Past Mistakes (Hardback)

How We Misinterpret History and Why it Matters

David Mountain

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‘A welcome ally in the fight against fake history’ Eleanor Janega, author of The Middle Ages

From the fall of Rome to the rise of the Wild West, David Mountain brings colour and perspective to historical mythmaking.

The stories we tell about our past matter. But those stories have been shaped by prejudice, hoaxes and misinterpretations that have whitewashed entire chapters of history, erased women and invented civilisations. Today history is often used to justify xenophobia, nationalism and inequality as we cling to grand origin stories and heroic tales of extraordinary men.

 

Exploring myths, mysteries and misconceptions about the past – from the legacies of figures like Pythagoras and Christopher Columbus, to the realities of life in the gun-toting Wild West, to the archaeological digs that have upset our understanding of the birth of civilisation – David Mountain reveals how ongoing revolutions in history and archaeology are shedding light on the truth.

 

Full of adventures, and based on detailed research and interviews, Past Mistakes will make you reconsider your understanding of history – and of the world today.

Past Mistakes takes what we think we remember from history class and sets the record straight! Definitely worth reading if you’re ready to have your mind blown and then be filled with rage that you’ve been hoodwinked for this long.’ The Tiny Activist



David Mountain is a writer, speaker and editor, based in Edinburgh. After studying biology and geology at the University of Bristol he became a scientific editor at an environmental NGO, working across the savannahs of central Kenya and the gardens of suburban Java to tackle the problem of invasive species. He has since studied the politics of nationalism at the University of Edinburgh, devoting more time to exploring, and writing about, history. He is fascinated and infuriated in equal measure by history, politics and philosophy, and can’t resist pointing out flaws and contradictions in how we think we understand the world.


‘Whether discussing Pythagoras’ legacy, Athenian democracy, the myth of Progress, or the Wild West, Mountain quickly points out how the truth is more nuanced than—or completely different from—stories we may know. … the work’s main thrust is the conversation between present and past and how our view of the past influences current behavior—most clearly outlined in a chapter about the Wild West mythos shaping American gun culture to this day.’Booklist

‘Past Mistakes takes what we think we remember from history class and sets the record straight! Definitely worth reading if you’re ready to have your mind blown and then be filled with rage that you’ve been hoodwinked for this long.’

The Tiny Activist

‘A welcome ally in the fight against fake history’

Eleanor Janega, author of The Middle Ages

ABOUT THIS BOOK

about this book

ISBN: 9781785786624

Price: 16.99 GBP 16.99 GBP

Pages: 400

Publication date: 05/11/2020

Category: History & Current Affairs

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