Can Oral History Be Trusted

1444 WordsDec 17, 20106 Pages
“Can Oral History be Trusted” ? The 21st Century, a time we live in where nearly everything is documented. Whether it be written and put into archives or posted on Facebook. Things were much different in the early stage of man up until now. The cave people documented things by writing on walls, but can this be trusted? Even documents that have been written down cannot be trusted so can stories or myths have been written by people in their own diaries or in letters so loved ones be trusted? Essentially, when thinking about oral History stories such as Troy and how they were passed down the generations to come up with the story we now know. As it has been passed down for such a long time without being written down, or even if it has…show more content…
Some historians do believe that it is a waste of time because it is so unreliable but as this is sometimes the only way to gather information on the period or on certain things, what does this say about oral History? Of course however, where oral History has it’s disadvantages it has it’s advantages. Oral History can bring about some good information about the time that is being studied. Civil Servants for example can be a great source of information. This is because if they have been in the civil service, for example forty years, then they have witnessed change of policies, problems, pressure groups and ministers who made a difference. They can give us good insight into the time and what change took and place and why it took place, whether this can be trusted is the question though and it has to be said that in this case, civil servant records are more reliable than anything else because they are always going to talk about the problems and how it was fixed rather than pinpointing one thing and making it out to be amazing or terrible. Even if someone is not from the civil service they can still be helpful, they can provide information that was not already known and help “piece together events”4. An Historian once said “you can compare and collate documents, but you cannot create
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