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We so often learn far too late than the heroes of history were actually horrible people, and the so-called villainous monsters, bad guys, and no-good thugs were good.

Edison was a greedy scheming thief, yet we learn of his "achievements" while Tesla gets a minor footnote, Oda Nobunaga nearly achieved total peace in the warring states era before he was savagely betrayed and painted a monsterly villain, Columbus has a holiday named after him for his grand ability of landing in the wrong land and beginning a genocide, Aaron Burr is named a traitor to America when Hamilton's the reason we have a misguided corrupt political system in place by helping Jefferson win (and don't get me started on Jefferson)

It makes me wonder, honestly.

How many more out there have stories that are misguided and misrepresented? Why does it take so long for truth to be set free?

I hate that we live in a world where the winner decides the stories we tell.

LadyAlyxandrea 8 Sep 11

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It’s pretty much standard in all countries. History is twisted to the benefit of the country teaching it. Why does the South honor men who were responsible for the deaths of thousands of men on both sides to support the slave economy? Japan and South Korea are fighting over Korean teaching that WWII Japanese used Korean women as troop prostitutes. Atrocities against Native Americans are pretty well never taught in K-12. This is the way of the world: countries want to promote their own glory, toot their own horn, no matter how many horrible things it took to get there.


Another that is annoying is mother theresa... who became a goddam saint.... she let kids and the poor suffer because she thought it brought them closer to god.... yet when she became ill, she got herself medical treatment! fckng hypocrite and if you say any critical truth about her, people become outraged and offended on her behalf... morons :/

mother theresa, the butcher bitch of Calcutta yet another the 'saints' made by the Catholic Church who were, in reality, true mongrel Bastards of the First Order.

Her old driver was my driver in Kolkata. He teared up when I asked about her but said she was a hard arsed bitch who took shit from no one. Total cow by all accounts. There was affection there from him though.
Having worked in India, that is the only way she could have gotten anything done. Living in the depths of Kolkata your whole life.....fuck that!


The founder of my profession is Ellen Swallow Richards. Not many have heard of her as she was a woman, yet a smart and high achieving woman. The lengths she had to go through because of the male patriarchy of that time period.

She was the first woman to attend MIT, graduate, and serve as faculty.

Some things she had to go through because she dared enter into a man's world?

  1. The male administration at MIT labeled her as "special" and alluded that she was there only because of some sort of favor
  2. After graduating, she became a faculty member at MIT but had to teach for free; MIT would employ her but not pay her
  3. MIT refused to allow her lab space so she had to turn her own home into a working laboratory for her students
  4. No chemical companies would work with a female chemist, so women's groups raised money for her to equip her home lab
  5. Her research led to water testing standards and food sanitation standards that are still in use today

I have been reading Howard Zinn's, "A People's HIstory of the United States," and it has opened my eyes. Many of our most celebrated heroes were not very nice people and did some very nasty things to others. It amazes me, the difference between the history we learned in school and how it actually happened. For instance, I never knew that thousands of our citizens died during the early 1800's when they went on strike to complain of pay so low it did not buy them enough to eat or that Andrew Jackson was such an ass, and a dangerous one at that. I highly recommend this book to any one who is brave enough to learn our true history.

This definitely will be on my reading list. Thank you.

Thanks for recommending this. I’ve added it to my Amazon cart.

@AmelieMatisse You're welcome!

@AmelieMatisse, @Gypsy494 You're welcome!


One of my favorite books is Lies My Teacher Told Me, written by a History professor. In the beginning of the book, he decried having to deprogram students and started them out with an writing assignment to describe their favorite historical figure, and then, in many cases, he would point out reasons why they might wish to reconsider. At the end of the book, he blamed the publishing industry for how it chose to release textbooks. If, for an example, you wrote a history book that was factually accurate, at the expense of so many innaccurate texts in circulation, you'd face an uphill battle in getting it published, out of supposed concern for disrupting standards. Yeah, it's a known problem with no solution on the horizon.


As a professional historian, I can say that there is truth in what you write, but scholarship continues to evolve. One of the problems is how to communicate the scholarship to broader audiences. Subaltern studies, gender studies, revisionist work is available but is frequently not read beyond specialists.


Not to dismiss your sentiments, but this is the way humans have always behaved. The Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations were adept at spinning historical "facts" in their favor. I am certain that they were not the first.

I am just glad that we can look back on any of the propaganda and see through it via verifiable facts.

@AmelieMatisse True and good point.

We should change the errors and keep up on things from reliable sources.

There's simply no excuse for ignorance with the information readily available. I think we need to teach a healthy amount of skepticism, but that gets tricky and it starts in our individual homes.

I homeschooled my children and I started history in The Fertile Crescent. No b.s. added and no trumped up patriotism either.
Just history as accurately as I could teach it.

I was not dismissing the unacceptable nature of such blatant historical inaccuracies.
I was more commenting on the futility of getting it honestly and unvarnished from corrupt sources.

It will never be that easy.

@AmelieMatisse While I am a voracitous reader , just because something made it into print , does not verify it's accuracy .

I am in total agreement. Its likely that human have always been like this, and even worse in the past.

We are all heros and villians, and the older I get the more I see this.

@Donotbelieve Well done on the home schooling. Glad you started at apoint in history and moved forward. In Scotland history is taught in a non-linier fashion, so first came the industrial revolution, then the Vikings, WWII, Victorians and lastly WWI. Confuses children when their parents don't know either.

@AmelieMatisse perhaps they read their news on the web (newspapers are available online now) and they read journal articles instead? Unless they specify they have stopped reading, them not reading physical books is not an indication of not reading at all... it could just mean reading on a different medium than you are referencing.


We are all raised with this idea that there are "good" and "bad" people, that the dichotomy is black and white, you can only fall into one category or the other. The truth is that no such dichotomy exists, we only pretend it does because it's metaphysically beneficial for society to do so.

I would challenge your assumption that heroes and villains exist at all, because what we believe someone to be is relative to what we want for ourselves.


The victor writes the history... None of us are truly totally good or evil as what is good or evil is subjective.
Right now in the UK there is a drive to drag Churchill down as a criminal against humanity as evil as Hitler. But without his input at a crucial time, those people who complain about him are likely to have never been born without him.
In the end, everything has a cost, and for heroes that is often their reputation.


I grew up reading and learning about the strong leaders of history. I felt I grew up in the wrong era as I wanted to be an Alexander the Great, a Caesar... A Hernan Cortez... I wanted adventure and to conquer something. I read up on these and others.. Life on the high seas in the 15th and 16th centuries. Now all the exploration and conquering had been done and I missed out.

It wasn't until years and years later that it really started coming out (Or perhaps I started paying attention to it) that these were figures who felt there was no value to the human lives they took. They all committed atrocities to further themselves. Alexander and Caesar literally slaughtered whole countries. Cortez and his men brought Small Pox to the new world that killed off up to 95% of the indigenous people.

The true story eventually comes out.

BTW... I am a direct descendent of William Van Ness, Aaron Burr's Second in his duel with Hamilton. My middle Name is Van Ness for this reason.

River Van Ness Rick, has a nice ring to it. ☺

@Donotbelieve 😉


While you are viewing this from a international point of view , things also work this way on the very personnel level . How many out there , have dated / married someone with a horrible story about their ex . , only to learn later that the half of the story you'd been given either left out some vital information , or was just a pile of lies from beginning to end ?

True that.

I met a girl called Pam who told me horrible stories about her ex. About the same time or just a little later I met a guy called Paul. It took me a year to link the two people into one.
PS. I now have nothing to do with Pam b/c as you may have guessed she is a lying narcissist.


To the victor goes the spoils. To curry favor with who ever is in power is the bottom line. We see it play out every figging day with trump!
If you have a parent that questions what you are learning in school it really helps. My Dad told me about Tesla and his contribution to so much we take for granted today. Yeah, Edison my ass!
The down side was I loathed school mostly because I did not trust what I was being told and in the 60's google was not yet available.

In my school we were taught all about Edison and what a magnificent man he was, and not once was tesla mentioned. I didn't even know of tesla until I was an adult, nor of Edison's cruelty and scheming. It was shocking. That's when I started looking into some other "historical heroes" and learning truth. That no one is what our history says they are.

Even Ghandi was a jerk.

@LadyAlyxandrea Martin Luther Kings wife used to walk into a lot of doors


I don't understand why we feel the need to trash one and glorify the other when in reality we didn't met the actual person. We don't know their troubles to accomplish what they did. Why can't we take the good from both stories?


I find it interesting that very flawed people can do wonderful things. Albert Einstein seems to have been a poor husband to his first wife. Woody Allen, at the very least, seems to have been awful to Mia Farrow. Michael Jackson. Bill Clinton. Is it specifically men? I don't know, but it makes me wonder--were I in the position of power that these men were in, would I act better than they did? I hope so.


"To the victor goes the spoils" "King of the Hill" "Survival of the Fittest" These are terms that denote life in society today. Elections, sports and a list of so many other things that are a part of our daily existence. Where would we be without them? I often wonder how much chaos would ensue if the truth could be known?


Unfortunately your last line is the truth. The winner always decides the story. This is why some in power are tyrants. If they are winners to most people they look good in the end.


Even this article is likely slanted in his favor, as from what I have heard, he did just as much, if not more, to instigate world war II . . . . []

DAMN!! I really did not know Churchill was so cruel and frankly quite ignorant. I realize he was a product of his up bring and early beliefs, still no excuse.

While I am not disavowing the article, I will suggest we take a breath before biting off on the written word. I have personal experience with renderings on podcasts and TV, as well as in articles and books that were by and large complete falsehoods yet the general public consumed them as absolute truth. Even if parcels were true, facts were intentionally laid aside which tainted what was actually true.


The way I see it, we can live three places; the past, present and future. Best to not put all your eggs in one basket. The things we tolerate because of "historic" norms/ ties that hinder our present thus buggering up the future is crazy. Farming practices for starters, we have robotics and aqua/ hydroponics now. Be great if we could just stop and start over as if from scratch.
It's nice to dream.


I’ve been appalled by the credible accusations against so many prominent ‘new’ atheists. Folks I really admired turned out to be eminently human after all...

It's true what they say, never meet your heroes.


The information is there. You just have to dive into it. Which means read, read, read!


I don't believe I've ever had a "hero"?

If I had a paper to write about someone I admired it was usually about someone I knew really well. Who had managed through some interesting times.

Those are the people I have admiration for.

Not showboats. Just not the way I'm programmed.


Understand that we are all humans, be inspired by the good parts and observe the bad parts to improve should be the learn from history.

Repeat the good parts avoiding the bad ones, so accept that heroes are humans and achieve a state of mind where you do not need heroes, but you seek for examples of good deeds to follow and bad ones to avoid.


History is ONLY written by the Winners and those who backed them, BUT never by the Losers.
I often ponder over who/what will write the History Humankind after we are all dead and gone.

History is written by winners, losers, and usually by people who didn't have a horse in that race.

@GarytheGondolier I was talking about REAL History here and REAL History IS always written by the Winners.
For example, Did the Incas get to write their side of the Spanish Conquistador Invasion/Slaughter?
How about the Native American Indians then, ever read anything telling THEIR side of the Genocide committed against them by the Non-Indigenous Americans?
No IS the answer to both examples BECAUSE they were the losers, well except for when the Sioux Nations kicked Custer's arse firmly and squarely up between his ears NUT then WHITE American History always has painted them as the Bad Guys and Custer, who attacked a peaceful village full of old people, women and children early in the piece, is painted as the Hero.


Most idols have feet of clay. The public persona is rarely reality. As much as I admired JFK and intellect, he was a S.O.B. who took advantage of and used women. Jimmy Carter gave a Central American right-wing dictator, who was abusing his people, millions of dollars to suppress them under the guise of fighting communism. Eisenhower forced out a democratically elected president of Guatemala and replaced him with a right-wing military dictatorship. So, it would seem the more one knows about our heros, the less they seem to deserve that status.


Tesla has always been one of my favorites and I have read and watch many things about him!


That Dude named Adolf Hitler took the Young, Defeated Country of Germany, the Scapegoat of WWI and turned it into a Military Juggernaut in less than a Decade. He had a Social Program were you give 6 months of your Youth to the Mother Land and in exchange you were treated to all kinds of Positive Perks during those 6 months... Please do Not Accuse me of Pro Nazi... I am just noticing History. Even "Bad Guys" loved Someone Real Good!!! There was that American pro football hero named OJ Simpson. That baseball hero nicknamed "Charlie Hustle" Pete Rose... I can continue... just right now we are hearing of the "annoying" antonio brown accused of Rape. It will never end!!!

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