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Old 05-25-2011, 09:04 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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I find all history fascinating, of course, but I'm particularly interested in recent history because it's still a tangible part of reality today; in terms of the people who lived through it, the social changes, pop culture. Of course every era leaves it's imprint, but apart from the fact I saw the tail end of this century I find the amazing changes that happened during the decade: from the rise of transportation, electricity and other technology in the early decades, the rise of jazz/swing music, world wars, depression, civil rights, pop music, the sexual revolution/women's liberation, the Cold War etc really interesting. I think it started from my interests in the World Wars and in 60s/70s culture/kitsch/pop music. Also because we have so many photos, videos, personal histories from those decades, while even the Revolutionary War is sort of 'abstract.'

Anyway, are there others who are far interested in learning about say Jimi Hendrix rather than Napoleon, or Hemingway instead of Shakespeare or Dickens?

Last edited by Trimac20; 05-25-2011 at 09:15 PM..
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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You are entitled to be interested in whatever interests you. That you can run the "'60's rock" Jeopardy category while striking out in the "Napoleonic Wars" one, is unlikey to determine your human worth.
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:36 AM
 
Location: Terramaria
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What makes 20th Century history (and to a lesser degree the second half of the 19th) wore "fascinating" is the amount of resources that were preserved, thanks to technology. All the photographs, sound recordings, and films keep this era more "pure" than abstract in eras before there was film and sound. Newspapers from this time are abundant, especially in Europe and the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The big changes happened over shorter periods of time compared with earlier eras. There's just so much to discover and, for the later decades of the 20th century, still stuff to write about in terms of how it shaped the beginning of the 21st century.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:47 AM
 
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I agree that more recent history is compelling largely do to the huge amount of media available to study it. It makes it somewhat easier as you need to imagine and visualize less.

However, when it comes to discussions and criticism I prefer to avoid topics that are too recent as they are still largely influenced by peoples personal opinions. There are people alive who saw Jimi Hendrix and formed opinions of him first hand. It is hard to have a realistic discussion as peoples personal feelings tend to come in. It is a little easier to have an objective discussion about Napoleon as there is no one alive who served in his army or faced it on the field to lend their personal feelings to the matter.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:57 AM
 
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20th Century is fascinating because that's when Everything Changed.

Communications. While the telephone was invented in 1876, think about its spread. Then consider radio, television, satellites, and the Internet.

Transportation. In 1901, the steam train was advanced transportation. But really, most transportation still depended on the horse. Within 100 years came the automobile, the propeller-driven airplane, the jet aircraft, and spacecraft.

Technology. Heck, the computer alone is world-changing. But look at everything else.

Medicine. In 1901, medicine was barely out of the stone age. Very little was even understood about germ theory. Now we can even treat cancer with results that would have been considered miraculous just 10 years ago.

Society. Think about this. If you were a white European male in the upper echelons of a handful of countries, then life was okay in 1900. Everybody pretty much had a life that sucked. With equal rights for all ethnicities, genders, and faiths, huge advances have been made for the lot of people around the world. To be sure, there's still a lot of work to be done, but anybody who denies that quantum leaps forward have been made in this arena are simply smoking crack.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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No.
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Old 05-27-2011, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Earth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
I agree that more recent history is compelling largely do to the huge amount of media available to study it. It makes it somewhat easier as you need to imagine and visualize less.

However, when it comes to discussions and criticism I prefer to avoid topics that are too recent as they are still largely influenced by peoples personal opinions. There are people alive who saw Jimi Hendrix and formed opinions of him first hand. It is hard to have a realistic discussion as peoples personal feelings tend to come in. It is a little easier to have an objective discussion about Napoleon as there is no one alive who served in his army or faced it on the field to lend their personal feelings to the matter.
There are some topics which occurred before the 20th century which still stir up plenty of controversy and personal feelings on the part of those involved. There is no one alive who experienced the US Civil War, but there still are pretty strong personal feelings about it. There is no one alive who remembers the Sunni/Shia split or the Battle of Karbala but there are people who still have very strong personal feelings about those events. Cromwell's still one of the most controversial figures in history and there's no one alive who can remember the Protectorate. If relations between Britain and France today were still openly hostile (rather than the two nations officially getting along well and being part of the same international organizations despite popular and media sentiment) then Napoleon would still be controversial.
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Old 05-27-2011, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Exeter, NH
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Yes, these are very interesting times.

Unfortunately, there is a reason for the old chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times."
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Old 05-27-2011, 12:14 PM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Anyway, are there others who are far interested in learning about say Jimi Hendrix rather than Napoleon, or Hemingway instead of Shakespeare or Dickens?
I'm trying to work my head around how Shakespeare and especially Dickens are considered Ancient or Medieval.

I think for many people, the distinction is not 20th century/ pre-20th century (especially considering how tightly the 19th century binds to the 20th) but rather Industrial / pre-Industrial.

Many people I have met who claim to be avid about '20th-century history' are actually just WWII or American Civil Rights movement mavens.
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Old 05-27-2011, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Earth
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Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
I'm trying to work my head around how Shakespeare and especially Dickens are considered Ancient or Medieval.
By those uninformed about history or how the English language has changed. Shakespeare was Renaissance. Chaucer was Medieval.

Quote:
I think for many people, the distinction is not 20th century/ pre-20th century (especially considering how tightly the 19th century binds to the 20th) but rather Industrial / pre-Industrial.

Many people I have met who claim to be avid about '20th-century history' are actually just WWII or American Civil Rights movement mavens.
The Cold War, also.
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