Friday, March 1, 2013

Reading History

My grand daughters have been reading fiction for years.  They have just started reading history books. They have learned not to spoil a book for each other by talking about the characters and their problems at the dinner table.  They want to preserve the mystery.

Last week, one grand daughter started talking about Aaron Burr at the dinner table.  Her sister piped up, “Don’t ruin it!”

I’d never thought about history as a plot to be protected by book covers, only to be discovered anew by each diligent reader.  History was a subject of debate at my childhood and parenthood dinner tables.  What was Aaron Burr thinking? Why did he think his actions were for the good of himself and / or the country?  And what was Alexander Hamilton thinking when he wrote those angry newspaper articles about Burr?  And why did either man think a duel was the way to solve their problems?

And did they know that hundreds of years later, my grand daughters would nearly come to a duel when one tried to talk about their story before the other one had read it?

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