Monday, August 3, 2015

History Mania

For some time I have become interested in history. I never liked that subject in school because I couldn't connect it with anything else but now things are making more sense. I can fit various facts into places, make sense of this world, so history now makes sense. I guess there is a basic urge to make sense of things. Questions like how did we end up here? Where are we going etc. This is especially soothing when I see the stark difference between India and USA and ask myself why is India so poor? Well a bit of history makes it abundantly clear. India has been free for only 50 years so we need some time. Looting by the British had taken it's toll.

It all started with this video series made by John Greene called Crash Course World History Youtube Playlist link. It was interesting and fun to watch. I also like this show because it shows the future of content creation, where individuals not big companies create content. I liked it so much that recently after couple of years when I had money I donated a small amount through Patreon.

In Spring 2014 I started reading this famous book "India after Gandhi" by R. Guha. This really helped me put current political situation in India into perspective. I found out that Kashmir, North East were all old issues, the rise of BJP was relatively fast etc. This is a must read for any Indian.

I've been living in USA for a couple of years now and travelling around North East. I got to see lot of historical places like Gettysburg, DC, Philly etc. Monticello in Virginia was a real treat. To get a better understanding of USA I wanted to read a single best book for history of USA. Through recommendation from Reddit top 200 reading list and a  friend Marc McCann I started reading this book called "People's History of United States" by Zinn in Spring 2015. I'm still reading it.

That takes care of India and USA, but what about the rest of the universe? After Bill Gates recommending this Big History ( course so much, I watched all of its videos to get a overall sense of this universe. I found out an interesting fact that for majority of time Life was single celled. Due to the huge scale of difference I wanted to see the timeline of the universe in log scale. Found a nice graph in this page

Now after reading all this it feels good to know where we came from, how we got here and where we may be headed.