12 February 2008

Historic Amnesia

Brits are losing their history (and perhaps their collective mind), according to a recent poll which showed that nearly a quarter think Winston Churchill was a myth while the majority believe that Sherlock Holmes was real. While I love to watch old Sherlock Holmes films, this is not a little shocking:

  • The survey found that 47 percent thought the 12th century English king Richard the Lionheart was a myth.
  • 23 percent thought World War II Prime Minister Churchill was made up. The same percentage thought Crimean War nurse Florence Nightingale did not actually exist.
  • Three percent thought Charles Dickens, one of Britain's most famous writers, is a work of fiction himself.
  • Indian political leader Mahatma Gandhi and Battle of Waterloo victor the Duke of Wellington also appeared in the top 10 of people thought to be myths.
  • 58 percent thought Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective Holmes actually existed.
  • 33 percent thought the same of W. E. Johns' fictional pilot and adventurer Biggles.

Sadly, recent news suggests Americans aren’t much brighter.

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