Silencing the Past

Whether it is because it’s the last book of the semester, or because of mere lack of understanding, I found Silencing the Past difficult to follow. Or perhaps it’s the repeated references to American history that is alien to me. But here goes.
In Silencing the Past, Michael-Rolph Trouillot wrties about how historians write history, and what history really is, and how certain aspects of history are “silenced”, which means that the bits that are not silenced is what we in the present know or perceive as history.
According to Trouillot, “at best, history is a story about power, a story about those who won” (Pg.5), which is something I was told back in high school, and to this day I believe it to be true. For example, most education systems in the present teach students about the events of the two world wars, mostly from the point of the victorious allies.
I found it quite fascinating to read about how Trouillot believes that, “history is another form of fiction is almost as old as history itself”, and then compares truth and fiction: “If I fabricate such sources…I have not written fiction, I have produced a fake” (Pg.5). However, what is the difference between a fake, and fiction? Fiction, by definition is a form of literature that is based on something that isn’t real- imaginative narration. I struggle to see how it differs from a “fake”, is it not also something that is not real, and is a form of imaginative narration?

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