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Commentary On History: Personal Testimony.

September 22, 2016

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”  Sir. Winston Churchill.

The personal testimony of  a history nerd.

I shall begin this series of commentaries on history by discussing my interest and love of the whole aspect of human story; which really is all history is but the story of humanity at it’s best, worse, and ugly. I cannot imagine a moment where I decide to never like or read or research this very human story of humanity. I think the moment I discovered the first book of history I was hooked and had no intention of ever not indulging.

The beginning of this terribly wonderful obsession with the past and it’s countless stories began in my Freshman year of High School; Valencia High School, Fullerton, California. His name was Mr. Cyrus, the cause and reason for my obsession. He taught ancient history, I was hooked at the names of those ancient civilizations of  the Sumerians, Chaldeans, Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and those pesky Jews. I’m sure other lesser remembered cultures were mentioned but these were the main ones. He made the subject fascinating, made it interesting, made it worth becoming a life-long love affair with the past and it’s countless stories.  The beginning of the story of my amateur  historian status began with a simple introduction to the past. But I do wish I could go back in time and thank Mr. Cyrus for introducing me to history. Mr. Cyrus by the way, seemed very found of Persian History; lol.

Though to be fair to the future historian I became I didn’t really get going until I moved to Orlando, Florida. This was after spending two years on the island of Okinawa; sadly and stupidly I had yet to get into World War Two history. There I was on the last island fought for during the Second World War and I don’t recall ever really realizing the full impact of that. I lived on the island where over 20,000 U. S. Marines would give up their lives, where 77,000 to 110,000 Japanese died for the defense of that island; where 40,000 to 150,000 where killed, from April 1, 1945 to June 22, 1945. It was a long bloody battle and for a guy just into history it didn’t register to be that interested quit yet. Quit possibly I was still too much into ancient history. But for two years I lived on that wonderful and bloody history of an island. I would eventually discover E. B. Sledge’s book, “With The Old Breed.” His memoir’s of his combat on Peleiu and Okinawa. At that moment I was hooked on World War Two; then came “Typhoon of Steel: Battle for Okinawa” by. James, William Belote. Excellent books. I would discover used book stores once I got to Orlando, Florida and it would be a saving grace and wonderful discovery of all those books. And so began the creation of the First Library; it would be the smallest of the three libraries with under a thousand books by the time I moved to Minnesota. I discovered the Bantam and Jove War book series and I was off to the history races at least toward World War Two history anyway; strangely I had not discovered the American Civil War quit yet. I probably did some reading, but I remember my focus was on just the Second World War. I suppose and am certain I read other books that mildly interested me or looked interesting. History for those Orlando, Florida, years, (1981-1992), was not a primary obsession quit yet. It was getting there but it wasn’t the primary and all-around enjoyment of my life yet. I would discover the historian Micheal Grant and discover all those wonderful books on the Roman and Greek World and it’s Mediterranean World as a whole. I discovered Christopher Hibbert’s books and found more history to be fascinated with. Yet I was still more interested in the Second World War. I discovered many authors to whet my growing love of history; both secular to religious to Christian history was becoming a wonderful obsession and new to find more and more books for my growing personal library. How can anyone not like history!

I slowly toward the ending of the Florida years did I discover an interest in the American Civil War; not sure why it took so long but it did. I still remember the very first Civil War book I read, Stephen Sear’s “The Landscape Turned Red: The Battle Of Antietam.” Great book, all his books are great. I read more on the subject once I moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, (1992-Present, with a few side trips to other places); the first state to volunteer for the American Civil War. I discovered books on all sorts of aspects of the war and all that history just absolutely fascinates me; all that human life and actions and consequences of that terrible war. Once I discovered the books of Stephen Sears, Bruce Catton, Jeffrey Wert, and so many others I was hooked on the subject more than the Second World War; it’s great. How could it not be great to be hooked on the greatest subject called the human story. All those lives and stories and events, that is why history is so great and wonderful to study. Eventually I pretty much would and will read anything that deals with history. I discovered a Military History Group that still meets every fourth Wednesday at Barnes-Noble; this month’s book, “The Luftwaffe: Creating The Operational Air War, 1918-1940” By. James S. Corum. Have heard the story of a survivor of the USS Indianapolis, a soldier who fought on the Russian Front, (14th Infantry Division, Motorized. 14th Artillery Regiment), even the son of Nikita Khrushchev. All quit great and interesting and why history is important. History is for me so much fun; what isn’t there fun about the subject of the human story on all levels; common foot soldier of Joseph Plumb Martin to General George S. Patton, jr. I wish history was taught as it use to be and that would be as a human story and not some politically correct attempt to create reasons for social justice. History is so much more than what is being taught anymore. If I had been going to school today, I doubt I would care about history as I do. The lives of the ancient’s are  just as important as the lives of today.

“We are not makers of history, we are made by history.” Martin Luther King, jr.

REFERENCES/RECOMMENDATIONS

The Complete Works Of Micheal Grant. (Jewish, Greek, Roman, etc historian).

The Complete Works Of Victor Davis Hanson.

The Complete Works Of Christopher Hibbert.

The Complete Works Of Bruce Catton.

The Complete Works Of Stephen Sears.

The Complete Works Of Jeffrey Wert.

Bantam War Book Series.

Jove War Book Series.

World War Two Library.

The Sumerians. By. C. Leonard Woolley.

The Philistines: Their History And Civilization. By. R. A. S. Macalister.

The Philistines: The History Of The Ancient Israelites Most Notorious Enemy. By. Charles R. Editors.

The Babylonians: An Introduction. By. Gwendolyn Leick.

The Jews From Cyrus To Herod. By. Norman H. Snaith.

Hellenistic Civilization And The Jews. By. Victor Tcherikover.

Jews, God, And History. By. Max I. Dimont.

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the writer.

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