A colleague recently challenged me to read a Utah history book not written by a Utahan. What does that even mean? The implication is that Utahans who write history books get their facts wrong or gloss over the "real" history of Utah.
It got my ire up in a big kind of way, but also in a good kind of way. If I were to attempt a research paper, I think I'd like to analyze who writes history books.
For example, are the best history books written by people inside a given state, country, region, group, etc., or are they best written by an outsider? If I want to learn more about Mississippi, for example, should I make sure to read a book written by an Alabaman about Mississippi? Or would an Alabaman also have an "axe to grind" and trump up all of Mississippi's dark history as part of a grudge the two states have endured over land parcels? (I don't know if they actually have a grudge between the two states; I'm just speculating.)
If the theory holds true that history books are best written by outsiders, it would have to be a WAY outsider, like from someone clear across the state. But then, how accurate can they get? I remember reading our family's World Book Encyclopedia's entry about the state of Utah, and it said that Joseph Smith had led the Latter-day Saint people west to Utah. In reality, it was Brigham Young. The set was published in 1980. Hopefully the editors have caught THAT error by now, but it makes me wonder how many other historical facts they got wrong.
And it surely makes me wonder what historical facts would be included in a History of America book written by that neutral country Sweden. It would probably play up the HUGE anti-war movement of World War II in this country. Haven't heard about it? Well, you're just reading history books from people BORN in America. Free your minds, people.