What on Earth Happened?

URL http://www.resurgence.org/magazine/article2625-A-F...
Summary A Fresh Perspective on the teaching of history by Christopher Lloyd

A Fresh Perspective

The teaching of history can either reinforce old prejudices and paradigms, or can literally change the future.

HISTORY IS IN trouble. It has been splintered by experts into discrete topics and chopped up by governments to suit their educational fancies. Worse, it is almost never presented chronologically. How old is the universe? When did life on Earth begin? Who was humankind’s oldest ancestor? How did ancient Chinese science help shape the modern world? Why did democracy begin in Greece? Are humans really superior to other living things? Many people are understandably confused about the answers to such a broad but fundamental range of questions when all they learned at school was a few facts about kings and queens, a world war or two and maybe something about creatures called dinosaurs.

Actually, the problem is a lot deeper than that. Prospects for international peace and stability in a globalised world are largely in the hands of how history is taught. It is human society’s prime pump for manufacturing either mutual understanding or murderous mistrust.

Christopher Lloyd’s new book What on Earth Happened? The Complete Story of the Planet, Life and People from the Big Bang to the Present Day is published by Bloomsbury at £25.00.

See www.whatonearthhappened.com for more information.

Reviewed in Resurgence 250 Sept/Oct 2008