Yesterday my hairdresser asked me what I liked to read. She’s been cutting styling my hair for over a year now and mentioned my love of books. While other clients seem happy to pick up the latest copy of one of her many “rag” magazines, I always bring a book. When I told her I read mostly European history books she gave me a pained look. “Aren’t those dry and boring?” she asked. I had to admit, sometimes they are but often history writers inject humor into their books knowing what they write can cure insomnia. And besides, I find entertainment in learning something new even with a “dry” academic read. I don’t think I convinced her history can be fun.
I blame this on the American school system. History class is one of the least favorite among high school students. Facts and dates are center to our education. Social context is seldom addressed. The actions and motivations by our forefathers seem so alien to us. But what if we found a way to show students that while historical figures lived long ago and with different norms and values, they really aren’t as alien as we might think? What if we could get them to laugh while we educate them? It would probably be something like this. Enjoy!