Sunday, October 24, 2021

David Hackett Fischer

James has an alert pickup that there is a new book by the author of Albion's Seed, a book on colonial history that came out in the late 80s has developed a cult following since. African Founders: How Enslaved Peopled Expanded American Freedom. I admit I have grown a bit weary of people trying to shoehorn race into all historical topics, but I very much trust Fischer and am looking forward to this. I don't know what his politics are, though I doubt he is conservative.  He is, however, a straight shooter with the data and is very solid at looking at what it might, and might not, mean. I am betting there is a significance to his use of the word "freedom," instead of "freedoms."

Even before he was a well-known historian he made himself useful by naming the historian's fallacy, which cautions us about retrospective analysis, unconsciously assuming that those in the past were aware of their place in it, and that they must have (somehow) anticipated what came immediately after, because it looks so obvious to us now.  Shakespeare didn't know he was Shakespeare, for example. This is useful especially in studying military history.

He must be over 80 now - I didn't know he is still writing. I just looked it up.  He turns 86 in a few weeks.  This book is likely his last, then. 

Straight to Christmas list. I doubt it's going to ever come out in large print, which I increasingly think I am going too need, so I will have to go to Kindle, which I am able to use but not fond of.

1 comment:

Ribro90 said...

My theory is that most people in their time were trying to do right by what they believed. If they worked in the "colonies" they tried to help the "natives" while also boosting themselves but still believed they were doing good.
Sometimes this allowed you to either participate in massacres while believing you were righteous but hey that's not much different than changing the world from where one breadwinner could support a family to where both parents have to work on minimum wage and their kids have no hope