Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My History of Reading History Books

In a previous post, I wrote about my early reading of science fiction books and how this experience led me to my current reading patterns. Science fiction books were not the only tomes that I read in my early years, however. I also did a lot of history reading.

Unlike science fiction, which I read less frequently these days, I still devote a fairly large percentage of my reading to history. In fact, my current interest in the American Revolutionary period dates back to my youth. Some of my earliest history reading was on this subject.

As I moved into adolescence, my curiosity about history expanded into new areas beyond the Revolutionary era.  Like many young people, much of my interest began to center around World War II and, to a lesser extent, other military conflicts. A fair amount of my reading even involved military history. As I got older, I became less interested in accounts of generals, armies, strategies and tactics. With that, the politics, sociology, human costs, etc. surrounding World War II and other conflicts is still a fascinating subject to me. 

I also delved into other subjects as diverse as the histories of Great Britain, Poland, Russia, China, the Indian subcontinent, natural and human made disasters, the history of science, certain industries and more. No matter what my interest were at the time, I would always gravitate to a book about the American Revolutionary War era.  

My interest has not been constant. I do recall a time, only a few years ago, where I became so interested in literature that I refrained from history books for several years. Nevertheless, the pull back to humanity’s past was strong enough to bring me back in. 

In the past few years, I have been particularly interested in biographies of the people involved in America’s founding. I have also gotten a lot from books that dig into the philosophical and sociological movements of the time. Authors such as Gordon Wood and Bernard Bailyn have interested me lot.

Readers of this blog know that I am also intrigued by many other historical subjects. These days, about half of my history reading is devoted to the American Revolutionary era. However, I read all sorts of history books on a wide variety of topics. Like other areas of reading interest, time is the great obstacle here; I am interested in more subjects than I have time to devote to them. 

I hold a Bachelor of Arts in History, but it is through personal reading that I have really shored up my knowledge. I think that in order to understand our current world and to appreciate so many aspects of diversity in such areas as politics, social issues, literature, science, etc., a good grasp of history is indispensable. My interest in our past has impacted my thinking on so many of these subjects. 

The roots of my interests in history go back a long way. Though the areas of my interest within the broad subject of history have somewhat changed, the core of my interest still exists. The seeds that were sowed early have yielded a fertile crop.