Historian: Youth can be inspired to study history by visiting battlefields

Historians in the News
tags: military history, battlefields

Trying to spark a young person’s interest in history is a noble endeavor, according to Thomas Chambers, and in upstate New York it shouldn’t be much of a challenge.

“I went to a re-enactment in Ballston Centre when I was a kid in 1980 and I was hooked,” said Chambers, chair of the Niagara University History Department and a 1987 graduate of Shenendehowa.

“There had been a Loyalist invasion in that area in 1780, and watching all that history played out in front of me was really something. For me it was a touchstone event, and since then I’ve pretty much known what I’ve wanted to do with my life.”

For Chambers, that meant sharing his love of history through teaching and writing. On Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Saratoga National Park and Battlefield Visitors Center, Chambers will discuss his book, “Memories of War: Visiting Battlegrounds and Bonefields in the Early American Republic.”

Perfect setting

Chambers’ book, published in October of 2012, largely focuses on battlefields of the American Revolution and War of 1812, which makes upstate New York a perfect place to start.

“We went to Saratoga [battlefield] a couple of times when I was a kid, and I enjoyed visiting the place very much,” said Chambers, who was born in Niskayuna and moved out to Clifton Park as a young boy. “It’s a spot that is unspoiled from the time of the battle. It’s a very evocative place.”

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