'I . . . feel that there is a positive value in prescnting world history to the general public. Even if we do not know it, the history of the world is part of our mental furniture.' (J M Roberts, The Pelican History of the World).
'We get scared by history; we allow ourselves to be bullied by dates. In fourteen hundred and ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
And then what? Everyone became wiser? People stopped building new ghettoes in which to practise the old persecutions? ' (Julian Barnes)
The only instructive history of the world is a history of love, the aspirations of love and its failures: 'those who get their satisfaction from other things,' Barnes asserts, 'are living empty lives, are posturing crabs who swagger the sea-bed in borrowed shells.' But 'If we are to oppose love