What exactly am I reading?

Hi. My name is Alex, and I write Holistic History.

The blog is sort of my shameless attempt to geek out about the past in a socially acceptable way – actual social acceptability not guaranteed. I use it to talk about World History, because if you had the same sort of education that I did you’d be forgiven for thinking that the world outside of Europe and the US was invented around the 1960s, and even if you were given a liberal enough education to see through that you’d probably still think we – I’m British, for the record, and apologise now for blatant Euro-centrism and spelling things weirdly, other English speakers – were isolated from the rest of the world for most of our history. That’s not what History about. In truth, it’s more Holistic than that.

Holism – at the very least, my kind of Holism – is looking at things as a whole, in general and not in detail. It’s looking at the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things”, if you’re a Douglas Adams fan, the links between anything and everything that constitute all of existence. We’ve been influenced by people and factors from across the world for much longer than you might think, and we’ve been directly connected to the rest of the world for longer than you might think too. Holistic History, then, is looking at these causes and consequences across all of time – which is every bit as cool as it sounds, interpret that in whichever way you choose. It seems strange at first – you can use the effect of the Mongols and the Great Plague to explain the rise of the English middle class, you can spot the influence of a single Basque Catholic to explain Japan’s 800-year feudal system – but if you’re a fan of the idea of Chaos Theory, of the small influencing the big, and an enemy of that sort of history that rewards narrow thinking, then you might just like it here.

In the end, I hope you get as much out of reading this as I do writing it, because much as I like writing it makes it so much better to know that it’s read.  I’m not promising new insights – go to a historian for that – and I’m not promising beautiful prose – go to a journalist – but I’m promising an easy-to-digest burst of what I find interesting about the humanity’s past that you might just want to read. Thanks for checking this out, and enjoy what you find.

-Alex

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