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Other Presents

June 2024
1min read


Phil Patton’s article “Lee Defeats Grant” reminded me that truth not only is stranger than fiction, it’s more interesting as well, primarily because it is true. A professor of Soviet history, on loan from Duke University to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill back in 1985, always reminded his class: “In history, ‘ifs’ don’t happen!” He didn’t want us wasting our or his time with “what might have been” versions of the past. For him it was far more interesting and profitable to study and understand what did happen than waste time making up alternatives to vindicate lost causes.

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