When Memory and History Collide
In writing biographies, I always unearth places where the client’s memory collides with written history, and in that intersection we discover more of the truth of what happened.
Often, a person’s recollections of World War II add new details to what has been written in history books. That is why writing memoirs is my great passion. It is also one reason why reputable online forums are important to this work–to cross-reference memory with written history. In looking at both, we find the most complete version of the truth.
Yesterday when my World War II client received the most recent chapter of her book from me, she discovered something she never knew before. She was in Tokyo when U.S. pilot Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle bombed the city of 6.5 million people in 1942. She believed, she had been told, that there was only one plane, Doolittle’s plane, and that he had only bombed the city of Tokyo.
Reading the chapter I sent her, she realized for the first time– 50 years later–that there had been 16 planes and they had bombed multiple targets across Japan. Her understanding both of her own life and this part of World War II have been opened wide as a result.