Facts, Dates, Great Deeds, Battles: All Just History Now

In the Daily Express, Dalrymple offers support for Education Secretary Michael Gove’s proposed change in the teaching of history:


Those who take history are now taught a peculiar version of it, often without any chronological framework on which to add any new information they may acquire. They are not asked to learn facts upon which a later opinion might be based, they are asked to imagine what it was like to be a fishwife in the 17th century, or some such, without having any grasp of the major political or other events of the period.

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Narrative history is important because, without a sense of it, the past has no significance. And if the past has no significance the future has none and the present, being the near future’s recent past, is likewise deprived of significance. All that is left is a shallow, meaningless life in which you drift from moment to moment in search of amusement. If nothing anyone else has done is important then nothing that you can do is important.

NOTE: Link has been fixed.

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