Bringing History to Life
Activities TOC 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Activity Eight - Interview

One student plays the part of the figure from history and must do enough research to answer any questions posed by the class. In order to move past the obvious factoids like "When were you born?" a team of student interviewers works to find out the person's greatest and worst moments. They know enough to select from the Biography Questions of Import.

This statue of Tzar Nikolai "the Liberator" of Russia in the center of Sofia, Bulgaria struck my eye when visiting in February. It depicts his "liberation" of Bulgaria from the Turks during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.

If we had him in the room on the interview couch, we might ask questions like the following:

  1. Why did you decide to free Bulgaria from the Turks?
  2. How much did it cost you and Russia?
  3. Is there anything you would change in the way you conducted the war?
  4. What would you predict about the future of Bulgaria?
  5. Do you think of Bulgaria as belonging to Russia?
  6. How do you want history to remember you?
  7. What is the most important part of your job as Emperor?
  8. What are the greatest weaknesses of your Empire?
  9. What are you doing to meet those problems?
  10. How will you die?

Imagine that you could interview Lin Tse-hsü — the architect of the Chinese campaign to end opium addiction back in the 1830s that led to the First Opium War. What questions would you want to ask him?

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