Friday, May 9, 2008

Rewriting History

Here's why I never do social studies projects--too fuzzy. Grammar's nice; nothing changes, and nothing's open to interpretation. Now I'm working (as is D) on a series for Lerner. I'm writing about Syria's Assads. Leaving aside that the fact Lerner calls this their "Dictatorship Series" applies an instant POV, I'm finding that despite Assad the first's being born in 1930, fairly recently in human history, no two sources have the same information about him. He was the ninth of eleven children; he was the oldest boy in a family of eight. He went off to school out of town at age 9; no, he was 14. Seems to me a REAL strongman would have a pretty standardized bio.

Worse is the revisionist history--the folks who say that (for example) the leaders of the Arab Revolt lied about promises made them by the French and British vs. those who make it pretty darn clear that the Arabs were double-crossed by a European alliance that had always intended to partition and occupy their lands. Give me a nice pre-algebra lesson any day.

Of course, D's working on Than Shwe, whose country just up and blew away in the cyclone last week. That's harder, when history's happening as you write. (As I write, Lebanon's headed toward civil war, so there may be a new chapter in my book as well.)

No comments: