This feature appears in the June ’16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.
If you’re like me, you’re somewhere between “gravely concerned” and “absolutely appalled” about the lack of interest in, and awareness of, history these days. News stories and anecdotal evidence abound with examples of our shared cultural ignorance, and it seems to be growing worse, not better.
Entire books have been and will be written on this subject, but in the brief space I have here, I want to offer up a simple life hack that might help awaken an interest in our shared American story—old magazines.
Whether it’s a back issue of American Rifleman from the 1950s, a teen magazine from the 1960s, a copy of Life magazine from WWII, or any other artifact of history, the daily lives and experiences of those who came before us are presented on every page. In articles and advertisements—and often in vivid color—you’re able to explore the past in a way that has nothing to do with rote memorization and dry, dusty presentation.
Pick up a magazine from the year of your birth, or from the year your mom, dad or one of your grandparents were born (they’re easy to find online). For a couple of bucks you’ll get a great history lesson—hopefully one that will inspire even more learning. We can’t forget the importance of how we got to where we are today, because if we do we’ll never be able to hold on to what we have.
Reading an old copy of American Rifleman won’t automatically turn someone into a history professor, but it may get someone more interested in learning more about their Second Amendment-protected rights.