One comment I recently read from a historian: "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."
I love reading about particular periods of history; the more I learn, the more I'm convinced we can and must learn from the past. However, viewing "the past" from the perspective of the peoples of that particular time and place isn't easy. I can't say that I've even come close, although for certain times/places I've easily read over a dozen books written from different perspectives. Which led to reading even MORE books about the pre-history of the events, books about the histories of the people involved, "how" they habitually "thought" and "felt", "acted and reacted", "popularly held beliefs", "how they perceived themselves", "music and culture", etc. And humor -- I can read about "things they considered funny", but I don't laugh. I don't get the joke.
If anyone knows any methods for getting to "there" from "here" in order to adequately understand the how's and why's of the past, so that we can correctly apply the same lessons and principles to the present, I'd be interested in learning.