Today was a morning of inaccuracies.
It seemed like everything we picked up tried to feed us baloney.
First we read “Leif the Lucky”, a book that comes highly recommended by many people in the know.
We didn’t make it past the first page before we’d found an inaccuracy.
Can you spot it?
It’s kind of a biggie.
It was actually Erik the Red’s father who was exiled from Norway. Erik the Red was only exiled from Iceland.
I really dislike when books contain errors.
For the rest of this book, regardless of its reputed ‘quality’, I kept wondering, “Can I believe this?”
In fact I’ve planned an activity where we are going to check the remaining facts.
I was very disappointed with this book. I paid good money for it and expected a lot more.
The second book we picked up today, “The Great Wall of China”, also contained inaccuracies.
I couldn’t believe our bad luck…or is that bad choice.
Without a doubt, this book was a total waste of money.
The inaccuracies in this book came thick and fast.
It retells the story of the building of the great wall in China during the Qin dynasty, but they’ve completely muddled up all of the different walls.
On one page, the dimensions used were the dimensions of the wall during the much later Ming dynasty.
On another page, the book told us that the first wall used bricks in its building
when, in reality, it was constructed with rammed earth and stone without mortar, in places where stone was available.
All the way through the book they confused the wall during the Ming dynasty with the one during the Qin dynasty.
They are very different walls and yet the author seems to consider them all one and the same.
The one we think of when we think of the Great Wall of China is the wall from the Ming dynasty.
It even perpetuated the myth that bodies were buried within the wall.
Archaeologists have shown that this is not at all true.
Yes, there were lots of deaths but these unfortunate people were buried near the wall and not in the wall.
To bury the bodies within the wall would have weakened the integrity of the wall as the bodies decomposed.
Oh and while I’m on the topic of myths related to the wall,
no, you can’t see the wall from the moon or space.
If you could, wouldn’t you expect to see far larger constructions too?
So what did we learn from all of these inaccuracies in our books?
We learned that we absolutely must read widely,
from more than just one source.
In this way we’ll increase our chances of picking up these inaccuracies as we read.
If we hadn’t read book after book on the Great Wall of China,
and documentary after documentary after yet another documentary,
we would probably be none the wiser and perfectly happy to accept the information being presented to us.
And imagine what kind of education I’d be providing my children.
You’ll be happy to know that the rest of our day was filled by far more accurate books