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History Repeating

10 January 2013

Here’s something unsurprising — I’m fascinated by the history of war.

I know. Coming from the guy who skips Bourbon Street in favor of the National World War II museum in New Orleans, this isn’t exactly breaking news. It’s a pretty safe bet, though, that I know a lot about, say, World War II.

And that’s what I think, too, until I find a new source of information. I never really thought too much about the Americans fighting in Northern Africa early in the war, because we really don’t teach that part in schools and popular culture (because we Americans weren’t doing well at all). Then I stumbled across Ken Burns’ The War, which pretty much puts that part right up front in the first episode.

(Side note: Keith David should probably narrate every documentary ever.)

The first time I went to the World War II museum in New Orleans, I was kind of surprised by how much I didn’t know about the war in the Pacific. Sure, I knew the broad strokes, but again, we don’t cover that part of the war in schools and pop culture as we do the European theater. It’s much easier to see World War II as America vs. The Nazis, because as people we like stories, and that fits pretty well into a story form (while managing to be completely inaccurate). Thankfully, there’s a ton of info at the National World War II museum — I really can’t recommend that place enough.

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So, I’m a war history buff, and I love finding out that there are things I don’t know. Being given an opportunity to learn something new? That’s about one of the best presents you can get yourself.

So what period in history fascinates you? What are the best sources you’ve found on that part of history so far? What’s something most people don’t know about that point in history?

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