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“History is not a random sequence of unrelated events. Everything affects, and is...

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cshaunessy | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted August 26, 2013 at 7:26 PM via web

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“History is not a random sequence of unrelated events. Everything affects, and is affected by, everything else. This is never clear in the present. Only time can sort out events. It is then, in perspective, that patterns emerge.”

-A World Lit Only by Fire, p. 228The above passage provides some insight into Manchester’s understanding of historical events and what makes them historical events. It also frames the work that Manchester has undertaken, examining a wide variety of events that occur across a large geographical area and through a long period of time. Does Manchester adequately describe the patterns he claims emerge with time? If so, identify the overarching themes he claims unite the various events he describes and give specific examples of how he ties these events together. If not, point out the specific ways in which Manchester fails to tie events together into a cohesive whole and describe an approach that would have been more effective.

I am really confused how to go about even starting to write this essay. This question was asked for my AP Euro class and I dont even know where to begin. I have read the book but am having trouble just staeting the thought process behind this question any help from someone who has read A World Lit Only by Fire would be awesome 

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tjbrewer | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted August 27, 2013 at 1:07 AM (Answer #1)

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I haven't read A World Lit only by Fire, but I do understand the meaning in the quote, "History is not a random sequence of unrelated events. Everything affects, and is affected by, everything else. This is never clear in the present. Only time can sort out events. It is then, in perspective, that patterns emerge."

When it began, no one recognized that WWII would end the Great Depression, and it wasn't recognized until after the war was over.  The Great Depression also helped contribute to WWII, by setting the stage for Adolf Hitler's take over of German, but that too wasn't recognized until after the war.  The Doolittle raid, led to the acceleration of the Coral Sea campaign, resulting in a clash with the US Navy, and that precipitated the Battle of Midway, resulting in a turn-around in the Pacific Theater.  This chain of events wasn't recognized by anyone as it transpired, but years later, the book Miracle at Midway, and the film adaptation Midway tied them together into a spectacularly historical event.  Guns of August did the same thing with the start of WWI, 40 years after the fact.  

Did A World Lit only by Fire contain similar accounts to mine?  Did it lack cohesion or make far-fetched connections between events?  In the latter case, try to make the connections more effectively.  That's what your essay should be about.  Look for accounts or events that are tied together into a string of causal relationships, and if you fail to see the causality, see if you can make a better causality case.  If you can't make the causality case, explain why the events are unrelated. 

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