I have always felt that the point of studying history is not the memorizing of some dates and facts, but rather the search for and discovery of the forces causing the results we see before our eyes as historical events.
History lost its value through the efforts of academics producing lists of meaningless dates and names, expecting everyone else to be as interested in their lists as they are.
The proper study of history is in reality a tremendously exciting field of endeavour—the exploits and tribulations detailed in this book will hopefully convince sceptics of this.
More importantly, history does indeed contain lessons—sobering ones, with massive implications. As this book will show, it raises issues which confronted past civilizations and which confront modern society—how to answer them will determine if our society will survive or vanish like those of old.
14 September 1998