Historians on History

9780807050217Today the Falmouth Public Library hosted their Narrative Non-Fiction group, which featured the book Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo. Eight Cousins was on hand to sell Puleo’s books after the event so I had the good fortune of listening to his talk. He spent most of the hour answering questions, but the final question elicited an impassioned discussion on the importance of history, especially of teaching history. It’s always interesting listening to writers talk about writing, but today it was fascinating listening to a historian talk about history. Puleo talked about the necessity for history teachers to infuse a passion for history into their lessons. History often becomes bogged down with dates and events that mean little to students, but history is, as Puleo stated, a story. History is not simply events, but how those events came to be, the decisions that led to those events, and the lasting influence that those events had. Dark Tide, for example, isn’t simply about the Molasses Flood, but incorporates the people whose decisions affected the flood and the change in regulations that were later introduced because of it. Each moment is a piece of a larger narrative.

What a great idea for a reading group. If you’re interested, the next meeting is January 4th 10-11am at the library. The group will be discussing Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

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One thought on “Historians on History

  1. I just had a conversation yesterday on this same topic. History is the questions we ask and attempt to answer about the past.

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