your 'ramblings' are actually a very thought provoking series of thoughts on the nature of historical experience and how it is assembled and transmitted.
I think perhaps I had caught the wrong end of the stick when when you first referred to 'narrative'. To you it seems to be a soul-less perambulation through dates, kings or battles of the kind contained in old-fashioned text books. To me, 'narrative' suggests something else entirely, the voguish popular history style of Longitude, the Surgeon of Crowthorne or Stalingrad. That is a style of writing that has influenced what I've tried to do in my last two books. It is about following the journey of a man, an army, or indeed a battalion within it, and using some of the techniques of the novel or screenplay writer to give it a compelling arc from its starting point through to its conclusion. Of course, invention must be kept to the minimum in this formula, or you end up with something that has no integrity as history. But it is evident from the results on our battlefield - the bookstore - that this technique is successful in bringing in many thousands,sometimes hundreds of thousands of readers who might not otherwise select a work of history when buying as book.
Actually, if you chart what the average 16 year old, the older person with no geat knowledge of history and the specilist reader will go for, you end up with totally different styles of history. You have reached a point in your reading where an author who embraces doubt or who has a chapter of interpretation or historiography as long as the factual one is an author to be treasured. But the young reader or the non-specialist are still out there and, very often, thirsting for something that satisfies a less sophisticated palate.
all the best