Christopher Dawson

Book: "On History" by Eric Hobshawn

Book: "Reflections on History and Historians" by Theodore S. Harrow

Book: Long Shadows: Truth, Lies and History" by Ema Paris

Book: "Why Do Ruling Classes Fear History" by Harvey J. Kaye

Book: "The Atlas of Human History" by Renzo Rossi

Book: "The Dawn of Universal History: Selected Essays from a Witness of the Twentieth Century" by Raymond Aron

Book: "The Encyclopedia of World History, Revised Sixth Edition: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern, Chronologically Arranged" Ed. by Peter N. Stearns

Book: "Rediscovering History: Culture, Politics, and the Psyche" Ed. by Michael S. Roth

Book: "Non Campus Mentis: World History According to College Students" compiled by Anders Henriksson

Book: "The Encyclopedia of Ancient History" by Charlotte Hurdman et. al.

© 2001




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