I really enjoy studying history. I’ve moved around time and the globe delving deeper into Mycenaean influences beyond Greece and studying the nuances of one particular commander who has been maligned in the Battle of Gettysburg. Every time I think I might find some historical event boring, I run into some fascinating element that grabs my attention.
I would never consider myself a professional historian. I would certainly never claim that I was capable of writing a history book for use in a public school.
Just for the fun of it, however, let’s say I did write an elementary school history book. No school board would be stupid enough to buy it, right? I suppose that would depend upon what the school board wanted history to be.
In Virginia, as in most of the country, school boards are popularity contests that have virtually nothing to do with academics. They were so eager to rewrite the history of the US Civil War, they adopted a school history book written not by a historian, but by Joy Masoff who wrote the “correct” history and backed the position up with links to something she happened to run across on an Internet website. She did no fact checking. She didn’t look into the claims to see where they got their “facts”. It’s on the Internet, so it must be true! (*If a student of mine tried something like that on a term paper, I would have them rewrite it.)
Then the school board, which managed to find the history it happened to like, didn’t bother to run it past any actual historians. After all, it’s written in a book, it must be true!
Since it looks like I’ll have some spare time away from Windy Investments, perhaps I should write history books. The first step will be finding out what some school board would like to hear. The rest is easy. Just Google for the information and quote the first source I find.
* The Internet is a poor to fair resource for scientific research, but has been getting better. Google Scholar allows me to find materials that, just a few years ago, would have required out-of-state trips to university libraries. No one in their right mind, however, would take a basic Google search and assume that all of the results are Gospel.