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Every Action, Big Or Small, Makes History

Dwight D. Eisenhower was an avid reader of history. In his memoir, At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends, the former president tells about his childhood days lost in books about Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Persia. He loved the stories about famous warriors, kings, and philosophers—the “peaks and promontories,” as he calls it, of history. But writing his memoir in the 1960s, as an older and wiser man, his view of history has changed. He’s come to realize that history isn’t just about the celebrities of each era, but about the actions of millions and millions of everyday people. It’s their actions and decisions that have sustained the forward movement of history throughout the ages. Frank Haskell was one of his examples—a Civil War soldier that had coordinated a straggled and outnumbered Union front against a block of Confederates at Gettysburg. In fifteen minutes, Haskell fortified the formation and prevented a key breakthrough …

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