History’s Superpower

The Grumpy Teacher

“A man acquainted with history may, in some respect, be said to have lived from the beginning of the world, and to have been making continual additions to his stock of knowledge in every century.”

That’s David Hume’s answer to the question posed by Mark Enser (@ensermark) about the superpower conferred by studying a subject. I suppose it’s mine too.

There are genius teenage chess players, and musicians, and mathematicians. Some talented teenagers are celebrated for their achievements in the arts, and in business, and in sports. But there are no genius teenage historians. There are no celebrated works of history written by teenagers. CV Wedgwood was in her mid-twenties when she published her biography of Strafford, and (doing no more research than thinking off the top of my head for a quarter of an hour) I don’t think many younger historians can have written a book which has entered…

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