Remember, the title of this blog section is “Random Stuff We Like” so I am going with the “randomosity” (a word I think I made up) of that title with this entry…
I like history. Always have. I think that history is so important in how it helps us to understand who we are, how we got where we are, and even help us with planning our future. Not to sound cliched, but we can (and should) learn so much from history.
One of the great side benefits of traveling and taking photos of places and architecture is that you get to explore, and many of the places you explore are of some historical interest. Walking up the well worn stone steps of the Acropolis in Athens for instance, it takes very little imagination to hear the voices and sounds of the people who did exactly what you are doing, thousands of years ago.
Unfortunately, I think we all suffered through history the way it was presented in school, be that grade school or university, or both. It was presented as a bunch of names and dates that we were forced to memorize and these things had seemingly no real connection to our lives today. They were often events that happened in far away places and long ago and had no real “human” quality to them, no way to relate to those people and events.
That is why it is so exciting when you find an author who tells history in a way that not only allows you to relate to the the events and the people who play a role in those events, but makes you feel like you are there.
Erik Larson is one such author. I have read several of his books and have enjoyed his telling of the events in each of those books. The one I have read lately (just finished it today) and have enjoyed the most, is called Isaac’s Storm. It is the story of the hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas on September 8, 1900.
The way the story is told, the pace, his style, the bits of information he includes almost as asides that help to flesh out the time period and the people in it, is wonderful. All history should be presented this way.
The book, of course, can be found in your local bookstore or online and will not disappoint you in the way it pulls you into the story of the deadliest hurricane in history. That makes it a perfect entry for “random stuff we like…”