The Problem with History Books

Ok, History used to be one of those subjects in High School that I loathed. I wasn't much of a history buff, I didn't really care much about what happened in the past, mostly because I was very much a dreamer and mostly spent my time in the here and now. Or rather, some daydream that couldn't possibly exist.

Sometimes I'm still very much like that.

Anyway, that changed my Sophomore year of highschool, when I took American History and for some reason, how the teacher taught it, I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned muchly. Mostly because I actually absorbed what I was learning. Funny how not a lot of people liked this teacher because of his method of teaching wasn't very popular, but it clicked with me.

Still, I won't claim to be much of a history buff, because most of what you learn about history is either not entirely accurate or the basis of the historian who wrote the book you're reading's agenda. So sometimes crucial facts to be regarded are conveniantly left out.

Therefore, I haven't always been a huge fan of history and still am not. True, I like to learn about things from the past in small doses, but I've learned you can't entirely trust your source 100% of the time.

Well, anyway, I still have an interest in history and while ordering Lileks' latest book "Mommy Knows Worst" (Hilarious! Buy it!) on Amazon, I wanted to get something so I wouldn't have to pay for shipping with it. So I ordered the Politically Incorrect Guide to American History to get my 25 bucks and hence free shipping.

When I get both books in, my NCOIC (who's a major history buff, and yet a Democrat) asked to borrow the Guide while waiting for me to finish Lileks. He had it for a couple of days but found some misconceptions in it himself, as he said that there was an obvious conservative agenda with the book. I told him that I agreed that there probably was, but that's when you use history books to balance each other out. Such as this one. Besides, I've always taken history books with a grain of salt, especially if you find an error within it.

I still wanted to give the book the benefit of the doubt, as maybe there is some spin on it, it should at least give me some facts or maybe just trivia in general that I can use.

Well, I started reading it, thought it was interesting myself, until I came to the chapter about Clinton. In one of the headings under this chapter it goes into detail about Clinton's escapade while in office. Sure, I don't deny any of this happened, except when I got to page 243 in regards to the dillema of the Balkans, where he points out how Yugoslavia seperated peacefully at first with Slovenia, and then violently with the seperation of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzogovina, and 'the city of Kosovo'.


Having lived here for the last ten months, I know first hand that Kosovo is not a city. Its a province, like a state. There is no city or town that I know of within Kosovo that is itself named Kosovo (like New York, New York). Hmm, this strikes me as similar as the City of California, or Texas. Or even the city of Massachussetts.

True, maybe its just a small typo, and not even that big of a deal, but Damn! If you find something like that right away that you can debunk from first hand knowledge, you wonder what else is wrong with the book! Grr, that's frustrating. Maybe I shouldn't look into it. I guess I can still read it to get an idea of history from a different point of view then the usual history book, but still. It's frustrating.

You find one thing you can contradict, and it throws the entire thing out of whack. That's the true problem with History books.

Oh well, so far it has still proven to be interesting. I wouldn't condemn it just yet, but to rather use it as a balancing point with other history books to get the whole story, not just part.

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