Friday, March 08, 2013


Interpreting the Past

How we understand the present depends on how we view the past. How we view the past determines our options for the future. Interpreting the past is the work of historians, but preserving interpretations is the work of archivists, media gatekeepers and librarians. Books don't have to be banned if they are ignored.

Official historians find their way easily into publications used in schools, colleges and universities, and thus form the core of how a society perceives its past. Dissident historians find their way onto public library book shelves, but are often obscure and happened on only by chance. Amateur historians, using Wikipedia and self-publishing houses, can contribute to our understanding via the Internet, but face serious challenges in finding an audience through established archives.

My own experience with archivists, media gatekeepers and librarians illustrates that amateur dissident historians should expect to have to fight to have their interpretations made accessible. Even Wikipedia and self-publishing houses can be hostile to the vocation.

My three historically-oriented books -- Blind Spots, War of Ideas, and Waco on Valencia -- comprise a polemic memoir, academic treatise, and editorial compilation, respectively. While they are not great works of literature, they are historically accurate, based on primary documents--not official or journalistic interpretations.

While all three deal with the shredding of the social fabric by anti-democratic organizations, one looks at the US as a whole, while the others concern themselves with a regional or local institutional corruption of values -- each over roughly a ten-year timeframe -- that allows readers to see how the progression of corruption unfolded. Blind Spots is available in the Washington State Library, Waco on Valencia in the San Francisco History Center, and all three by order online. None are noted on Wikipedia, as their policy censors self-published books.


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?