Real success is finding your life
work in the work that you love.
A nation that forgets its past can function no better than an individual with amnesia.
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.
I just thank my father and mother, my lucky stars, that I had the advantage of an education in the humanities.
My shorthand answer is that I try to write the kind of book that I would like to read. If I can make it clear and interesting and compelling to me, then I hope maybe it will be for the reader.
When I read that the British army had landed thirty-two thousand troops - and I had realized, not very long before, that Philadelphia only had thirty thousand people in it - it practically lifted me out of my chair.
I work very hard on the writing, writing and rewriting and trying to weed out the lumber.
May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.
To me history ought to be a source of pleasure. It isn't just part of our civic responsibility. To me it's an enlargement of the experience of being alive, just the way literature or art or music is.
I'm drawn particularly to stories that evolve out of the character of the protagonist.
There's an awful temptation to just keep on researching. There comes a point where you just have to stop, and start writing.
I had been writing for about twelve years. I knew pretty well how you could find things out, but I had never been trained in an academic way how to go about the research.
With the Truman book, I wrote the entire account of his experiences in World War I before going over to Europe to follow his tracks in the war. When I got there, there was a certain satisfaction in finding I had it right - it does look like that.
You can't be a full participant in our democracy if you don't know our history.
Every book is a new journey. I never felt I was an expert on a subject as I embarked on a project.
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