Heather Cox Richardson is an American historian and professor of history at Boston College, where she teaches courses on the American Civil War, the Reconstruction Era, the American West, and the Plains Indians. She previously taught history at MIT and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Her near daily newsletters, Letters from an American, have become a fact beacon in the lie-strewn political landscape of today.
Spanish philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This quote has been reused and recycled by others, most famously by Churchill, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
And we seem to have been doing just that. Heather Cox Richardson is part of our fact heroes section because the facts of the past too often become the facts of the present. But history in the minds of many people is described in one exclamatory word, BORING! Her gift is that in her hands history has become far from the stultifying subject many people consider it. Her adroit crafting of the direct connections between past and present and what they mean is engaging and interesting.
But there is more to Richardson’s talent. She draws parallels between the humanity, and inhumanity, of the past to our present circumstances in a way that is best described as applicable—giving us ideas we can use. Her retelling of Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Grant, ending the Civil War is a case in point.
We consider Heather Cox Richardson’s continuing work of extreme value in providing perspective that is all too lacking in today’s propaganda saturated political environment. A good sense of history is great tool for seeing through that fog. We encourage all to become subscribers of her newsletter. You won’t be disappointed.