Dedicated to my father: Michael Waldron
This one is for you dad
This Queen Book Buff loves the past. I was raised at the knee of a man who loves history. One of my favorite memories of my father is him and I watching war movies together. A childhood spent learning about events from long ago from my father turned me into a Queen History Buff. My dad once told me that history was not just facts but human stories. I clearly remember standing in Lincoln’s tomb, and my dad telling me the story of Lincoln’s life. That one statement has stayed with me, and changed how I look at history. It has long been my thought, that we do a disservice to all those who came before us if we don’t read their stories. They changed the future for us. All those who came before paved the road for us today, and when we don’t study the past and take a minute to realize that these were real people with lives and they had people they loved we make a mockery of what they did for us. History is not just silly facts in a textbook but the texture that makes us humans. So this blog is about histories that should never be forgotten and books that have done an excellent job of bringing those stories to life.
The Diary of Anne Frank, Night, and Lucky Child- These three books chronicle lives forever changed by the Holocaust. One life ended to short and two spared from death but not spared from the horrors of the Nazi death camps. I cried in all three of these books, as their words brought to life the worst that humans can do to each other. A friend of mine asked me why I would want to read books on such a horrible topic and I said “When we don’t face the horrors of what we have done to each other, it is easier for us to repeat it” Human Compassion and the will to live is a powerful thing. The stories of Anne Frank, Elie Wiesel and Thomas Buergenthal are painful to read but they are stories that must be told. The Holocaust should never be forgotten. Of all the books I have read in my life, these three touched and changed me more than any other.
Truman, 1776, John Adams- So you think you know history? Well no one knows it like David McCullough. If he chronicles a time in history it is the most comprehensive history you can possibly get. He brings to life Truman and John Adams. You find yourself walking through life with two men long dead, and long since thought has presidents not men. John Adams was a very outspoken and considered a very unconventional thinker. He challenged everything and everyone. This country would not be where it is today without him. Truman was a regular guy. He was honest and he had to deal with a lot in his presidency, McCullough brought him back to life. After reading Truman, he became my second favorite president (no one trumps Lincoln). I long have disliked and did not care for the Revolutionary War Era histories, until I read 1776. All I am going to say is I have much more respect for the men who fought for our country to be free.
Civil War: A Narrative Volume 1, 2, and 3- Again my father is responsible for my love of the Civil War. I remember with stunning clarity watching The Civil War Documentary by Ken Burns with my dad on PBS. While watching the documentary, I asked my dad” Who is that guy they keep talking to with the southern accent?” My dad looked at me and said ‘That is Shelby Foote, he wrote the most comprehensive history of the civil war.” My dad was so right. Shelby Foote was THE go to guy about the civil war. His three books on the civil war are stunning master pieces’ telling the story of the deadliest war this country has ever seen. His three volumes are my favorite chronicles of any period of history. I cried when Mr. Foote died.
The Killer Angels- I know this book is a work of historical fiction but I would be remiss not to mention it. This book brings to life the men who fought the battle that changed the Civil War, it tells the story of Gettysburg. If you read this book, you will want to know about the war that changed America forever.
I could go on and on about books that tell the stories of this world and our country. I could quote famous historians, and tell you why they are great, but I can’t write forever. Put aside what you think you know about history. Put aside boring teachers and dry facts and open yourself to events and people who lived lives and did things that helped us be who we are today. We can’t turn our backs on events that helped shape us. People have died for peace, freedom, and the idea of a certain way to live. People have fought for women to vote, civil rights, freedom from oppressing countries, and for the world to be a better place. People have sacrificed their lives to help bring an end to tyranny, people have given their lives to save others since the being of time, and their stories deserved to be remembered and honored. History is our story, a human story and we can’t ignore it.