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Rant! Why I don't go to the HF forums at Amazon anymore

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Post by parthianbow » Wed December 22nd, 2010, 11:53 am

[quote=""EC2""]Ken, I hate that sort of arrogance. You don't always need to have a degree to contribute knowledge of great value to a subject.[/quote]

Moi aussi, EC2 and Ken! Get a life, I say. When I was at Kelmarsh two years ago, I was told by a very senior member of English Heritage management about a certain prominent British historian who, the previous year, had refused to speak to her because she worked in the retail part of EH. Trade, in other words. I nearly burst a blood vessel when she told me. The monumental arrogance of it! Tw*t. (And the missing letter isn't an 'i'. :D )

A great example of those who contribute a huge amount to historical knowledge, IMHO, are reenactors, with nary a degree (certainly in ancient studies) between them.
Last edited by parthianbow on Wed December 22nd, 2010, 11:54 am, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: addendum
Ben Kane
Bestselling author of Roman military fiction.
Spartacus - UK release 19 Jan. 2012. US release June 2012.

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Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
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Post by Margaret » Thu December 23rd, 2010, 12:23 am

In the 19th century, a lot of clergymen seem to have been amateur historians, and I get the impression many of them were quite good for their day. Perhaps there was a proliferation of parishes and many of the clergy had a lot of free time on their hands.

Academic experts (not all, but some) can be quite hidebound and stand in the way of progress. Some of the new ideas that end up exploding old, mistaken beliefs, come from amateurs who care about good research but also have not been indoctrinated into the belief systems that hamper creative thinking. J. Harlan Bretz was not an amateur, but he was ridiculed by his colleagues in the geology field after, in the 1920s, he came up with the theory of a gigantic flood at the end of the Ice Age that swept through the Pacific Northwest and carved out the Columbia River Gorge. At the time, it was accepted that geological change was invariably slow and incremental, and therefore, Bretz's theory was simply stupid. Now, it is accepted as fact.
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