Education


The History Boys

Many years ago, the head of the history department at my school was lecturing the pre-university class. Suddenly the door of the classroom burst open and the junior history master rushed in.

"You bastard!" he screamed. "You've been sleeping with my wife."

Within moments there was chaos. Blackboard dusters - the old wooden-backed ones - were flying. The two men were wrestling on the floor.

And then, suddenly, it stopped. The two men stood up, turned to the twenty-two very frightened boys, and told them: "Write down what happened." Unsurprisingly, they got twenty-two conflicting accounts.

"Now," said the head of the department, "what do you make of your primary sources?"

It is thanks to this lesson that I know that absolute historical truth does not exist, except in the mind of God - and of course, in the imagination of the historical novelist!

 

Did You Know?
After World War I, a movement began to commemorate unknown fallen soldiers with a single tomb. On November 11, 1920, two years following the Armistice that ended the war, both France and the UK buried the remains of soldiers whose bodies couldn’t be identified. The British soldier was chosen from one of four who’d been exhumed from different battlefields in France, and transported back to England. This Unknown Warrior is to be found at Westminster Abbey in London. The French Unknown Soldier lies at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. In 1921, a similar monument was set up at the Arlington National Cemetery in the US. There are similar tombs in 58 countries at last count.




Welcome
Please choose your regional preference: