When I was young, history textbooks confused me. Obviously, I was not a smart kid; and not very good at exams. The reason might be just as simple as this: the more I read, the more I got confused.
Several years later, I became a Buddhist; as always, being a Buddhist means learning Buddhism.That's how I started reading Buddhist history or religious history. Then, I finally understood that being confused is O.K. Confusion is just a normal by-product of explanation, and multi-explanation leads to confusion when someone is just not smart enough to understand that things could be understood in so many different ways.
Secular history and religious history both could raise issues about identity. Walking out of the maze of secular history and jumping into the garden of religious history, I see the power of culture and human minds. Human beings are good at shaping and changing their lives according to their needs; those smart ones are even better at shaping and changing history and other people's lives according to their personal needs.
Well, reading history is as good as reading people's minds, or some people's minds. Dharma is people's minds; it reflects people's minds. Buddhist history could be read like this, and the reading activity itself could be another way of cultivation, since reading could change, confuse, or clear one's mind.
And it works. Non-self heals the historical confusion of identity.