I wish I had the school books my mom and uncles had in the 1930s. I read them as a teen spending summers on my grandma's farm in rural Kentucky.
What struck me most about them is how wrong the most learned scholars can be in interpreting current events or history in the short term. For instance, these text I read from the mid-1930s gave much praise to the fascists and communists of Europe for their progress in modernization of their countries.
Mussolini got the trains to run on time. Germany advanced public works, tamed hyper inflation. But less than a decade after those texts were written, the touted fascists had plunged the globe into world war.
I also read a set of encyclopedias from around 1911 pretty much from cover to cover. The idealism of America in the blossoming "progressive" age was fascinating. But the views, presented as current for the era, often conflicted or contrasted with the views of the era in which I read them, the late 1960s.
In reading such things, I formed opinions that have stayed with me. Among them: Societies that build on tradition, respect their past, and move forward in a measured direction tend to do well. Those that jump headlong into rapid change or that trust in revolutionary leaders who promote Utopian radical change often soon realize they've made deals with devils who take them down a destructive road.