We all learned about American history in junior high (or middle school) and high school. But how much do you remember? How much did you pay attention to at the time? Unless you are a history buff or majored in history college, chances are not much. After all, American History was that boring subject you were forced to learn, but you doubted it would have any relevance to your day-to-day life as an adult. But that’s where you were wrong.
Everything we are dealing with right now, from racial equality to states’ rights to patriotism, is what this country has had to deal with repeatedly. And the reason for that because no one learned from the history of what happened in the past.
There is a reason for this quote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” ~ George Santayana
And they don’t learn it because people don’t know about the history and don’t learn from past mistakes and successes.
One of the pluses of being a family genealogist is learning the history of what was going on when our ancestors were alive.
But it’s not too late to learn. I have found some great sources that help that learning process while also being “entertaining”:
“America The Story of Us”; a 12 part documentary from 2010 by the History channel. I found it on Amazon Prime https://www.amazon.com/America-The-Story-of-Us/dp/B07BX8K5GS, but you can get it from the History channel https://www.history.com/shows/america-the-story-of-us
To mirror that, I highly recommend John Jakes’s series of books, The Kent Family Chronicles, about American history; you can get these as an ebook on Kindle, on Audible, in paperback or hardback versions.
I read the books first and then watched the documentary, but you do it the other way around or watch the documentary, read the books, and watch the documentary again.
Other sites to learn more about it:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_United_States (which will take you to lots of other links)
https://www.thoughtco.com/american-history-4133354 (not in chronological order but lots of interesting stories)
https://www.loc.gov/collections/?fa=subject:american+history (historical documents and photographs)
https://www.infobase.com/product/schools/american-history-online-3/ (I’m still exploring this site, but so far, it looks good.)
Books and movies I would also recommend:
Don’t Know Much About History https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Know-About-History-Anniversary-ebook/dp/B08K92SCMQ/
Book and Movie
North and South by John Jakes
Dances with Wolves
Last of the Mohicans
The New World
The Rebels (based on the book of the same name by John Jakes)
12 Years a Slave
Burying My Heart at Wounded Knee
Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower
Far and Away
Gangs of New York
Gods and Generals
Little Big Man
Ride with the Devil
And wonderful documentaries:
4 thoughts on “Don’t Know Much About History”
I have learned so much about history ironically after I graduated college. There were several moments where I was furious what I didn’t learn then like Black Wall Street, Bacon’s Rebellion, the Congolese Genocide, The Devil’s Punchbowl, or various individuals in this world.
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I agree. I learned most about history after leaving college. I still am….
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Glad you can relate. It’s good that you’re still learning. Any particular examples of history stand out to you that you learned after college?
Probably political history. This topic was rarely touched on during high school or college.