Who’s the coolest person you know? Think hard. If you’re being honest with yourself, you’ll have to admit he or she is probably an historian. Don’t feel strange. America is with you. The sale of history books rose 6.6% last year for some 14.6 million copies. Entire channels devoted to historical material enrapture U.S. audiences on a daily basis. And if that’s not enough, people have taken to paying top dollar to spend time with their favorite historical thinker. A recent fundraiser for the New York Historical Society saw people give a minimum of $5,000 to be seated near Andrew Carnegie biographer David Nasaw. While the experts can’t agree as to the cause of the past’s reinvigorated allure in American culture, it remains certain that historians are eating up the present. Take that, computer science.
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