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BENNETT, Alan

The History boys

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Hector:

The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - that you'd thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you've never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out and taken yours.

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Hector:

Pass the parcel. That's sometimes all you can do. Take it, feel it, and pass it on. Not for me, not for you, but for someone, somewhere, one day. Pass it on, boys. That's the game I want you to learn. Pass it on.

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Irwin:

But this is History. Distance yourselves. Our perspective on the past alters. Looking back, immediately in front of us is dead ground. We don't see it, and because we don't see it this means that there is no period so remote as the recent past. And one of the historian's jobs is to anticipate what our perspective of that period will be... even on the Holocaust.

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Irwin:

The truth was, in 1914, Germany doesn't want war. Yeah, there's an arms race, but it's Britain who's leading it. So, why does no one admit this? That's why. The dead. The body count. We don't like to admit the war was even partly our fault 'cause so many of our people died. And all the mourning's veiled the truth. It's not "lest we forget," it's "lest we remember." That's what all this is about - the memorials, the Cenotaph, the two minutes' silence. Because there is no better way of forgetting something than by commemorating it.

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Dakin:

The more you read, though, the more you'll see that literature is actually about losers... It's consolation. All literature is consolation.

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