Textbook versions of history gloss over a lot of details, especially when it comes to the lives of common people rather than the powerful and rich. The biographies of great figures add to that top-down perspective.
One of the things I love about genealogy, especially in nonconformist traditions or ethnic subcultures, is the way it opens alternative understandings of the hopes, dreams, and struggles of life outside of the spotlight.
I look for it in fiction, too, as well as poetry.
My own novel What’s Left springs from that kind of investigation from a Greek-American experience. My new The Secret Side of Jaya adds three other takes from the agricultural prairie, the Ozarks, and finally Native American strands.
Maybe histories aren’t always told by the victors. Not if you look closer or take a longer timespan.