It’s a very small place (Saratoga)

Irritating that my history education was so thin about the doings of the 318 million the other side of the Atlantic although I have made efforts to remedy this since visiting the States for the first time in my fifties. I console myself with a conversation with an American lady near the lighthouse at Edgarstown (Marthas Vineyard). We talked about our respective nation’s knowledge of the other country’s history and I mentioned that you could probably talk to a hundred Brits before finding one who knew the significance of Saratoga (one of the key battles/turning points in the War of Independence). She looked a bit concerned and then said “Well that’s not surprising. It’s a very small place”…..Still I shouldn’t get too cocky…I am a bit shakey on key battles of the Wars of the Roses too…

My history teacher ran out of time so Wolfe won the battle of Quebec in 1759 at the end of term and the next term opened bright and beautiful with a discussion of the Congress of Vienna in 1815, thus missing a couple of minor fracas like the American War of Independence and the French Revolution. Even gauche, half educated DK at the age of 17 realised that something had gone badly wrong…

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