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But in answer to your question about the conspiracy angle, I think that any historian worth his salt, and this is where I fault Stephen Ambrose and a lot of these guys who attack me - not all of life is a result of conspiracy by any means! Accident occurs alongside conspiracy.
Reason is the historian, but passions are the actors.
The search for the truth for truth's sake is the mark of the historian.
B. H. Liddell Hart
The first duty of an historian is to be on guard against his own sympathies.
James Anthony Froude
The historian's job is to aggrandize, promoting accident to inevitability and innocuous circumstance to portent.
Now, to describe the process of the Wrapped Reichstag, which went from 1971 to '95, there is an entire book about that, because each one of our projects has its own book. The book is not an art book, meaning it's not written by an art historian.
The novelist's obligation to remake the sensuous texture of a vanished world is also the historian's. The strongest fiction writers often do deep research to make the thought and utterances of lost time credible.
The novelist wants to know how things will turn out; the historian already knows how things turned out, but wants to know why they turned out the way they did.
I lay no claim, it should be clear, to being a historian. So in my books, the intimate and personal have been intertwined inextricably with the broad and historical.
A historian is battling all the time to remember as much as possible.
A good historian is timeless; although he is a patriot, he will never flatter his country in any respect.
While historians may go on attempting grand, sweeping and defining narratives, they work in a time when readers know that another narrative always lies in wait, and that the more intelligent an historian is, the more tentative and self-scrutinizing the tone.
I worked for a brief spell as a journalist, but soon I discovered that I didn't want to be a journalist - I wanted to be a historian.
Because I'm an art historian, I have some experience of writing that comes out of close attention. That's what really art history is. You're looking at something very closely, and you try to write in a meticulous way about it.
Popularizing - much less venturing beyond one's secure turf - was frowned upon for many years. I think I probably internalized the prohibition, even though I was - and knew I was - among the best speakers and writers of my age cohort. I don't mean I was the best historian - a quite different measure.
As a financial historian, I was quite isolated in Oxford - British historians are supposed to write about kings - so the quality of intellectual life in my field is much higher at Harvard. The students work harder there.
What strikes the historian surveying anti-Semitism worldwide over more than two millennia is its fundamental irrationality. It seems to make no sense, any more than malaria or meningitis makes sense.
I consider myself a writer who happens to write about history, rather than a historian. I was an English major in college. What I've learned about history is in the field, so to speak. Going into the archives and working with it directly.
As a historian, I love every little detail, but whole long passages about wood paneling and journeys on horseback and every stop at every inn had to go out the window. I decided the history in the books should be like spice in a soup - a little went a long way. Like cilantro.
I didn't realize the president was such an historian.
But I'm a historian. I wasn't interested in just being a producer, I was interested in doing research and presenting that research to a general public.
Bernice Johnson Reagon
So with truth - there is a certain moment when one can say, this is the truth and here I put a dot, a stop, and I go to another thing. A judge has to put an end to a deliberation. But for a historian, there's never an end to the past. It can go on and on and on.
A. B. Yehoshua
Ironically, the more intensive and far-reaching a historian's research, the greater the difficulty of citation. As the mountain of material grows, so does the possibility of error.
Doris Kearns Goodwin
I conduct very few interviews with veterans. The contemporaneous, or near-contemporaneous, record for WWII is so spectacularly deep that latter-day recollections are largely unnecessary for a historian. Of course, in considering any account, I'm looking for additional sources that can confirm or enlarge that version of events.
Whether religion is man-made is a question for philosophers or theologians. But the forms are man-made. They are a human response to something. As a historian of religions, I am interested in those expressions.
C. S. Lewis
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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