This new book by Margaret MacMillan looks like a worthy read on the topic of the use and abuse of history.
Apparently one of her conclusions is;
That history’s ultimate utility does not lie in its predictive or even its explanatory value, but in its ability to teach humility, to nurture an appreciation of the limits on our capacity to see the past clearly or to know fully the historical determinants of our own brief passage in time.
I think I can subscribe to that. If anyone has read it give me a shout!