How To Read History

When you get right down to it, all history, whether written by the winners or the losers, is fiction. Aside from pinning a date to an event or producing written documentation, there is little else that anyone can say, unless in autobiography, about anyone's motivations, and even there we have to consider the source. So, unless you're planning a career as an historian, you might as well stick to actual fiction.

Once upon a time I thought that perhaps I might have a career as an historian, so I've read lots and lots of actual histories. But you know what I remember? These:

And that's just a sliver of shaved ice from the actual berg. When it comes right down to it, historical fiction was and still is what makes reading actual history fascinating for me. I'm currently reading , an actual history with so many characters, battles and dates that I keep a timeline and a few genealogies bookmarked online for easy reference. But what really nails this history down is reading the Philippa Gregory series she calls The Cousin Wars. I've just finished and went right into . Once I meet a well-researched character walking and talking, I remember who she is, and who her relatives are, and where and how they died. The first battle of St Albans? I don't know the real story of Queen Margaret and Edmund Beaufort, but now I remember that he fell there, fighting his way out of a tavern. And I suspect ... nevermind. I'll tell you all about them later. I have to finish all the books first.