Thursday, August 16, 2007

Facts and Fiction

Over the years I have read history, not so much for the gory details but for the thinking that causes the action. Occasionally, I have read historical fiction. There is a difference. In the second I know I am reading fiction. In the first, I think I am reading fact but I might be reading fiction.

In recent months I have encountered misinformation in books and magazines. Examples, “Biafra is in the Horn of Africa.” Actually, it is in Nigeria in West Africa. “The Shenandoah Valley is in West Virginia.” Actually, it is in Virginia.

It is in Nigeria in West Africa. The Shenandoah Valley is in West Virginia. It is in Virginia.

I don’t think these authors were lying. I am sure they thought what they were writing was true.

Irregularly, I encounter misstatements in history.

Since my knowledge is limited I assume much more of what I read is false, but I don’t know which is true and which is false.

That does not make me cynical. I keep on reading and keep on believing, but I keep my eyes open.

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