Letter to the editor: Fuller picture of who we are, past and present, available


To the editor:

As an Anglophile, I started to read Mr. Franke’s recent column, “The Anglo-Saxon Heritage,” with interest.

Unfortunately, he starts his editorial with the flawed comment, “Back in the day when history was honestly taught …”

If someone wishes to have a fuller understanding of history, the inclusion of social history and new archaeological and historical discoveries over the last few decades can only add excitement and a better understanding in this joyous quest.

For example, the 2012 discovery of 15th century Richard III’s remains under a modern parking lot answered questions posed by Shakespeare and others more interested in currying favor in a post-Plantagenet environment. (Yes, he really did have a misshapen spine.)

Likewise, now we learn more about the roles of women and people of color throughout history. This provides us with a much better understanding of how people of all socioeconomic classes lived, worked and other factors that played a part into the decisions they — and the major historical figures we previously only heard about — chose to make.

History is fascinating, and I hope more of us embrace the new information we’re learning about our ancestors that makes them so much more relatable. After all, doesn’t it make the contributions of our country’s founders even more remarkable knowing their considerable flaws? If they can transcend jealousy, mistrust, exhaustion and more, then we can, too.

There are many wonderful books and educational outlets (see: Nebula and CuriosityStream) with thoroughly documented scholarship out there that can show us a fuller picture of who we are, past and present.

Here’s a sample list of recent historical scholarship:

“Hunting the Falcon” by John Guy and Julia Fox (This fast-paced, relevatory book details the courtship between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, including newly released primary documents.)

“Eyeliner” by Zahra Hankir (The journalist delves into history and culture to show how eyeliner can symbolize resilience, joy, defiance and individuality throughout the world.)

“The Wrath to Come” by Sarah Churchill (Churchill argues against cancelling the early 20th century bestseller but presents a frank assessment of the effect “Gone with the Wind” continues to have on the Lost Cause mythology.)

Bonnye Good, Seymour

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