Friday, July 20, 2007

What this is all about...

“Any time gone by was better.”

-Jorge Manrique

While pondering what I would write in my very first blog post, I came across this very interesting quote. Truer words have never been spoken. It seems like everyone longs for the “good old days.” Whether the “good old days” means last week, last year, or hundreds of years ago are completely up to the individual. Time has a way of hallowing events, as the ability to create nostalgia is in every human being. For me, the love affair with history has been a long one. Raised by a father who has an unparalleled knowledge of sports trivia, I learned at an early age how to pick up on important names, dates and events. With a firm foundation in sports, my passion for history increased as I gained more and more schooling. The American Revolution, Greek mythology, and Biblical history were all subjects I became quickly interested in. I was somewhat ridiculed in elementary school (although not too harshly) because I used to spend my free time reading the encyclopedia. As a red-blooded, meat-eating American, military history always used to peak my interests. As I progressed in school, I was introduced to new and more exciting historical peoples and events. I became very interested in medieval times, and was fascinated by the unique culture of the Egyptians. This education continued in high school, where I first had the thought of a potential career in history. The class was World History, and it was in this class that I first delved into the depths of ancient history. Great cultures like the Sumerians,


the Medes and the Persians,

the Greeks,

the Romans,

and the Ottomans

were all extremely captivating. My hunger for knowledge was insatiable, and it only kept growing.

My very first college history course was U.S. History After 1877. I was amazed at how much more excited I was about learning than I had been just months before. If I had any doubts about my switch, they were all swept away by my sophomore year and Civ. Western Civilization is a required course at Oklahoma Baptist University that integrates the learning of history and literature, one that has almost reached mythical proportions. I had heard everything from “Civ is the best class ever” to “Oh my God I hated Civ.” I honestly did not know what to expect. By the end of it, I think I would have to pick the first quote. Civ not only gave me a new respect for history, but also a newfound respect for literature and its place in culture.

If there is an opposite of ADD, I’m fairly certain I have it. When I get on something, whether it is a TV show, or a sports team, or a subject in history, it has my full attention. Such is the case with my latest obsession, the Civil War. I was enrolled this past spring in “Civil War and Reconstruction.” I enjoyed the class a great deal, and was very intrigued to go into more depth than time allowed us to in class. Having already decided I was going to live in Florence, Alabama for the summer, I knew I would probably have a lot of free time on my hands, so I decided to build up a mini-Civil War library. So far this summer I have read six books on the Civil War, mainly biographies on Confederate generals, and am almost done with a seventh. Already one of my friends has told me he thinks I’m going to be an expert Civil War historian one day, an idea I’m quite fond of actually. The knowledge I have gained this summer is quite fascinating, and will be the subject of at least a few numbers of posts that I will do in the near future.

The objective of this blog is to share my love of history (and sports) and hopefully to stimulate the thoughts of my readers into creating a passion for the past (or increasing an already present passion). Hopefully my readers will come to realize the history is actually better than fiction. I heard that recently in an episode of Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History (which I recommend, although you should be prepared for a William Shatner-esque speaking style) and could not agree more with it. How can you top some of history’s greatest events? It is impossible. From the pyramids to Hannibal crossing the Alps, from Alexander the Great conquering the known world to the assassination of Caesar, these are the things movies are made of.

Don’t worry, if history isn’t your thing I will also be doing a lot of writing on sports, the other main passion of my life. Feel free to suggest any topics you would like me to write about and I’ll see what I can do.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Nice job on the blog. I like the history aspect. Also well done on the black back ground. All the light/white background just make mye eyes hurt when trying to read them.

I didn't know you enjoyed the civil war that much. Living in PA, I became somewhat enamored with Gettysburg. Going into even single platton movements in battle. I loved it and walked the battle field on more than one occasion.

you should do a gettysburg post.

Mark J.