I’ve had quite a few brushes with history, courtesy of the historians who wrote it. Without them we none of us would have been the wiser, except for oral tradition, stories passed down by word of mouth.
Take the Civil War. I was fortunate enough as a boy to see those white-haired men who had fought in that long-ago war, riding in open cars on the way to the cemetery on Decoration Day. Yet I suspect that it was not my glimpse of them that was a brush with history, but knowing and reading the likes of Bruce Catton and Allan Nevins, who somehow captured the sum of their stories and put them together in such a way that I began to understand the war of which those old men were a part.