Posted by: a2cristina | April 4, 2017

Why Study History? By William H. McNeill – SENTENCE COMPLETION


Read the following text and choose which of the sentences below fits into the numbered gaps. There are NO extra sentences. Blank 0 has been answered as an example.

Why Study History? By William H. McNeill

Why should anyone bother learning about 0) ________________? Who cares about Cleopatra, Charlemagne, Montezuma or Confucius? And why worry about George Washington, or how democratic government and industrial society arose? Isn’t there quite enough to learn about the world today? Why add to the burden 1) __________? Historians ought to try to answer such questions 2) __________, and what it cannot do. But since no one can speak for the historical profession as a whole, this essay is no more than a personal statement, commissioned by the American Historical Association in the hope of convincing 3) __________and necessary for the education of effective citizens and worthy human beings. Historical knowledge is no more and no less than carefully and critically constructed collective memory. As such it can both make 4) __________in our private lives.

Without individual memory, a person literally loses his or her identity, and would not know how to act in encounters with others. Imagine waking up one morning unable 5) __________! Collective memory is similar, though its loss does not immediately paralyze everyday private activity. But ignorance of history – that is, absent or defective collective memory – does 6) __________, especially in encounters with outsiders, whether the outsiders are another nation, another civilization, or some special group within national borders.

Often it is enough for experts to know about outsiders, if their advice is listened to. But democratic citizenship and effective participation in the determination of public policy require citizens to share a collective memory, organized into historical knowledge and belief. Otherwise, agreement on  7) __________is difficult to achieve. Agreement on some sort of comfortable falsehood will not do, for 8) __________, we cannot expect to accomplish intended results, simply because we will fail to foresee how others are likely to react to anything we decide on. Nasty surprises and frustrating failures are sure to multiply under such circumstances.

This value of historical knowledge obviously justifies 9) __________, for the way things are descends from the way they were yesterday and the day before that. But in fact, institutions that govern a great deal of our everyday behavior took shape hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Having been preserved and altered across the generations to our own time, they are sure to continue into the future. The United States government is such an institution; so is the world market, armies and the Christian church. Skills like writing, and devices like bureaucracy are even older than Christianity, and 10) __________left behind by Stone Age hunters as much as twenty thousand years ago. Only an acquaintance with the entire human adventure on earth allows us to understand these dimensions of contemporary reality.

Memory is not something fixed and forever. As time passes, remembered personal experiences take on new meanings. A bitter disappointment may come to seem a blessing in disguise; a triumph may later turn sour, while something trivial may subsequently loom large-all because of what happens later on. Collective memory is quite the same. Historians are always at work reinterpreting the past, asking new questions, searching new sources and finding new meanings in old documents in order to bring the perspective of new knowledge and experience to bear on the task of understanding the past. This means, of course, that what we know and believe about history is always changing. In other words, our collective, codified memory alters with time just as personal memories do, and for the same reasons.

a. all concerned that the study of history is indeed worthwhile

b. by looking at the past

c. by saying what the study of history is good for

d. concerns that bother us still can be read into the cave paintings

e. deprive us of the best available guide for public action

f. teaching and learning about what happened in recent times

g. things that happened far away and long ago

h. to tell total strangers from family and friends

i. us wiser in our public choices and more richly human

j. what ought to be done in a given situation

k. without reasonably accurate knowledge of the past

0. G




  1. B
  2. C
  3. A
  4. I
  5. K
  6. E
  7. J
  8. K
  9. F
  10. D

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