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Past Mistakes

How We Misinterpret History and Why it Matters

David Mountain



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Icon Books
05 January 2021
Our museums are full of pure white Classical sculptures. Over the years, we've ignored evidence that they were originally painted bright colours, 'restoring' sculptures to a gleaming white and becoming heated about the very idea of a lick of paint. Why? Because the stories we tell about our past affect how we see ourselves today.

Just one wrong turn in our understanding of history can infect whole areas of thought - as well as how we look at society and relate to others in the 21st century. Exploring some of the biggest myths, mysteries and misconceptions about the past (Columbus didn't discover America, the Vandals weren't vandals, Boudicca wasn't English), David Mountain reveals how ongoing revolutions in history and archaeology are finally shedding light on the truth.

We discover how prejudices, hoaxes and misinterpretations have whitewashed entire chapters of history, dismissed and demonised female leaders, and invented entire civilisations. Past Mistakes will make you reconsider your notion of what is and isn't 'history' - and why it matters now.
By:   David Mountain
Imprint:   Icon Books
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 135mm, 
ISBN:   9781785786624
ISBN 10:   1785786628
Pages:   400
Publication Date:   05 January 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

David Mountain is a freelance writer whose work has been featured in Free Inquiry, The Humanist and Nadja. He has also given talks at the Edinburgh Fringe and Belfast's Festival of Ideas and Politics. He currently lives in Edinburgh.

Reviews for Past Mistakes: How We Misinterpret History and Why it Matters

'Past Mistakes takes what we think we remember from history class and sets the record straight! Definitely worth reading if you're ready to have your mind blown and then be filled with rage that you've been hoodwinked for this long.' -- The Tiny Activist 'Whether discussing Pythagoras' legacy, Athenian democracy, the myth of Progress, or the Wild West, Mountain quickly points out how the truth is more nuanced than-or completely different from-stories we may know. ... the work's main thrust is the conversation between present and past and how our view of the past influences current behavior-most clearly outlined in a chapter about the Wild West mythos shaping American gun culture to this day.' -- Booklist

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