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why I didn't study history

Reader comment on item: Historians Run Amok

Submitted by rw (United States), Apr 4, 2017 at 21:26

When I had the choice of whether to study to history some 40 + years ago (school in Scotland means high school not university), I was presented with a list of reasons for studying history and asked to place them in order of importance. Now, I was very interested in history; although living in Scotland, I am English, and the history of England was something as a 15 year-old I knew a lot about; I was also studying Russian language, so anything to do with Russia was also of interest . . . and it was very obvious to me that the reason for studying the past was to make sense of the present, much as stated by the Prof. Collingwood quoted by Ferguson in your reference. \

My ordering of the list was therefore in line with that basic premise. The answer that the history teacher gave, his reasons for studying history, was almost the exact inverse of mine. Therefore I did not study history; instead I did Physics, which for me was pretty much a waste of time. (Eventually I did study some history because my degree is in English Language and Literature, study which at that time was historically based.) All very strange.

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