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do you believe official history book?





Cliffer
do you believe official history book?
if without official history book,how people can know true history? can people really know true history?
Kopernikus
Cliffer wrote:
do you believe official history book?
if without official history book,how people can know true history? can people really know true history?


What do you define as "official"?

Thereīs in science, especially history, always a sort of consensus regarding events. Normally you canīt take issues with dates and facts. Like the date of a battle or of a disaster. OTOH you can and do discuss what ramifications exist for that fact, like what does the destruction of the three Varus Legions mean for the future development of Europe....

Historians all the world over are a lot more sceptical reagarding their "official" sources today, than they were a hundred years ago. History tends to be the history of the winners. So the other viewpoint is sometimes very hard to find.

And thereīs always the distortion from your own culture, when you look at something past. I donīt think we can understand how a celt felt, when he walked through his drumeton or even how a 17th century peasant looked upon the paintings of a church. What I think we can do is kind of "distill" out of history some statistical laws, which show the limitations and required circumstances for certain events. As an Example, you need a certain amount of food to support a citylike settlement, you cant grow a town in a desert.

So, if you mean by "official" the consensus of the majority of historians, yes, I believe we can at least mostly trust that as a best effort to understand.
If you mean that the sources are governmental, I have my doubts Wink
Ophois
History books, on the whole, are slanted to favor the country that prints them.
For recent history, there are many archives of video, newspaper, diaries, and other forms of records kept which you can sift through in order to get a fairly clear picture of things. Even a few hundred years ago there was news print, but it was basically in it's infancy as far as mass production and distribution, so it was very biased, and they made no attempts to hide that bias. So be careful about reading "official documents" from historical archives.

Previous to the last few centuries or so, trust in science as your key to history. Look at geological records, examine artifacts from site digs, and compare historical records from different places. If Ancient Empire 'A' has a written document saying that they were invaded by Ancient Empire 'B', try to find correlating information in the written records and physical evidence of Ancient Empire 'B'. If there are artifacts from 'B' in the geographical region of 'A' such as weapons, bones that have signs of violence, etc., then it's a good bet that the written record of 'A' is correct. Also try to find third party evidence, that is much more solid. Use the internet too, there's a wealth of information on here, but do your research and check your sources thoroughly.

Using only a history book to learn history is like using Lego's to learn how to build a house. The general ideas are there, but so much is missing or just plain wrong. That's why history books get updated every few years, after some science department digs up some new evidence.
BinahZ
"History" is a product of the powers that be and their bias.
For example much of our western cutlure "history" lies within the control of the Catholic church.
History must be approached with a open mind and multiple sources to even begin to have a glimmer of truth in reporting.
deanhills
BinahZ wrote:
"History" is a product of the powers that be and their bias.
For example much of our western cutlure "history" lies within the control of the Catholic church.
History must be approached with a open mind and multiple sources to even begin to have a glimmer of truth in reporting.
Agreed. Not only "powers at be and bias", but time changes all the time, and so do our perspectives. For example during the late forties and fifties and the "cold war" period when there was a witchhunt going on of communists, people were completely into the threat of communism. Right now when that history is reported, it is seen as a great hysteria.
nilsmo
History books have a certain degree of credibility because their authors have consulted many sources, and evaluated them critically for accuracy. Many of these sources are secondary sources, which themselves are products of painstaking evaluations of other secondary and primary sources. A history textbook is in effect a product of lots of fact checking by many historians throughout time. Ah, the wonders of activity Smile

Similarly, Wikipedia has a certain elevated degree of credibility, particularly for articles that many people (including experts) have edited and read. Big controversial articles on Wikipedia (such as Global warming) I therefore trust very much.

A problem with my reasoning (particularly for history books) is if the work is not fact-based but subject to taste. Then a large part of a history book can be unreliable "spin" made by the authors. Facts on the other hand are either true or false, important or unimportant, so they can be "filtered" reliably by the process of fact checking I described.
lagoon
It is only through peer-assessment that academics decide what is credible or not. There is no 'official'.
Kopernikus
lagoon wrote:
It is only through peer-assessment that academics decide what is credible or not. There is no 'official'.


Agreed Smile
My only bone with that is that truth is seldom democratic...

And even in physics, the classical "hard science" there are factors like credibility or a kind of "fashion" which influence the accepteted view heavily. Even more so in the "soft sciences" like history.
pelatros
Actually I dont believe the everything in the official history books. because mostly countries see the history only from their side because of that sometimes they skip some important points even if that points are very important for the human history.. it's better to read alot of things from different writers and see the opposite ideas of the same subject. so in that time people can see all the opinions and see and understand the real results of history..
Betboy
NO! idon't believe in it! some offical history book just fake!
Kopernikus
lagoon wrote:
It is only through peer-assessment that academics decide what is credible or not. There is no 'official'.


Oh, yes, what I forgot on my last post: What would you call the version of history children are thought in school?
Cliffer
1.Have we to know history?

2.Have we to know real history?
Baka_Desu
Some history books are just full of beliefs and others are factual. I guess its up to common sense to decipher the two.
SonLight
The more "official" a history is, the less I believe it. While academics may study forensically to discover the probable and reject the highly improbable, the history as seen by the average person is quite biased.

When I was in High School, I disliked history as a subject, partly because it was taught in a very boring way and partly because I knew it was biased to reflect mostly what made our country/state/whatever look good. When I began to study historical events on my own, I realized it is a vital subject, but it is necessary to examine the controversial points of view in order to understand it. The main reason the high school history was boring was because the books presented most people acting from relatively pure motives and never examined contradictions.

We are very fortunate that in the US (and many other countries) all historical points of view are presented. Nevertheless if you want to get a reasonable approximation to the truth, you have to study a bit.
Kopernikus
SonLight wrote:
The more "official" a history is, the less I believe it. While academics may study forensically to discover the probable and reject the highly improbable, the history as seen by the average person is quite biased.

When I was in High School, I disliked history as a subject, partly because it was taught in a very boring way and partly because I knew it was biased to reflect mostly what made our country/state/whatever look good. When I began to study historical events on my own, I realized it is a vital subject, but it is necessary to examine the controversial points of view in order to understand it. The main reason the high school history was boring was because the books presented most people acting from relatively pure motives and never examined contradictions.

We are very fortunate that in the US (and many other countries) all historical points of view are presented. Nevertheless if you want to get a reasonable approximation to the truth, you have to study a bit.


Well, thereīs always a kind of "orthodoxy" in the science of history.

I remember, being a child and reading about the ancient mayas, they were portrayed as somber philosopher kings, calmly measuring the time with their calenders and living peaceful, meditative lives...

ok, a little off target, but accepted orthodoxy in this time nonetheless.

Today thereīs a growing realisation, that you have to read between the lines of "official" history texts, meaning here, history written or endorsed by governments in any capacity.
azoundria
Quote:
When I was in High School, I disliked history as a subject, partly because it was taught in a very boring way and partly because I knew it was biased to reflect mostly what made our country/state/whatever look good. When I began to study historical events on my own, I realized it is a vital subject, but it is necessary to examine the controversial points of view in order to understand it. The main reason the high school history was boring was because the books presented most people acting from relatively pure motives and never examined contradictions.


I was exactly the same way. Well said.

History should never be about memorizing facts or dates or information. It should be an active topic to discuss and debate how or why things turned out certain ways. It's only in that way can we get the one true long-term benefit of a history lesson - not repeating it.
Kopernikus
azoundria wrote:
Quote:
When I was in High School, I disliked history as a subject, partly because it was taught in a very boring way and partly because I knew it was biased to reflect mostly what made our country/state/whatever look good. When I began to study historical events on my own, I realized it is a vital subject, but it is necessary to examine the controversial points of view in order to understand it. The main reason the high school history was boring was because the books presented most people acting from relatively pure motives and never examined contradictions.


I was exactly the same way. Well said.

History should never be about memorizing facts or dates or information. It should be an active topic to discuss and debate how or why things turned out certain ways. It's only in that way can we get the one true long-term benefit of a history lesson - not repeating it.


Youīd be a little handicapped if you tried to learn history without facts or dates.
history is about the sequence of events, about the development of situations. People who say "I donīt bother with dates" normally donīt have a clue about historical processes...

How would you, for instance grope the importance of the anglo-saxon kingdoms in england, if
you didnīt know when alfred the great lived and when william the bastard invaded?

I agree, that we should examine the motives and personalities of important historical figures much more closely, but it is important that the treaty of versailles came before WWII
History is definitely not only about dates but they are important, of only to sort events into a semblance of order, to understand cause and results, to know that pyramids in southern america arenīt even in the same ballpark as the pyramids of egypt.
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