How much of history do you believe is bullshit? Just totally fabricated and incorrect?
Because history is told using written records by humans, who have inherent biases or may be controlled by people with biases, I feel that it's very likely much of history isn't anything close to how we think things happened. Certain people or even entire civilizations may not have ever existed, inventions probably have very different inventors than who we know of, and in general history is probably just flat out wrong.
Even look at today's news media, is there even a single media source that has no bias? Imagine that effect amplified in a time when mainstream media was just a handful of guys with printing presses.
This guy probably didn't exist and most likely was just a boogieman to scare turkish children.
Luckily, the entire discipline of history is there to analyse this on a case by case basis. Bias is something they can just take for granted, no historian works by taking sources on their face value holy shit.
Do you really think that the entire field of history and every historian in the tradition is slower to realise this than you?
Believe it or not, my grandmother worked as a secretary for some science guy during the reich and was involved via proxy with the V2 development. She once mentioned that the history of the rocket went much further and started around WW1 but one guy got jelaous at another guy and burned all the files in spite. Can't really prove it and she's dead now anyway, but I think this kind of stuff is very much possible.
All of written history will have some bias and falseness to it. That's why people who study history owe it to themselves to read as many perspectives on something as possible, and deduct using rationalism which parts of which views are correct, and compound them into your own, unique one.
Standing by a single source provider with absolute faith is stupid, and is why we have dogmatists in religion and jackasses in politics.
Tons of history is bullshit, at least in the raw. That's why a big part of studying history for fun or being an historian is understanding the context the information is being presented in.
Like, A Japanese guy who's never seen an African or Arab in his life might actually think the Mongol invaders are demons. An Aggrandizing Greek/Macedonian guy might blow his horn by saying Darius III ran away pissing from every battle at the first sign of danger. Culture gaps and religious differences might lead to a historian completely dehumanizing a subject culture as savages.
Good historians make a consensus out of all available viewpoints and information.
Anything western liberals and non-Soviet historians have to say about Stalin is pretty much wrong.
Yeah, but a lot of history vanish entirely with it, some of which could have offered a differing view.
Same with the Aztecs and Mayans, nothing is really known about them, but they are generally regarded as savages.
Most history majors I know tend to be -boos about whatever they're studying. Like a guy I knew in college was a moriariboo for a while. He seemed just as biased as anything he was reading.
Yeah this. When the Address was actually given everyone who was there thought it was an insult to the memories of the dead. It wasn't until months and years later when people started to considering it one of the best speeches in history.
I think that it's a stretch to say that history is only inferred from documents. Documents give particular perspectives, but historians should be somewhat multi-disciplinary and be open to suggestions from people in other disciplines concerning the probability or veracity of certain events. It's very likely to be a strawman of academic historians (as much as I revile a lot of them) to say that they use only written records.
You make an interesting point about the news media. There are events that I have been completely informed about from reliable sources from the outset, and I have seen before my eyes the zeitgeist view of said event just be totally incorrect, in large part due to omissions by the news media. It's really frustrating and maked me a further skeptic of societal values and how much narratives of history are concocted basically to conform to memeing.
And this is what you find with mass narratives that are taught in high schools: you look them up in terms of scholarship and it turns out that people with totally novel views of the event that you didn't even think about had potent arguments, and then the view that won out just happened to be a somewhat weak rationalization that fit into the pseudo-evidence of a narrative that was catching on at the time. I have very often found that views of events that ultimately take hold are formed by a razor thin group of circlejerkers that form consensus. Their arguments aren't necessarily weak, but it makes me raise and eyebrow.
And no, I am not trying to subtly drop a point about the holocaust. I have not studied the holocaust enough to say anything of substance about it. I wish we could have a general discussion about the validity of academic history without the baggage of the holocaust.