“I am growing increasingly fearful that our history is being lost to time…As time goes by and new generations come through our public schools, history will continue to fade. It just doesn’t seem to be a priority anymore. Most schools teach kids only to memorize dates and places and names. In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. We no longer take the time to understand the why and how of anything because of the exaggerated importance placed on the where and when.”
Glenn Beck, Kevin Balfe, and Hannah Beck retell twelve stories from American history from the Revolutionary War through killing Osama bin Laden. I have always felt that people didn’t become engaged about history until they were older. That’s how it happened with me. Perhaps that is because of the way history is portrayed and retold. I can remember my high school ancient history teacher who was also (mainly) the football coach. Date, dates, and more dates to memorize and regurgitate on the test. I cannot remember a skilled story teller as a history teacher. In Miracles and Massacres the authors tell the tales as one might retell it around a campfire or in a short story. They admit to creating dialogue that may not be completely accurate as records are limited in many instances. The bibliography that follows proves their extensive research done to achieve historical fact.
One of the interesting stories that I had read about before was the battle between beloved Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse for domination of the electric market. Edison backed direct current while Westinghouse felt that alternating current was better. This story is a great example of how “taught” history paints an incomplete picture. People may have edges that ordinarily aren’t revealed.
I found this book to be extremely well written and readable. This is the type of history book in which you can read to your children. I hope that its success fosters others to do the same or many sequels.