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You're not a historian, but most historians will tell you that they make very discrete judgment as to what facts to omit in order to make their book into some shape, some length that can be managed.
I think it's outrageous if a historian has a 'leading thought' because it means they will select their material according to their thesis.
It is the job of the historian to say what is likely, and of faith to say what is possible.
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.
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.
A good historian is timeless; although he is a patriot, he will never flatter his country in any respect.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A historian is battling all the time to remember as much as possible.
I didn't realize the president was such an historian.
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.
I'm not a historian. I'm a politician. What is important for us is that the countries of the region and the people grow closer to each other, and that they are able to prevent aggression and injustice.
If you look at Gothic detailing right down to the bottom of a column or the capital of a column, it's a small version of the whole building; that's why, like dating the backbones of a dinosaur, a good historian can look at a detail of a Gothic building and tell you exactly what the rest of the building was, and infer the whole from the parts.
I'm a huge fan of the Navy. My father was a Naval historian, and I've been studying Naval battles forever.
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.
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.
I ain't no historian but I happen to savvy this incident.
Charles Marion Russell
The writer's language is to some degree the product of his own action; he is both the historian and the agent of his own language.
Paul de Man
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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