Thinking about it, we should all be passionate about the Truth of History. If I want a slick line now, my book is about the truth of history, and it does matter. If we don't know where we've been, how do we know where we're going?
I've been blogging a bit about Historical Fiction, there are many people out there who have a voluminous knowledge of the subject, sadly, disappointingly, many of these people do not have a voluminous knowledge of History, or understanding of it, or even interest in it. Was it naïve to expect otherwise?
Indeed, why should people not escape into a make-believe world, with modern values and concerns in fancy dress? I have no business looking down on that escapism; it is better just avoided for fear of becoming too critical... "Yes but, they didn't have this or that technology, democracy and equality were not valued as today," etc.
And as to the serious, and even professional historians? The name says it all, his-story.
Thinking about it, the propaganda and lies people told at the time are better, more valid, less misleading, than the falsified history told by writers of modern fiction, or at least those who base the actions and beliefs of their historical characters on modern values.
One of the earliest commentators on Richard III and the Princes in the Tower was Sir George Buck. I would like to write an explanation of what happened to the Princes and invited opinions on Sir George in a Historical Fiction forum, focusing on just these times. Would you believe just how little interest there was? It should not be surprising; you see Sir George isn't a 'good read', not a 'page turner'.
Is anyone interested in the truth?
Perhaps it is better avoided; I clearly am becoming too critical. Indeed there is and always has been some very good, insightful Historical Fiction - some of it better than 'factual' books of History.
So what am I complaining about? Possibly the lack of differentiation between truth and untruth. If we're happy to accept lies about the past we will probably accept lies about the present and the future. It is easier with hindsight, past mistakes can be more easily seen than present ones - even so, the truth of the past is easily lost.
Perhaps the answer I should have given the journalist is, "To honour the Dead" - although, if you read the rest of the Edward site, you will see I hope to do rather more than that.