This morning on the radio there was an interview with Gen. David Petraeus. The host, Renee Montagne decribed Gen. Petraeus as a student of history, “and “quite a serious one.” ‘I ruminated on that descriptive phrase through quite a bit of my drive to work. When googling the phrase I’ve discovered that President Obama has used it to describe himself, and that bloggers use it with some frequency.
I’m not a historian, in that I am not paid to disseminate history and I do not have any advanced degrees. I am not an academic since I am neither a matriculated student nor a professor of any kind. I reenact history, but don’t necessarily call myself a reenactor, since I don’t recreate battles, and don’t do the Civil War or Revolutionary War. In the Podcast Stephen and I describe ourselves and our listeners as Living Historians, but we’ve never tried to define it, and I’m not sure that most people would know what I meant if I used it in the course of conversation. I certainly do like learning about history, so I feel it is fair to say that I am a student of history but does that really go far enough? Maybe for conversations with most people, it does.