History’s Winners and Losers



Winston Churchill once said: “History is written by the victors.” This means that the winners of wars and elections have the power to control what is written in books, what is taught in schools, and what is shown in the media, among other things. But is this isn’t always necessarily true. Quite a few influential pieces of writing have come from the losing side.
Winston Churchill(英國首相邱吉爾)曾說過:「歷史是贏家所寫的」。這代表贏了戰爭或是選舉贏的人,不只掌控著書籍文字、學校的教導內容、媒體上的言論,還有其他的東西... 但事實並非都是如此,還是有少數具有影響力的寫作片段是由戰敗方所寫。


Sometimes the losers have a more powerful influence on history. One case is the Fall of Constantinople, which happened in 1453. Constantinople was the old capital of present-day Turkey. The Byzantine Empire was taken over by the Ottoman Empire, and although the Ottoman Empire was victorious, many Greek scholars (who were part of the Byzantine Empire) left the area and headed west. They wrote about how unreasonably violent the Ottomans were, and the public later became biased against them.


What happened after the American Civil War also shows how losers can influence history. After the war, the Lost Cause movement came about. The people that made up this movement were members of the American South. They argued that they were the righteous ones, and that the North had had way more weapons and resources. They also tried to make slavery seem like a less important aspect of the war. The books they wrote became very popular. This version of the war made the people of the South seem like the real winners.

Vocabulary 好字精選

1. influential (adj.) having great influence on someone or something有影響力的
The Beatles were a very influential English rock band.   

2. present-day (adj.) relating to the current period of time 當今
Present-day technology is incredible! 

3. victorious (adj.) having won a victory 勝利的,獲勝的
The Falcons played the Vikings on Sunday, and the Falcons were victorious.   

4. head (v) to move forward toward a point specified 前往
I think I’m going to head home. See you later!      

5. unreasonably (adverb) in a way that is not guided by or based on good sense不合理地,不講理地
Kyle was unreasonably angry about the performance last night. 

6. violent (adj.) using physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something暴力的,劇烈的,猛烈的
The Olsen brothers were two of the most violent criminals that ever lived.  

7. biased (adj.) having unfair views about someone or something存有偏見的
She said the movie was good, but I think she’s biased because her father directed it. 

Phrases and Sentence Patterns 句型解析

1. among other things (phrase) used when you are mentioning one or more things out of a larger number除此之外...,還有...
I can play guitar, flute, drums, and piano, among other things. 

2. take over (phrasal verb) to take control 接管
Mr. Thompson wants to take over his father’s business one day.  

3. make up (something) (phrasal verb) to combine together to form something larger 結合
The leadership team is made up of three members: Johnny, Jimmy, and Jeremy. 
此領導團隊由三個成員所組成:Johnny、 Jimmy和Jeremy。

Exercise 課後練習題

1. My mom was very _______________ in my life because she always believed I could become a great artist.

2. _______________ education has many problems; some of them are even worse than before.

3. Two basketball teams are competing today. One will lose and the other will be _______________.

4. He’s _______________ toward the library.

5. Mrs. Daffodil was _______________ upset with her son for staying up late.

6. It was obviously a _______________ crime because there is blood everywhere.

7. I don’t believe you because people say your opinion is _______________.

8. I’m good at playing basketball, cooking Chinese food, and planning vacations, _______________.

9. That evil man wants to _______________ the world! We have to stop him!

10. As far as we know, there are about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars that

1. influential
2. Present-day
3. victorious
4. heading
5. unreasonably
6. violent
7. biased
8. among other things
9. take over
10. make up

Comprehension Questions 閱讀理解

1. What is the purpose of this passage?  
a. To explain why winners fail to influence history. 
b. To change people’s minds about the Fall of Constantinople and the American Civil War.
c. To show that losers can still have a strong effect on history.
d. To show why Winston Churchill’s quote is important.

2. According to the passage, which of the following is true about the members of the Lost Cause movement?
a. They were from both the North and the South.
b. They tried to show how important slavery was.
c. They argued that they were the good people in the fight.
d. Their books weren’t read by many people.


1. 這篇文章的主旨為何?
a. 解釋為何贏家無法影響歷史。  
b. 改變人們對伊斯坦堡陷落及美國內戰的看法。
c. 顯示輸家對歷史仍可以有深遠的影響。
d. 顯示Winston Churchill(英國首相邱吉爾)的引述為何這麼重要。

2. 根據文章內文,以下對於敗局命定論的成員的敘述,何者正確?
a. 他們來自北方與南方。
b. 他們試著顯示奴隸的重要性。
c. 他們主張他們是正義的一方。
d. 沒有太多人看過此書。


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