I am a history graduate, but that means nothing. My general historical knowledge is better than some but distinctly average compared to most!
If you haven’t been watching David Dimbleby’s “Seven Ages of Britain” on the Beeb, I suggest you do. It is a very concise history of our country – the most recent episode featuring the Tudors. David Dimbleby, like me, believes the teaching of History in this country is atrocious. The vast majority of the population, at most, know nothing between the Tudors and Hitler. This country, despite its very dubious political motives throughout, has such a rich tapestry, a completely fascinating narrative. We are so lucky! Unlike the Eddie Izzard description of our American Cousins who “tear their history down man!”
My current project is the first of three books based during the English Civil Wars. The political agendas aside, the period is one of the most brutal and interesting I have ever come across, lending itself perfectly to boys fiction of war, weapons and wizards! How many teenage children studying history, scrap that, how many ADULTS know anything about this hugely important era in our own country?! My knowledge, I am ashamed to admit, is not as detailed as it once was, or as detailed as I would wish; it is somewhat localised to the village where I grew up as my Grandad’s farm was built for one of Cromwell’s generals. But so much of our modern culture and tradition is set from this time onwards. It is one of the most devastating periods of our history which is in danger of being lost to the dusty pages of rare book archives.
I urge you now, one and all, to go and discover something, anything, new about your history that you did not learn at school. Go to the library, Google it, dare to flick on one of those digital channels you usually skim past to get to the movie section! Go onto the BBC website and order this FREE Open Univeristy Booklet:
Just don’t let the British education system win in belittling our heritage!
The next episode of the Seven Ages of Britain is on this Sunday at 21.00 BBC 1 and is on “The Age of Revolution”; enjoy the battles between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers and gain a short understanding of why this happened and how we came to execute our own monarch. (I have seen a printed copy of Charles I’s death warrant and the General who had first owned my Grandad’s farm, Major General Harrison, is one of the more prominent signatures!)
Please, for me, watch, read, grasp. And then hopefully, one day in the dim and distant future, you will appreciate my Civil War series!