INTERVIEW-REBECCA MAXWELL

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My past interviews have been with bloggers that focus on political blogging. However, it is impossible to truly comprehend current events without have a basic understanding of history. Indeed, much of the solutions to our current problems, can be found in the records past. My favorite history blogger is Rebecca Maxwell from My Adventures in History. Here is my interview with her.

TM-How did you become interested in history?

RM-I've been interested in history for a very long time. I remember history being one of my favorite subjects in school from junior high on. But recently, just in the last three years, I've noticed my interest in history growing. I think that had a lot to do with spending a substantial amount time in a foreign country. After returning to the U.S., I realized how unique American history was and I wanted to know more about it!

I enjoy learning about history for several reasons. I find it really exciting and interesting! We can learn a lot from the past and can how it has shaped the world today. Plus, our history becomes part of our identities, and it reminds us that we are a part of a larger story.

TM-What historical topics are of particular interest to you?

RM-Well, American history is on the top of my list. I enjoy learning about all periods of American history, but I've specifically studied a lot about early American history, from the Revolution up to the Civil War. I've always been a Civil War buff too. I find virtually all American history topics fascinating though! This last semester of school, I studied Eastern Civilizations and that really opened to my eyes to the history in the rest of the world as well.

TM-Give us an example of how history has impacted current events in the news.

RM-One example that readily comes to mind is the fallout between President Obama and General McChrystal. A lot of comparisons were made between that situation and the conflict between Truman and MacArthur as well as Lincoln and McClellan. If someone doesn't know what happened in the past in those situations, they won't be able to make the connections. Many current events have resemblances to past ones, but people often miss them because of not knowing history.

TM-Many Americans lack a basic understanding of world and American history. How do we reduce this problem?

RM-I think the most important solution is to do a better job of teaching history. I love history, yet I've had to sit through really boring history classes! If we can get the focus off of teaching just dates and names, I think that will go a long way in getting people interested in learning history. I also believe that the media, for instance websites and TV shows, can generate more interest in history.

TM-What shortlist of books or documentaries would you recommend for the average person interested in history?

RM-That honestly depends on what kind of history they are interested in! For American history books, I would recommend “Don’t Know Much About History” by Kenneth C. Davis and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to American History.” As far as documentaries, The Civil War by Ken Burns is a good one, as well as 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America from the History Channel. The History Channel and PBS have many good documentaries about a lot different historical topics.

Rebecca is one of those bloggers who has a real passion for her subject. A few of the books she has reviewed on her site became nice additions to my reference library. I think most people who are interested in politics, also have an interest in history. My Adventures in History will always have a place on my blog roll.

Parnell Tator

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