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The purposes of school history

A quote which raises questions about whether some forms of history are more important than others (the idea that children should mainly learn about the main political and constitutional history of their country, wars, revolutions, prime ministers, political reforms etc). It is by Ken Burns, whose history of baseball was the most watched series on U.S television ever, Burns argues that the history of a sport (or of a form of music) can provide important insights into the human condition:

‘I suddenly realised that I was working on the sequel to the Civil War... Too often we see history as a political, military narrative- in our country, wars and generals and presidents. But here one could find the American Universe in the grains of sand of baseball. It was about immigration and assimilation, and the badge, that at that time came from participation in the so called national pastime. It was about popular culture and advertising. It was about the growth and decay and rebirth of cities, and of course, it was about race, because how could you call this the national pastime if until April 15th, 1947, the most talented baseball players were excluded from the game.’

From 'The films of Ken Burns', C4, 9/6/01Ken Burns,  author/producer (?) of  ‘The Civil War’, and ‘Baseball’, two of the most watched TV series ever in the USA

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