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January 4th, 2023
People believe that the writing of history is simple. Those who study mathematics must learn a specialized language, different from the everyday. There is also jargon and specialized languages in other social sciences and humanities. Economists and sociologists are comfortable with tables and graphs.
It is often said that historians should write like novelists and make stories. It's not that easy. Most of the history books I know of are non-narrative.
In the United States, there is a genre called "non-fiction." Usually, they are books by public historians, journalists, and novelists, but not by historians. Historians don't just tell stories; we must explain them.
We write something similar to the essay, with some parts of narration, and, if necessary, we use the specialized languages of economics, sociology, or anthropology.
Most historians are unaware of the difficulty involved in writing history. There should be courses in universities to teach historical writing. Although, perhaps, not having a grasp can be helpful. When I think about the characteristics and the challenges of historical writing, I realize that I have written about a thousand words in two or three hours, which I correct and rewrite for a long time.