Reacting to the Past is a series of historical role-playing games. Students are given elaborate game books which place them in moments of historical controversy and intellectual ferment. The class becomes a public body of some sort; students, in role, become particular persons from the period, often as members of a faction. Their purpose is to advance a policy agenda and achieve their victory objectives. To do so, they will undertake research and write speeches and position papers; and they will also give formal speeches, participate in informal debates and negotiations, and otherwise work to win the game. After a few preparatory lectures, the game begins and the players are in charge; the instructor serves as adviser or “Gamemaster.” Outcomes sometimes differ from the actual history; a post-mortem session at the end of the game sets the record straight.
This instructor's manual includes numerous print-and-play components, including character role sheets. A separate document with "table tent" name tags also is available.