Honest, the bloke is not some nutter ... although, as I've told him more than once, he's certainly not your normal chap. I don't mean he's abnormal, just un-normal; not ordinary, not routine, not the kinda chap you meet every day. His childhood was rural with all the usual rural pursuits, so what with all that huntin', shootin' and fishin', guns were just another tool to be used. Then he studied geography, moving rapidly towards political geography as opposed to physical. Anything political seems inevitably to lead towards history and history, just as inevitably, leads to wars. And so we end up with the mechanism of war ...
But, I am very lucky, because alongside the parade of all that hardware and the encyclopedic knowledge, comes the background story. Yes, I get a walking-talking personal historian, who acccompanies me at my own pace, who answers my questions, who remembers the bits I liked before and can remind me of them. But the very best bit for me is the personal history.
Now the bloke is all about facts and the only first person narratives of validity for him are those of the major players, the movers and shakers. He's been fortunate enough to move in circles where he's heard one or two such narratives and I've been even luckier that he's shared those tales with me. Personally, I'm a total sucker for social or personal history. I'd happily read or hear the story of some bit-part player, but getting to hear the story of - well, as an example - a highly respected and decorated German WWII tank commander's war ... now that really WAS something. And do you know, I remember the "boring bits" about his tank far better than I remember that of any other. Nothing like a story to wrap around the facts for me. Does this mean that I prefer my facts as faction?
How do you feel about faction? Is it a great way to learn about history, or do you think it muddies the waters?