If it is in a history book you can trust it. Right? No. I’m afraid not friends, we can’t trust anything without qualification. Historians have been tasked to accomplish an impossible task of reconstructing the past. Once we shed the myth of actually making the map equal the territory and we reset our expectations, history comes alive, it transforms a simple recounting exercise into a hunt for a lost records, a sleuthing out of a series of flawed and biased stories about past events, a study in human nature, and a opportunity to test the limits of the historical record.
In this part of the podcast episode we continue our discussion by talking about the reliability of different sources as well as a thorough introduction to the problem of human memory (it is much, much, much, less reliable than you think) and finally rounding out the topic with each panelist sharing why they are interested in studying history as much as they do.
Here is Part 1 of this discussion.
Also some links to items discussed in the episode: