Historian Quotes

Historian Quotes by George W. Bush, Thomas Carlyle, Peter Earle, Agnes Repplier, Dennis Prager, David Garrow and many others.

I have made a lot of tactical decisions that historians

I have made a lot of tactical decisions that historians will look back and say: He shouldn’t have done that. He shouldn’t have made that decision. And I’ll take responsibility for them. I’m human.
George W. Bush
Histories are as perfect as the Historian is wise, and is gifted with an eye and a soul.
Thomas Carlyle
Pirate historians have now discovered social history, the branch of history which in the last two decades or so has been the most dynamic and inventive, in both senses of the word.
Peter Earle
An historian without political passions is as rare as a wasp without a sting.
Agnes Repplier
I recall asking the late eminent liberal historian Arthur Schlesinger, in a public forum in Los Angeles in the late 1970s, if he would say that America was, all things considered, a better, i.e., more moral, society than Soviet society. He said he would not.
Dennis Prager
One of the great challenges of being a modern historian is interviewing multiple people who were all there for something, some event. No one’s version matches up 100% with other people’s, even if it’s three or four people on a conference call.
David Garrow
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
In African-American culture, there’s often a family historian, someone who does the genealogy or keeps the family Bible. I became aware that might be one role the poet has.
Kevin Young
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.
Nathaniel Philbrick
It didn’t occur to me that I could be a writer until college. I saw all these people around me training to be doctors, or historians, or C.E.O.’s or whatnot, and I thought, Maybe I want to be a writer.
John Brandon
Fatal human malice is the staple of narrators, original sin the mother-fluid of historians. But it is a risky enterprise to have to write of virtue.
Thomas Keneally
What is a historian, anyway? It is someone who uses facts to record the development of humanity.
Lion Feuchtwanger
Generations from now, when historians write about these times, they might note that, in the early decades of the twenty-first century, the United States succeeded in its great and historic mission–it globalized the world. But along the way, they might write, it forgot to globalize itself.
Fareed Zakaria
I really love acting, but I also really want to be a historian, so its really confusing.
Certainly professionally, yes [I was interested more in history]. And literary criticism, the structure of poetry. But it is primarily as a historian that I work, although text criticism and literary criticism are very much a part of my interests.
Frank Moore Cross
I’m a historian. The act of predicting the future discomfits me, in any event – and the bigger the prediction, the more distrusting I am.
Rick Perlstein
All historians, even the most scientific, have bias, if in no other sense than the determination not to have any.
Carl L. Becker
Periods’ are largely an invention of the historians. The poets themselves are not conscious of living in any period and refuse to conform to the scheme.
C. S. Lewis
Futurism today is led by science-fiction writers, by sociologists, by historians. Now, I have nothing against them. I’m sure they do great work. But they’re not scientists. They’re clueless.
Michio Kaku
Those who read the fiction assume that, because I’m also a historian, I know what I’m talking about.
Saul David
It has always been difficult for historians to fully grasp the intelligence of painters.
Dore Ashton
The history of thought, and therefore all history, is the re-enactment of past thought in the historian’s own mind.
Robin G. Collingwood
We are all historians in our small way.
Jeanette Winterson
There are very interesting books about these events, for instance one by a very well-known American historian named William R. Polk called Violent Politics. It’s a record of what are basically guerrilla wars from the American Revolution right up through the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Noam Chomsky
In Africa I discovered what the true purpose of a musician is. We are historians, and it is our purpose to tell the people the true story of our past, and to extend a better vision of the future.
Randy Weston
Future historians will surely see us as having created in the media a Frankenstein monster whom no one knows how to control ordirect, and marvelthat weshould have so meekly subjected ourselves to its destructive and often malign influence.
Malcolm Muggeridge
I tried, after I wrote ‘Twilight,’ to read ‘The Historian,’ because it was the big thing that summer. But I can’t read other people’s vampires. If it’s too close, I get upset; if it’s too far away, I get upset. It just makes me very neurotic.
Stephenie Meyer
They [slaves] have stabbed themselves for freedom-jumped into the waves for freedom-starved for freedom-fought like very tigers for freedom! But they have been hung, and burned, and shot-and their tyrants have been their historians!
Lydia M. Child
The aim of the historian, like that of the artist, is to enlarge our picture of the world, to give us a new way of looking at things.
James Joll
The duty of a historian is simply to understand and then convey that understanding, no more than that.
Antony Beevor
I would not be at all surprised to find that it was for gold that Cain committed the first murder. (It happened a very long time ago, and Holy Writ, though no doubt divinely inspired, is a trifle careless about details. God is not a historian).
Barbara Mertz
As a historian I refuse to recognize an epochal boundary before the fact.
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski
Events are moving so fast and what in one moment seems impossible, the next is happening. I’m sure historians will, in time, provide theories and analysis, but for now I think most of us simply want the tide stemmed.
Lucy Powell
It doesn’t upset artists to find out that artists used lenses or mirrors or other aids, but it certainly does upset the art historians.
Chuck Close
History was a series of decisions about what to tell and a series of accidents about what survived after telling. Not truth, but a historian could search for truth, and the search was as worthy as any other human activity.
David Drake
It has become too easy to see that the luckless men of the past lived by mistakes, even absurd beliefs, so we may well fail in a decent respect for them, and forget that historians of the future will point out that we too lived by myths.
Herbert J. Muller
The man who first gave history a recognized place in science was an ancient historian.
James Henry Breasted
The fifth century BC historian Herodotus called Egypt ‘the gift of the Nile’. The Egyptians themselves went a lot further. They claimed that their sacred river had its source among the stars.
Robert Bauval
It is a very good exercise, at least from a historian’s point of view, to imagine oneself a devout pagan while reading various Christian writings.
Ramsay MacMullen
Great historians can make the discovery of the real story more exciting than the romantic myth. Stacy Schiff, a great historian as well as a wonderful writer, peels away the layers to reveal the true Cleopatraa much more interesting woman than the Hollywood version and, as it turns out, a formidable queen after all.
Evan Thomas
The ideal historian goes to the mouth of the tomb, cries: “Lazarus, come forth!” and sets him that was dead for ages, blinking and passionate, in the sun.
Austin O’Malley
He is the resounding human rebuttal to all Marxist historians who think history is the story of vast and impersonal economic forces. The point of the Churchill Factor is that one man can make all the difference.
Boris Johnson
In history as it comes to be written, there is usually some Spirit of the Age which historians can define, but the shape of things is seldom so clear to those who live them. To most thoughtful men it has generally seemed that theirs was an Age of Confusion.
Joseph Wood Krutch
When we’re interested in something, everything around us appears to refer to it (the mystics call these phenomena “signs,” the sceptics “coincidence,” and psychologists “concentrated focus,” although I’ve yet to find out what term historians should use).
Paulo Coelho
No great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men.
Thomas Carlyle
Alas! In vain historians pry and probe: The same wind blows, and in the same live robe Truth bends her head to fingers curved cupwise; And with a woman’s smile and a child’s care Examines something she is holding there Concealed by her own shoulder from our eyes.
Vladimir Nabokov
The corporations plainly want academic scholarship to create a web of mystification that will avoid any public awareness of the way in which power actually functions in the society, and the faculty has caught the message and they do it magnificently.
Noam Chomsky
To a historian libraries are food, shelter, and even muse.
Barbara W. Tuchman
History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.
Ambrose Bierce
Both the historian and the novelist view history as the struggle of a tiny minority, able and determined to make judgments, which is up against a vast and densely packed majority of the blind, who are led by their instincts and unable to think for themselves.
Lion Feuchtwanger
History does not have sides, although historians do.
Jay Nordlinger
Chronology, so the saying goes, is the last refuge of the feeble-minded and the only resort for historians.
Joseph J. Ellis
My basic notion regarding the matter of historical recognition is basically, it’s a matter that should be left to the good hands of historians and experts.
Shinzo Abe
History had its own way of explaining things. The way historians explain things is by telling a story.
Donald Kagan
Wherever Christianity has produced what historians call a ‘popular piety’ claiming to be part of the national heritage, anti-Christian reaction among the intelligentsia has followed.
J. I. Packer
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.
Teju Cole
Men cannot be made good by the state, but they can easily be made bad. Morality depends on liberty.
Lord Acton
His [Jesus’] historians, having brought him into the world in a supernatural manner, were obliged to take him out again in the same manner, or the first part of the story must have fallen to the ground.
Thomas Paine
The good tidings which the historian of the past brings with throbbing heart may be lost in a void the very moment he opens his mouth.
Walter Benjamin
Wolf Hall attempts to duplicate not the historian’s chronology but the way memory works: in leaps, loops, flashes.
Hilary Mantel
As a master of graphic creation, as teacher, historian, and roving ambassador of comics, Jerry Robinson has ensured that future generations of talented kids will continue to imagine and then put marks on paper.
Pete Hamill
Well goodness knows, goodness knows what historians will write.
Alexander Downer
Truman is now seen as a near-great president because he put in place the containment doctrine boosted by the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan and NATO, which historians now see as having been at the center of American success in the cold war.
Robert Dallek
Study the historian before you begin to study the facts.
Edward Hallett Carr
Art historians agree that Da Vinci’s paintings contain hidden levels of meaning that go well beneath the surface of the paint. Many scholars believe his work intentionally provides clues to a powerful secret… a secret that remains protected to this day by a clandestine brotherhood of which Da Vinci was a member.
Dan Brown
It is certain that the greatest poets, orators, statesmen, and historians, men of the most brilliant and imposing talents, have labored as hard, if not harder, than day laborers; and that the most obvious reason why they have been superior to other men is that they have taken more pains than other men.
Orison Swett Marden
I once interviewed David Herbert Donald, the Lincoln historian, and we talked about how one deals with the secondary sources and the previous biographies. He said something which kept coming back to me as I worked on Cleopatra, which was: ‘There’s no further new material; there are only new questions.’
Stacy Schiff
You don’t believe that the Earth is round only if you’re an astronaut. You don’t believe Napoleon existed only if you’re a historian. You believe these things because they’re facts, proved by evidence.
Richard Dawkins
I watched tapes and became a historian of the sport, and tried to combine certain elements and find things in the gym and saw what worked for me.
Holt McCallany
It is the job of the historian to say what is likely, and of faith to say what is possible.
Reza Aslan
Sallust is indisputably one of the best historians among the Romans, both for the purity of his language and the elegance of his style.
Edmund Burke
Historians are left forever chasing shadows, painfully aware of their inability ever to reconstruct a dead world in its completeness however thorough or revealing their documentation. We are doomed to be forever hailing someone who has just gone around the corner and out of earshot.
Simon Schama
A Poet, Naturalist, and Historian, Who left scarcely any style of writing untouched, And touched nothing that he did not adorn.
Samuel Johnson
It will be one of the tragedies of Christian history if future historians record that at the height of the twentieth century the church was one of the greatest bulwarks of white supremacy.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Historians are presumed to be unable to “do psychology,” which is “mystical” anyway, so they are forced to accept the most “rational” explanations… “and it is on these that history is built.
Lloyd deMause
We are often prophets to others only because we are our own historians.
Sophie Swetchine
The middle sort of historians (of which the most part are) spoil all; they will chew our meat for us.
Michel de Montaigne
I think there’s a tide that tends to carry historians back to the past.
Ron Chernow
I have learned more [from Balzac] than from all the professional historians, economists, and statisticians put together.
Friedrich Engels
Every one of course represents the spirit of his age, but there is an eternal aspect of the Spirit of every age which may be caught. To recreate the past from the mutilated fragments of the present is the task of the Historian.
Oscar Wilde
I’m not a teacher; I’m not a historian. I’m trying to create a world for my characters.
Colson Whitehead
The greatest poet who ever wrote about rowing is Virgil, the greatest historian is Thucydides, but the greatest imagination ever to turn its attention to the sport is that of painter, Thomas Eakins.
Barry S. Strauss
History is too important to be left to the historians.
Robert Harris
I called it ‘Historian’ because I feel like most of my creative efforts are efforts to capture something or to document it.
Lucy Dacus
I have a dreadful feeling in my bones that future historians may write of the May 2014 elections: “This was the wake-up call from which Europe failed to wake up.”
Timothy Garton Ash
Since God himself cannot change the past, He is obliged to tolerate the existence of historians.
Samuel Butler
Our understanding of the thought of the past is liable to be the more adequate, the less the historian is convinced of the superiority of his own point of view, or the more he is prepared to admit the possibility that he may have to learn something, not merely about the thinkers of the past, but from them.
Leo Strauss
We may need simple and heroic legends for that peculiar genre of literature known as the textbook. But historians must also labor to rescue human beings from their legends in science if only so that we may understand the process of scientific thought aright.
Stephen Jay Gould
Land surveyors can spend as much time reading legislation, bylaws, and engineering documents as we spend in front of an instrument in the field or calculating coordinates for a subdivision. We are mathematicians, historians, project managers, advocates, engineers, and even chainsaw operators!
Mark Mason
Each time history repeats itself, the price goes up.
Ronald Wright
I think it’s outrageous if a historian has a ‘leading thought’ because it means they will select their material according to their thesis.
Antony Beevor
History is the invention of historians.
Napoleon Bonaparte
The historian will tell you what happened. The novelist will tell you what it felt like.
E. L. Doctorow
If you will protest courageously, and yet with dignity and Christian love, when the history books are written in future generations, the historians will have to pause and say, “There lived a great people-a black people-who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
I’m not an historian but I can get interested – obsessively interested – with any aspect of the past, whether it’s palaeontology or archaeology or the very recent past.
Penelope Lively
Despite a certain amount of rhetoric, such as ‘the second American Revolution,’ there is a fair consensus about which events in the affairs of a people can rightly be called revolutions. It is also clear that such revolutions are proper objects of study for the historian.
Ian Hacking
Nations without a past are contradictions in terms. What makes a nation is the past, what justifies one nation against others is the past, and historians are the people who produce it.
Eric Hobsbawm
Newt Gingrich seldom misses a chance to note that he is a historian.
Adam Hochschild
There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.
Washington Irving
The present educational establishment, to cite just one group, has been obscuring the past so that our children have no way of comparing the facts of history with the distorted version promoted by biased secular historians.
Gary DeMar
The facts speak only when the historian calls on them: it is he who decides to which facts to give the floor, and in what order or context
Edward Hallett Carr
I haven’t studied history – I couldn’t give a discourse in medieval literature – but I am a personal historian, and I do a lot to take in the histories of the people around me.
Lucy Dacus
The historian has before him a jigsaw puzzle from which many pieces have disappeared. These gaps can be filled only by his imagination.
Gaetano Salvemini
I’m not a historian, and I wouldn’t want to be. I want to change the world. Attack the elite. Overturn the hierarchy. Look at my stories and you’ll notice that the villains are always, always, those in power. The heroes are the little people. I hate the establishment. Always have, always will.
Terry Deary
To an art historian a Giotto is a 14th Century painting. To an artist it was painted yesterday. We free ourselves from the past when we see it freshly.
Walter Darby Bannard
The novelist must look on humanity without partiality or prejudice. His sympathy, like that of the historian, must be unbounded, and untainted by sect or party.
Goldwin Smith
As the NFF Historian, I’ll have a new platform to indulge my passion for the most emotional, colorful and hysterical game ever developed by mankind and Walter Camp.
Dan Jenkins
Modern historians are all would-be philosophers; who, instead of relating facts as they occurred, give us their version, or rather perversions of them, always colored by their political prejudices, or distorted to establish some theory . . .
Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington
Jane Austen has often been praised as a natural historian. She is a naturalist among tame animals. She does not study men (as Dostoevsky does) in his wild state before he has been domesticated. Her men and women are essentially men and women of the fireside.
Robert Wilson Lynd
Historian – a broad-gauge gossip.
Ambrose Bierce
Journalists who make mistakes get sued for libel; historians who make mistakes get to publish a revised edition.
Bill Moyers
Oh, my dear Vimes, history changes all the time. It is constantly being re-examined and re-evaluated, otherwise how would we be able to keep historians occupied? We can’t possibly allow people with their sort of minds to walk around with time on their hands.
Terry Pratchett
Every civilization that has ever existed has ultimately collapsed. History is a tale of efforts that failed, or aspirations that weren’t realized. So, as a historian, one has to live with a sense of the inevitability of tragedy.
Henry A. Kissinger
World War I was not inevitable, as many historians say. It could have been avoided, and it was a diplomatically botched negotiation.
Richard Holbrooke
Historians are gossips who tease the dead
A historian can never claim to have the last word on anything as he is limited by his sources and further so by his viewpoint.
Ambeth R. Ocampo
I’m called an oral historian, which is something of a joke. Oral history was here long before the pen, long before Gutenberg and the printing press. The difference is I have a tape recorder in my hand.
Studs Terkel
The librarians know the secrets, not the historians
Dee Brown
It is remarkable that Lord Esher should be so much astray…We must conclude that an uncontrollable fondness for fiction forbade him to forsake it for fact. Such constancy is a defect in an historian.
Winston Churchill
I mean everybody knows there’s something wrong with the world and if you read left wing politicians or deconstructionists or thoughtful historians they will offer thoughtful critiques of our situation. But the question is, you know, the Tolstoyian question; ‘What is to be done?’
Terence McKenna
It is almost a rule that the more complex a man is, the simpler his billing. A person with a retrospective ability gone rampant often would be called an historian. Similarly, one to whom reality doesn’t seem to make sense gets dubbed a philosopher.
Joseph Brodsky
As a historian, he felt it his duty to respect everything that had ever been respected, except for the occasional statesman.
Henry Adams
We have seen over and over that white male historians in general have tended to dismiss any history they didn’t themselves write,on the grounds that it is unserious, unscholarly, a fad, too “political,” “merely” oral and thus unreliable.
Adrienne Rich
I’m a basketball junkie and a real historian of the game, so for me to get a chance to express it and give my perspective on a national stage, I’m really enjoying it.
Paul Pierce
Look, history is interesting. I read three books on George Washington last year. And my opinion is that if they’re still analyzing the first president, the 43rd president ought to be doing what he thinks is right. And eventually, historians will come and realize whether… the decisions I made made sense.
George W. Bush
I have no doubt that historians will conclude that we of the twentieth century had intelligence enough to create a great civilization but not the moral wisdom to preserve it.
Aiden Wilson Tozer
Every historian discloses a new horizon.
George Sand
Who says history is stagnant? For a historian, facts do not change; it is the way we look at things, our interpretations, that are always changing. This is what makes history exciting – that we can always find something new in what is old.
Ambeth R. Ocampo
It is not without fear and trembling that a historian of religion approaches the problem of myth. This is not only because of that preliminary embarrassing question: what is intended by myth? It is also because the answers given depend for the most part on the documents selected.
Mircea Eliade
When historians look back on our century, they may remember it most, not for space travel or the release of nuclear energy, but as the time when the peoples of the world first came to take one another seriously.
Huston Smith
It was necessary, as a black historian, to have a personal agenda.
John Hope Franklin
What is a historian? Someone who doesn’t write well enough to work on a daily.
Karl Kraus
The first law for the historian is that he shall never dare utter an untruth. The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true. Moreover, there shall be no suspicion of partiality in his writing, or of malice.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
The ancient historians gave us delightful fiction in the form of fact; the modern novelist presents us with dull facts under the guise of fiction.
Oscar Wilde
The ordinary literary man, even though he be an eminent historian, is ill-fitted to be a mentor in affairs of government. For…
things are for the most part very simple in books, and in practical life very complex.
Woodrow Wilson
Historians desiring to write the actions of men, ought to set down the simple truth, and not say anything for love or hatred; also to choose such an opportunity for writing as it may be lawful to think what they will, and write what they think, which is a rare happiness of the time.
Walter Raleigh
The historian is terribly responsible to what he can discern are the facts of the case, but he’s nothing if he doesn’t make out a case.
Howard Nemerov
We are not merely historians but also and always citizens.
Tony Judt
The connoisseur might be defined as a laconic art historian, and the art historian as a loquacious connoisseur.
Erwin Panofsky
Ah, there’s nothing like tea in the afternoon. When the British Empire collapses, historians will find that it had made but two invaluable contributions to civilization – this tea ritual and the detective novel.
Ayn Rand
If historians are not skeptical, they are nothing.
Geoffrey Elton
The historian records, but the novelist creates.
E. M. Forster
A historian may be an artist too, and a novelist is a historian, the preserver, the keeper, the expounder, of human experience.
Joseph Conrad
A nation does not create the historians it deserves; the historians are far more likely to create the nation.
C. V. Wedgwood
Over the past 40 years, the tradition of Southern progressivism has been somewhat successfully erased by right-wing revisionist historians.
John Darnielle
According to tarot historian Gertrude Moakley, the cards’ fanciful images – from the Fool to Death – were inspired by the costumed figures who participated in carnival parades.
Brendan I. Koerner
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.
Hassan Rouhani
As the Prussian historian Treitschke later complained, the proponents of free trade in Hamburg had ‘in German fashion made out of necessity not just a virtue but a theory’.
Richard J. Evans
David Irving is not just a Fascist historian. He is also a great historian of Fascism.
Christopher Hitchens
I had worked in politics with Johnson and Nixon before becoming a historian and biographer. I kept discovering these dirtier, murkier threads in American politics that led back to Vegas’ gambling interests and criminal connections.
Roger Morris
It’s the historian’s job not to ridicule the myths, but to show the difference between myth and reality.
Norman Davies
Comedians and jazz musicians have been more comforting and enlightening to me than preachers or politicians or philosophers or poets or painters or novelists of my time. Historians in the future, in my opinion, will congratulate us on very little other than our clowning and our jazz.
Kurt Vonnegut
A couple years ago, the novelist Russell Banks told me he was reading the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. I asked why. He said, ‘Because I’ve always wanted to and am tired of having my reading assigned.’ I thought it was a marvelous declaration of independence.
Richard Russo
The most difficult problem in personal knowledge, whether of oneself or of others, is the problem of guessing when to think as a historian and when to think as an anthropologist.
W. H. Auden
Radical historians now the tell the story of Thanksgiving from the point of view of the turkey.
Mason Cooley
The ego is a self-justifying historian which seeks only that information that agrees with it, rewrites history when it needs to, and does not even see the evidence that threatens it.
Anthony Greenwald
If an historian were to relate truthfully all the crimes, weaknesses, and disorders of mankind, his readers would take his work for satire rather than for history.
Pierre Bayle
Historians are prophets with their face turned backward.
Friedrich Schiller
I’m a historian in my own mind.
Quentin Tarantino
Future historians will be able to study at the Jimmy Carter Library, the Gerald Ford Library, the Ronald Reagan Library, and the Bill Clinton Adult Bookstore.
George Carlin
Computer scientists are the historians of computing.
Gordon Bell
History never repeats itself, historians do.
Lee Benson
The historian’s distortion is more than technical, it is ideological; it is released into a world of contending interest, where any chosen emphasis supports some kind of interest, whether economic or political or racial, or national or sexual.
Howard Zinn
History repeats itself. Historians repeat each other.
Philip Guedalla
I’m not a historian but I can get interested – obsessively interested – with any aspect of the past, whether it’s palaeontology or archaeology or the very recent past.
Penelope Lively
No future historian of the United States will be able to use quotations from her twentieth-century poets in support of an imperial policy of conquest and slaughter.
Alice Corbin Henderson
If only the sense of actuality can be lulled-and it sleeps for ever in most historians-there is no passion that cannot be gratified in the past.
E. M. Forster
Since history has no properly scientific value, its only purpose is educative. And if historians neglect to educate the public, if they fail to interest it intelligently in the past, then all their historical learning is valueless except in so far as it educates themselves.
G. M. Trevelyan
History should not be left to the historians. Rather, be like Churchill. Make history, and then write it.
Ferdinand Marcos
If you want to avoid criticism, then you shouldn’t be a historian, because historians are trying to understand and explain. If you’re trying to please people, then you should go into the fashion business, or the candy business.
Timothy D. Snyder
Battles are sometimes won by generals; wars are nearly always won by sergeants and privates.
F. E. Adcock
The easiest way of change history is to become a historian.
Jerry Falwell
Ignorance and arrogance are a lethal combination. Nowhere do we see that more clearly among writers and performers who pontificate as historians when they know nothing about history.
Victor Davis Hanson
Historian: an unsuccessful novelist.
H. L. Mencken
Scientists disagree among themselves but they never fight over their disagreements. They argue about evidence or go out and seek new evidence. Much the same is true of philosophers, historians and literary critics.
Richard Dawkins
No serious historian of nations and nationalism can be a committed political nationalist… Nationalism requires too much belief in what is patently not so.
Eric Hobsbawm
Historians will not fail to note that a people who could spend $300 billion on defense refused to spend a tiny fraction of that total to keep their libraries open in the evening.
Daniel J. Boorstin
No man can be a politician, except he be first a historian or a traveller; for except he can see what must be, or what may be, he is no politician.
James Harrington
Historians tell the story of the past, novelists the story of the present.
Edmond de Goncourt
I don’t have the education of an art historian. I’ve certainly read about art and look at art and have educated myself to some extent. But I’m not a skilled or thorough art historian and I wouldn’t call myself an art critic.
Lynne Tillman
The historian, essentially, wants more documents than he can really use; the dramatist only wants more liberties than he can really take.
Henry James
David Shi (historian of the simple life) describes the common denominator among the various approaches to simpler living as the understanding that the making of money and the accumulation of things should not smother the purity of the soul, the life of the mind, the cohesion of the family, or the good of the society.
Duane Elgin
What of the Exodus? That too, is a wonderful story, but from the viewpoint of an historian, it is – to use a word scholars love – problematic. Let’s say there are doubts, to say the least, among many scholars, as to whether the Exodus actually occurred. That’s a historical issue.
Elie Wiesel
The Britons (say historians) were naked, civilized men, learned, studious, abstruse in thought and contemplation; naked, simple, plain in their acts and manners; wiser than after ages.
William Blake
To converse with historians is to keep good company; many of them were excellent men, and those who were not, have taken care to appear such in their writings.
Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke
I am not a chess historian – I myself am a piece of chess history, which no one can avoid. I will not write about myself, but I am sure that someone will write.
Wilhelm Steinitz
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.
How well Shakespeare knew how to improve and exalt little circumstances, when he borrowed them from circumstantial or vulgar historians.
Horace Walpole
For the average person, all problems date to World War II; for the more informed, to World War I; for the genuine historian, to the French Revolution.
Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn
What his imagination is to the poet, facts are to the historian. His exercise of judgment comes in their selection, his art in their arrangement.
Barbara Tuchman
The historian’s first duties are sacrilege and the mocking of false gods. They are his indispensable instruments for establishing the truth.
Jules Michelet
A historian who would convey the truth has got to lie. Often he must enlarge the truth by diameters, otherwise his reader would not be able to see it.
Mark Twain
The ordinary routines of life are never chronicled by the historian, but they make up almost the whole of experience.
Peter Ackroyd
Herschel Grynszpan’s life was enigmatic, elusive and tragic. The traces he left on the historical record are just sufficient to tantalize and baffle historians. Harlan Greene has woven from these threads a riveting novel, erotic, haunting, and profoundly moving.
Janette Turner Hospital
A historian should not be didactic-that is a word that makes my blood run cold.
Edmund Morgan
Intellectual honesty is the quality that the public in free countries always has expected of historians; much more than that it does not expect, nor often get.
Samuel Eliot Morison
I’m old enough, I remember when Richard Nixon had the election stolen in 1960. And no serious historian doubts that Illinois and Texas were stolen.
Newt Gingrich
[T]he historian must serve two masters, the past and the present.
Fritz Stern
Despite the documented evidence by chess historian HJR Murray, I’ve always thought that chess was invented by a goddess
George Koltanowski
Problems cannot all be solved, for, as they are solved, new aspects are continually revealed: the historian opens the way, he does not close it.
F. M. Powicke
The long historian of my country’s woes.
The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.
L.P. Hartley
The Rebecca Riots by David Williams is an unassuming book, but its significance is universal. The book and its author determined my life; they made me want to be a historian of Wales and of the world.
Kenneth O. Morgan
Let’s give the historians something to write about
When a historian enters into metaphysics he has gone to a far country from whose bourne he will never return a historian.
Shailer Mathews
What would become of history, had we not a dependence on the veracity of the historian, according to the experience, what we have had of mankind?
David Hume
I went to medical school after having decided to do so somewhere between my junior and senior year at Harvard – very late. I initially wanted to be an intellectual historian.
Eric Kandel
A good historian is timeless; although he is a patriot, he will never flatter his country in any respect.
Francois Fenelon
The apparent pointlessness of fashion may be just what makes it so strong as a zeitgeist sensor. Even I, a designer, do not know why a certain proportion feels dated or why another one feels exciting at a given moment. I leave that to the cultural historians and theorists.
Jil Sander
Man you can define; but the true essence of any man, say, for instance, of Abraham Lincoln, remains the endlessly elusive and mysterious object of the biographer’s interest, of the historian’s comments, of popular legend, and of patriotic devotion.
Josiah Royce
It is also the fate of leadership to be misunderstood. For historians, academics, writers and journalists to reflect great lives according to their own subjective canon.
Nelson Mandela
Too many so-called historians are really ‘hysterians’; their thinking is more visceral than cerebral. When their duties as citizens clash with their responsibilities as scholars, Clio frequently takes a back seat.
Thomas A. Bailey
Ignorance is the first requisite of the historian – ignorance, which simplifies and clarifies, which selects and omits, with a placid perfection unattainable by the highest art.
Lytton Strachey
I retained no records and I am not a good writer anyhow. So the best approach is for historians like you to extract the facts directly from people like me.
Shunroku Hata
I think, as a historian, what strikes one the most about this [Donald’d Trump] program is just simply its nationalism, with his commitment to the redevelopment of American manufacturing and industrial jobs, providing jobs for the constituency that was so important in electing him.
Judy Woodruff
I started writing when I was 21. I was going to become an historian. And then I realized there was more to the world than just the past. I didn’t want to spend my life in the library.
Janet Fitch
The historian must have some conception of how men who are not historians behave. Otherwise he will move in a world of the dead. He can only gain that conception through personal experience, and he can only use his personal experiences when he is a genius.
E. M. Forster
With a novelist’s sense of drama and a historian’s understanding of the social forces that shape our lives, Tom Gjelten has captured vividly — through the chronicle of a powerful family’s fortunes — one of the great political dramas of our time.
Ronald Steel
The historian must have some conception of how men who are not historians behave.
Edward Gibbon
Creative memory is the historian’s most subtle opponent.
Mason Cooley
Now, there are some who would like to rewrite history – revisionist historians is what I like to call them.
George W. Bush
History is the open Bible: we historians are not priests to expound it infallibly: our function is to teach people to read it and to reflect upon it for themselves.
G. M. Trevelyan
Fortunately, historians are now beginning to recognise the historic role of Islam as a liberating force for peoples oppressed by the burdens of unjust social systems.
Aly Khan
In any case, his judgment and set of values, acting alone or through his assistants, determine not only what is gold and what is dross but the design of the history which he creates out of the metal. The historian decides what is significant, and what is not.
Samuel E. Morison
There are relatively few atheists among neurologists and brain surgeons and astrophysicists, but many among psychologists, sociologists, and historians. The reason seems obvious: the first study divine design, the second study human undesign.
Peter Kreeft
I always wanted to read. I always thought I was going to be a historian. I would go to school and study history and then end up in law school, once, I ran out of loot trying to be a history high school teacher. But my dream was always to place myself in a situation where I was always surrounded by books.
Junot Diaz
The good historian is like the giant of the fairy tale. He knows that wherever he catches the scent of human flesh, there his quarry lies.
Marc Bloch
The passion for tidiness is the historian’s occupational disease.
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat the eleventh grade.
James W. Loewen
The first duty of an historian is to be on his guard against his own sympathies…
James Anthony Froude
The Tudors was ground-breaking in the sense that it did ruffle the feathers of classical historians and alter the way people did period drama at the time.
Annabelle Wallis
As a historian, I’ve spent much of my career warning people about the dangers of nostalgia.
Stephanie Coontz
Woodrow Wilson administration ended in tragedy, with his insistence on governing following his disabling stroke. I suspect President Wilson is often graded on a special curve, because many academic historians identify with him as one of their own.
James M Strock
Even now, the irony that so non-intellectual a man should choose to engage the Soviet Union on the battlefield of ideas has eluded most commentators and historians.
Richard Perle
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.
Oliver Stone
There is more to creative mastership than the surface of satisfaction and political certainty. The music of Joe Fonda is part of a living tradition of belief and dedication. Future historians will be surprised at the breadth of Mr. Fonda’s offerings. This is a real virtuoso and composer of the highest order.
Anthony Braxton
Heart and head are contrary historians.
Jerry Spinelli
History does not repeat itself. The historians repeat one another.
Max Beerbohm
Social historians of the future no doubt will be amused by the fact that we late-twentieth-century Americans found it acceptable to discuss publicly in detail the most intimate aspects of personal life, while maintaining an almost prudish reserve concerning the political significance of family life.
Mary Ann Glendon
The poet may say or sing, not as things were, but as they ought to have been; but the historian must pen them, not as they ought to have been, but as they really were.
Miguel de Cervantes
I’m a historian. I really like the past. But most people seem far more interested in what you can tell them about the future.
Yuval Noah Harari
The lives of heroes have enriched history, and history has adorned the actions of heroes ; and thus I cannot say whether the historians are more indebted to those who provided them with such noble materials, or those great men to their historians.
Jean de la Bruyere
You’re making a movie, not a documentary. If you made a film like the historians would like you to make, you’re not going to go and see it. I’d rather see paint dry.
Dougray Scott
Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed and that the Gospels contain plenty of valuable evidence which has to be weighed and assessed critically.
Graham Stanton
It should be the historian’s business not to belittle but to illuminate the greatness of man’s spirit.
C. V. Wedgwood
To write history is so difficult that most historians are forced to make concessions to the technique of legende.
Erich Auerbach
Of the twenty or so civilizations known to modern Western historians, all except our own appear to be dead or moribund, and, when we diagnose each case… we invariably find that the cause of death has been either War or Class or some combination of the two.
Arnold J. Toynbee
Since Caesar, we know his historians are liars. The good writers get read. Bad history doesn’t get read.
Peter Greenaway
There were various turning points, but the main one at the beginning was that I was going off to do another degree in the history of art. I would have ended up as some art historian at Sotheby’s or something.
Hugh Grant
I’m a historian, I think history matters, but we don’t have to be slavish in following it and restoring it.
Jack Granatstein
A historian is battling all the time to remember as much as possible.
Niall Ferguson
There are secret articles in our treaties with the gods, of more importance than all the rest, which the historian can never know.
Henry David Thoreau
It may be said of many palaeontologists, as Professor Hugh Trevor-Roper said recently of 18th century historians: “Their most serious error was to measure the past by the present”.
D. V. Ager
I’m a horrible historian. My memory is bad. I read things and then I forget them. I can’t understand dates and I can’t measure time. Time is confusing to me. That’s why I do a lot of manipulations of time in my books, in part because an orderly time is physically difficult for me to conceive of in my brain.
Lucy Corin
An Engineer is no match for a Historian with his dander up!
Philip Reeve
No historian should be trusted implicitly.
George Kitson Clark
A learned historian declared to me of a contemporary, that the latter had appropriated his researches; he might, indeed, and he had a right to refer to the same originals; but if his predecessor had opened the sources for him, gratitude is not a silent virtue.
Isaac D’Israeli
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.
Colm Toibin
I wanted to work in the arts. My dream come true would be to be an architectural historian and work with the royal palaces and all the fabulous art collections. But I’m not committed enough.
Jaye Davidson
It frustrates and fascinates me that we’ll never know for sure, that despite the best efforts of historians and scientists and poets, there are some things we’ll just never know. What the first song sounded like. How it felt to see the first photograph. Who kissed the first kiss, and if it was any good.
Isaac Marion
A society in stable equilibrium is-by definition-one that has no history and wants no historians.
Henry Adams
All history is an attempt to find pattern and meaning in a section of human experience, and every historian worthy of the name raises questions about man’s ultimate destiny and the meaning of all history to which, as history, he can provide no answers. The answers belong to the realm of theology.
G. B. Caird
I can see that you [Bruce Cole] are a true historian because you really always ought to ask that question about anybody at a different place or a different time: What’s the same and what’s different?
Donald Kagan
A generation which ignores history has no past — and no future.
Robert A. Heinlein
To view current events as a historian is to account for all perspectives, even those of your enemy
R. A. Salvatore
Historians write favorably, you know, for example, about Stalin because he was doing big things.
Jonah Goldberg
I don’t think the revisionist historians are accurate. I think their agendas are clouded by selfishness and anger and rage.
Sherman Alexie
Hindsight is the historian’s necessary vice.
Hilary Mantel
All that the historians give us are little oases in the desert of time, and we linger fondly in these, forgetting the vast tracks between one and another that were trodden by the weary generations of men.
J. A. Spender
I’ve said before that I am not a historian and that when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust, it is the historians that should reflect on it.
Hassan Rouhani
No historian can take part with–or against–the forces he has to study. To him even the extinction of the human race should merely be a fact to be grouped with other vital statistics.
Henry Adams
The historian of science may be tempted to exclaim that when paradigms change, the world itself changes with them.
Thomas Kuhn
I’m a historian, and that freaks me out.
Mike Tyson
Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.
H. G. Wells
Nations! What are nations? Tartars! and Huns! and Chinamen! Like insects they swarm. The historian strives in vain to make them memorable. It is for want of a man that there are so many men. It is individuals that populate the world.
Henry David Thoreau
Ultimately a historian has to put together a cohesive work. That doesn’t mean that your curiosity is ever totally satisfied.
Adele Logan Alexander
I don’t really have a historical overview of my work at all. I’m not an art historian. I don’t see that there’s this period and that period.
Howard Hodgkin
For historians, creative writers provide a kind of pornography.
Hilary Mantel
Not only were the minds of artists formed by the university; in the same mold were formed those of the art historians, the critics, the curators, and the collectors by whom their work was evaluated. With the rise of Conceptual art, the classroom announced its final triumph over the studio.
Harold Rosenberg
I knew that a historian (or a journalist, or anyone telling a story) was forced to choose, out of an infinite number of facts, what to present, what to omit. And that decision inevitably would reflect, whether consciously or not, the interests of the historian.
Howard Zinn
Historical research to this day remains unorganized, and the historian is expected to make his own instruments or do without them; and so with wooden ploughs we continue to draw lonely furrows, most successfully when we strike sand.
Sir Lewis Bernstein Namier
‘Wolf Hall’ attempts to duplicate not the historian’s chronology but the way memory works: in leaps, loops, flashes.
Hilary Mantel
… we will hope that future historians will explain the morbid symptoms of present-day society as the childhood ailments of an aspiring humanity, due entirely to the excessive speed at which civilization was advancing.
Albert Einstein
I was a narrative historian, believing more and more as I matured that the first function of the historian was to answer the child’s question, “What happened next?
A. J. P. Taylor
[T]he historian and the detective have much in common.
Ralph Davis
You know the old saying: “History is written by the winners. And also, the team of hand-picked historians that the winner keeps hidden away in an underground bunker”.
John Hodgman
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.
Khaled Hosseini
Some writers may toy with the fancy of a ‘Christ-myth,’ but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the ‘Christ-myth’ theories.
F. F. Bruce
No Christian and, indeed, no historian could accept the epigram which defines religion as ‘what a man does with his solitude.’
C. S. Lewis
Around it are those countries which, according to History, constitute the civilised world ie, a world that can support historians
Terry Pratchett
All historians generalize from particulars. And often, if you look at a historian’s footnotes, the number of examples of specific cases is very, very small.
Henry Louis Gates
The historian amputates reality.
Gaetano Salvemini
If Bob Dylan really is an historian in and of himself in his work, in his performances, he is also an historian with a unique sense of humor. There’s always been a bit of a stand-up comic in him.
Greil Marcus
Every good historian is almost by definition a revisionist. He looks at the accepted view of a particular historic episode or period with a very critical eye.
Paul Johnson
The Who quite possibly remain the greatest live band ever. Even the list-driven punk legend and music historian Johnny Ramone agreed with me on this.
Eddie Vedder
The way people really think is not adequately analyzed by the universal categories of logic. Between social history and formal analyses of thought there is a path, a lane – maybe very narrow – which is the path of the historian of thought.
Michel Foucault
The gravest of the ecclesiastical historians, Eusebius himself, indirectly confesses that he has related whatever might redound to the glory, and that he has suppressed all that could tend to the disgrace, of religion.
Edward Gibbon
History – an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant
John Barth
In the West the past is like a dead animal. It is a carcass picked at by the flies that call themselves historians and biographers. But in my culture the past lives. My people feel this way in part because death does not separate us from our ancestors.
Miriam Makeba
I am not a historian. I don’t see what I do as being a rival to biography.
Hilary Mantel
I am a lay historian by nature. I seek out an empirical reflection of what truth is. I sort of want dates and motivations and I want the whole story. But I’ve always felt, unconsciously, that all human history is that connection from person to person to person, event to event to event, and from idea to idea.
Tom Hanks
We are not philosophers, we are sovereigns. The rules that govern our behavior are not the rules for other men, and our honor, I think, is a different thing entirely, difficult for anyone but the historians and the gods to judge.
Megan Whalen Turner
We cannot be spun, or at least we’d like to think that we cannot be. And the presidents who are trying to – too overtly to try to say, here is what you historians and what you later Americans should think of my presidency, 30 or 40 years later, they look silly.
Michael Beschloss
Being a historian, if only for the day, teaches you useful things like judgment, and the ability to detect when someone is lying to you.
Lucy Worsley
As you may recall, Truman was extremely unpopular when he finally left Washington in 1953, thanks largely to the Korean War. Today, however, he is thought to have been a solidly good president, a ‘Near Great’ even, in the terminology of those surveys of historians they do every now and then.
Thomas Frank
The beauty of history is that historians have the ability to find patterns, the big picture. When you make a movie, you try to find that. I’m doing in the cinema what historians try to do in their own media.
Oliver Stone
Great abilities are not requisite for an Historian; for in historical composition, all the greatest powers of the human mind are quiescent.
Samuel Johnson
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
Winston Churchill
Activists measure progress against the standard of perfection, or at least the most perfect possible choice. Historians gauge progress against what came before it.
Jonathan Chait
There’s no such thing as history, only historians. That’s how we know about the past.
Peter Greenaway
Historians relate not so much what is done as what they would have believed.
Benjamin Franklin
Nostalgia is partly illusion in that we remember things differently as we get older, etc. But that doesn’t mean, when historians look back on the 1950s, say, from the year 2090, it won’t be judged as a saner, slower, less narcissistic, more family-focused, and economically secure time.
Donald Ray Pollock
The footnote would seem to be the smallest detail in a work of history. Yet it carries a large burden of responsibility, testifying to the validity of the work, the integrity (and the humility) of the historian, and to the dignity of the discipline.
Gertrude Himmelfarb
The Marine Corps … took a boy and made him a man.
Ed Bearss
In fact, you could make the argument that a historian like Shlomo Aronson does in passing in one of his books, that the bombing campaign united the German nation behind Hitler, and actually contributed to the sustaining of his power.
Nicholson Baker
Indeed, the distribution of wealth is too important an issue to be left to economists, sociologists, historians, and philosophers.
Thomas Piketty
I think a Person who is thus terrified with the Imagination of Ghosts and Spectres much more reasonable, than one who contrary to the Reports of all Historians sacred and profane, ancient and modern, and to the Traditions of all Nations, thinks the Appearance of Spirits fabulous and groundless.
Joseph Addison
Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.
Robert Kennedy
Shortly after Pearl Harbor, FDR committed a most visionary act: He appointed a Harvard historian to write the official account of the U.S. Navy in World War II. Samuel Eliot Morison was given the rank of lieutenant commander, with the right to interview anyone of whatever status.
Alistair Horne
The contemporary historian never writes such a true history as the historian of a later generation.
Agatha Christie
Historians exercise great power and some of them know it. They recreate the past, changing it to fit their own interpretations. Thus, they change the future as well.
Frank Herbert
The best historian is he who combines knowledge of the evidence with the largest intellect, the warmest human sympathy and the highest imaginative powers.
G. M. Trevelyan
I believe that in years to come, historians will see the beginning of the 21st century as the ‘golden age’ of real estate.
David Lereah
You know, this is such a rich time that we’ve just been involved in, and there’s really a job now for historians. Film is still very young. This is the first hundred years of filmmaking. So I think it’s important that we have some sense of history and continuity. Especially in film.
Dennis Hopper
I see it as my job to try to make history to be a popular thing. The longer I keep going the less weird it will be to be a female historian.
Lucy Worsley
As far as I’m concerned, the 20th century was performance-driven, but for some reason, the critics and historians didn’t know how to integrate that.
Roselee Goldberg
The way in which mathematicians and physicists and historians talk is quite different, and what a physicist means by physical intuition and what a mathematician means by beauty or elegance are things worth thinking about.
Clifford Geertz
There’s certainly more new SF available than when I started writing. That means there’s also more bad SF available. Whether there is also more good is a matter for future historians of the field.
Alan Dean Foster
The issue of civil rights was too much for the establishment to handle. One of the chapters of history thats least studied by historians is the 300 to 500 riots in the U.S. between 1965 and 1970.
Tom Hayden
Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’
Winston Churchill
For the historian everything begins and ends with time, a mathematical, godlike
time, a notion easily mocked, time external to men, ‘exogenous,’ as economists
would say, pushing men, forcing them, and painting their own individual times
the same color: it is, indeed, the imperious time of the world.
Fernand Braudel
Maya Angelou, the famous African American poet, historian, and civil rights activist who is hailed be many as one of the great voices of contemporary literature, believes a struggle only makes a person stronger.
Michael N. Castle
My view as a historian is that the empire was an extractive, exploitative, racist and violent institution and that the history of empire is one we need to confront and come to terms with, rather than celebrate.
David Olusoga
I do not like the late resurrection of the Jesuits. . . . If ever any congregation of men could merit eternal perdition on earth, and in hell, according to these historians, though, like Pascal, true Catholics, it is this company of Loyolas.
John Adams
To a historian libraries are food, shelter, and even muse.
Barbara Tuchman
No, this customary aim of research by excavators is completely foreign to the historical work with which I am occupied… my sole and only aim is to be able to establish a historical fact, on which I disagree with some eminent historians and geographers.
Heinrich Schliemann
How much pleasure they lose (and even the pleasures of heroic poesy are not unprofitable) who take away the liberty of a poet, and fetter his feet in the shackles of a historian.
William Davenant
Whether we are reading the Bible for the first time or standing in a field in Israel next to a historian and an archaeologist and a scholar, the Bible meets us where we are. That is what truth does
Rob Bell
I’m just a normal guy and blue-collar historian, and people keep tuning in.
Rick Harrison
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.
Niall Ferguson
Out of the fictitious book I get the expression of the life, of the times, of the manners, of the merriment, of the dress, the pleasure, the laughter, the ridicules of society. The old times live again. Can the heaviest historian do more for me?
William Makepeace Thackeray
You need, as a historian, essential triangulation from your subject and the only way you get that triangulation is through time.
Ken Burns
If an historian be an unbeliever in all heroism, if he be a man who brings every thing down to the level of a common mediocrity, depend upon it, the truth is not found in such a writer.
Matthew Arnold
I can see only one safe rule for the historian: that he should recognize in the development of human destinies the play of the contingent and the unforeseen.
H. A. L. Fisher
I’ve got to get the ultimate in composition today. or I’ve got to get the ultimate in light, I’ll stay here until it appears. I was not making any demands. I went purely to see what would come, what might be there. I didn’t have to be archaeologist or historian or tourist, I just needed to be available.
Paul Caponigro
A scientist is no more a collector and classifier of facts than a historian is a man who complies and classifies a chronology of the dates of great battles and major discoveries.
Peter Medawar
I am not a qualified historian, but rather a teller of stories from history.
Princess Michael of Kent
I think poets tell better history than historians. Historians lie all the time but the poets can get to truth of it.
John Cusack
The historian is, by definition, absolutely incapable of observing the facts which he examines.
Marc Bloch
I’ve been watching basketball for a long time, I’m a historian of the game. I don’t know any other team that’s gotten to the Finals without two All-Stars… I cannot remember thinking of it. I don’t even know if it’s ever happened, for a team to lose two All-Stars and still be able to make it to the Finals.
LeBron James
The astrologers and historians write that the ascendant as of Oxford is Capricornus, whose lord is Saturn, a religious planet, and patron of religious men.
John Aubrey
Ancient Egypt was a Negro Civilization. The history of Black Africa will remain suspended in air and cannot be written correctly until African historians dare to connect it with the history of Egypt.
Cheikh Anta Diop
Study men, not historians.
Harry S. Truman
I am a historian. With the exception of being a wife and mother, it is who I am. And there is nothing I take more seriously.
Doris Kearns Goodwin
A historian is often only a journalist facing backwards.
Karl Kraus
I am not trying to be a historian and a dramatist; I’m a dramatist, a dramatic historian, or one who does a dramatic interpretation of history.
Oliver Stone
Acts themselves alone are history, and these are neither the exclusive property of Hume, Gibbon nor Voltaire, Echard, Rapin, Plutarch, nor Herodotus. Tell me the Acts, O historian, and leave me to reason upon them as I please; away with your reasoning and your rubbish. All that is not action is not worth reading.
William Blake
Good historians, I suspect, whether they think about it or not, have the future in their bones. Besides the question: Why? the historian also asks the question: Whither?
Edward Hallett Carr
Historians and archaeologists will one day discover that the ads of our time are the richest and most faithful reflections that any society ever made of its entire range of activities.
Marshall McLuhan
History, in spite of the occasional protest of historians, will always be used in a general way as a collection of political and moral precedents.
C. V. Wedgwood
Anne Romaine [ is ]folk singer and a skillful historian, even though she was not formally trained in the field [of Malcolm X].
Manning Marable
Historians are apt to judge war ministers less by the victories achieved under their direction than by the political results which flowed from them. Judged by that standard, I am not sure that I shall be held to have done very well.
Winston Churchill
In the entire first Christian century Jesus is not mentioned by a single Greek or Roman historian, religion scholar, politician, philosopher or poet. His name never occurs in a single inscription, and it is never found in a single piece of private correspondence. Zero! Zip references!
Bart D. Ehrman
You are not just a photojournalist, you’re a historian.
Bill Eppridge
It is up to the historians, not politicians, to judge what happened in the past. Politicians look into the future.
Egemen Bag?s
That’s one of the central problems of history, isn’t it, sir? The question of subjective versus objective interpretation, the fact that we need to know the history of the historian in order to understand the version that is being put in front of us.
Julian Barnes
Truth, which is permanent, eludes the historian of events. Truth transcends history.
Mahatma Gandhi
In a certain sense all men are historians.
Thomas Carlyle
Reviewers are usually people who would have been, poets, historians, biographer, if they could. They have tried their talents at one thing or another and have failed; therefore they turn critic.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The historian Linda Colley has analysed how and why George III transformed himself from being a figure of ‘perfect hatred’ to the father of the country.
Amanda Foreman
As a scholar who regularly surveys archival material, I think that, a century from now, cultural historians will find David Horowitz’s spiritual and political odyssey paradigmatic for our time.
Camille Paglia
The first law of history is to dread uttering a falsehood; the next is not to fear stating the truth; lastly, the historian’s writings should be open to no suspicion of partiality or animosity.
Pope Leo XIII
If I can educate a little, that’s great; if I can cause somebody to go and seek out further information about Lincoln, that’s excellent, but, I’m an entertainer, you know? I’m not a historian, I’m a cartoonist.
Noah Van Sciver
Historians are dangerous people. They are capable of upsetting everything.
Nikita Khrushchev
Given that his rousing speeches play on a perpetual loop somewhere in the back of the national psyche, and the bulk of the country is unshakable in its view of Churchill as the greatest of British heroes, how can the historian see him with any clarity?
David Olusoga
IT is an astonishing thing that historians will look back and puzzle over, that in the 21st century, American women were such hunted creatures. Even as Republicans try to wrestle women into chastity belts, the Vatican is trying to muzzle American nuns.
Maureen Dowd
The historian assesses that the investment of the wealthy classes in the Bank of England wedded them to the fate of the nation as a whole and to the maintenance of its stability.
Walter Russell Mead
America has had many other discoverers besides Columbus, but he seems to have made more satisfactory arrangements with the historians than any of the others.
Bill Nye
Revisionist historians are about to get their hands on the Thatcher years, shes probably going to be looked at again because she feels far enough away now, and we dont see her much on the political landscape in this country, shes kind of disappeared and she doesnt speak out much anymore.
Jonathan Coe
Memory is a poet, not an historian.
Marie Howe
The talent of historians lies in their creating a true ensemble out of facts which are but half true.
Ernest Renan
If I were an antiquarian, I would have eyes only for old stuff, but I am a historian. Therefore, I love life.
Henri Pirenne
The study of history is useful to the historian by teaching him his ignorance of women.
Henry Adams
When the exceptional historian comes along, you have a poet.
Melvin B. Tolson
People fight today for the same fundamental reasons the Greek historian Thucydides identified nearly 2,500 years ago: fear, honor, and interest.
H. R. McMaster
I am a critic who is pulled toward history. But Bob Dylan himself is a great historian. He is an historian who acts out history. So it always has a personal stamp. It always has a particular timbre. It always has a particular howl, or a moan, in that voice.
Greil Marcus
History is made by masses of people. One man, or ten men, don’t start the earthquakes and don’t stop them either. Only hero worshipers and ignorant historians think they do.
Lillian Hellman
There are no self-proclaimed villains, only regiments of self-proclaimed saints. Victorious historians rule where good or evil lies.
Glen Cook
I feel like I’ve always been a full-time historian, but nobody knows it.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
The historian must be a poet; not to find, but to find again; not to breathe life into beings, into imaginary deeds, but in order to re-animate and revive that which has been; to represent what time and space have placed at a distance from us.
Philibert Joseph Roux
[T]he historian lays humanity on the couch.
Lynn Townsend White, Jr.
I’m no politician. I’m an historian who has learned through a lifetime of studying that nothing in the world beats universal education.
Stephen Ambrose
Yes, I’m a reasonably good self-taught historian of the 1930s and ’40s. I’ve never wanted to write about another time or place. I wouldn’t know what to say about contemporary society.
Alan Furst
The historian ought to be the humblest of men; he is faced a dozen times a day with the evidence of his own ignorance; he is perpetually confronted with his own humiliating inability to interpret his material correctly; he is, in a sense that no other writer is, in bondage to that material.
C. V. Wedgwood
Asa Briggs was a historian of class history, so he felt obligated to bring in his driver. That’s the English class thing that is much weaker now.
Lawrence Osborne
I am part of a broad social movement. Ten years ago, it would have unimaginable for some random Dutch historian to go viral when talking about taxes. Yet here we are.
Rutger Bregman
The past in the hands of historians is not what it was.
Lynn Townsend White, Jr.
Geologists complain that when they want specimens of the common rocks of a country, they receive curious spars; just so, historians give us the extraordinary events and omit just what we want,–the every-day life of each particular time and country.
Richard Whately
Historians are dangerous and capable of turning everything upside down. They have to be watched.
Nikita Khrushchev
I find it hard to imagine that future historians will see the Iraq War as a big plus in Bush’s ledger, but we have to admit that we simply don’t know for sure.
David Greenberg
Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them.
Leo Tolstoy
Historians will have to face the fact that natural selection determined the evolution of cultures in the same manner as it did that of species.
Konrad Lorenz
A painter must compensate the natural deficiencies of his art. He has but one sentence to utter, but one moment to exhibit. He cannot, like the poet or historian, expatiate, and impress the mind.
Joshua Reynolds
My experiences thus far had me planning to throttle the first Tudor historian I met upon my return for gross dereliction of duty.
Deborah Harkness
I’m not a politician or a scholar or political historian. I’m just a photographer who’s trying to capture a spirit. It’s not an intellectual process; it’s an intuitive process.
I am certainly interested in a tribunal in which, for having used my reason, I was deemed little less than a heretic. Who knows but men will reduce me from the profession of a philosopher to that of historian of the Inquisition!
Galileo Galilei
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana
As all historians know, the past is a great darkness, and filled with echoes.
Margaret Atwood
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.
Tony Judt
The Messiah comes not only as the redeemer, he comes as the subduer of Antichrist. Only that historian will have the gift of fanning the spark of hope in the past who is firmly convinced that even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins. And this enemy has not ceased to be victorious.
Walter Benjamin
Too rigid specialization is almost as bad for a historian’s mind, and for his ultimate reputation, as too early an indulgence in broad generalization and synthesis.
Samuel E. Morison
I am provoked at the contempt which most historians show for humanity in general; one would think by them, that the whole human species consisted but of about a hundred and fifty people, called and dignified (commonly very undeservedly too) by the titles of Emperors, Kings, Popes, Generals, and Ministers.
Lord Chesterfield
History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.
Edward Gibbon
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
Biographers use historians more than historians use biographers, although there can be two-way traffic – e.g., the ever-growing production of biographies of women is helping to change the general picture of the past presented by historians.
Claire Tomalin
History is the most aristocratic of all literary pursuits, because it obliges the historian to be rich as well as educated.
Henry Adams
My big subject as a historian is how Americans divide themselves. What are the divisions that structure our political lives. Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan were perfect foils for that story.
Rick Perlstein
The general consensus among historians, among the ones who can handle the fact that ‘Lincoln’ is, in fact, historical fiction, is that we demonstrate enormous fidelity to history and that, beyond that, we’ve actually contributed a line of thinking about Lincoln’s presidency that’s somewhat original.
Tony Kushner
A historian is interested in the past because he is interested in life… a deeply felt need to assure the continuity of human life and discover its meaning, even if the goal is never fully realized.
Ralph Davis
Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all. The conscientious historian will correct these defects.
I cannot see the war as historians see it. Those clever fellows study all the facts and they see the war as a large thing, one of the biggest events in the legend of the man, something general, involving multitudes.
William Saroyan
It’s interesting – an actor’s research is different to just historian’s research. I’m looking for things that I can actually physically use in the movie.
Ioan Gruffudd
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.
Paul Johnson
I really love acting, but I also really want to be a historian, so it’s really confusing.
Yara Shahidi
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.
Robert Darnton
It’s an academic book, and it’s discussed under academic criteria. German historians cultivate so-called objectivity. They persuade themselves that they can switch off the subjective and therefore the unsettling.
Gotz Aly
We are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.
Gaston Bachelard
Even well-known historians like Edward Gibbon are talking about how the soldiers of the 18th century were not able to do the same type of exercise [like Romans].
Garry Kasparov
I am not a historian. I happen to think that the content of my mother’s life – her myths, her superstitions, her prayers, the contents of her pantry, the smell of her kitchen, the song that escaped from her sometimes parched lips, her thoughtful repose and pregnant laughter – are all worthy of art.
August Wilson
The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar.
F. F. Bruce
It would be most wholesome if for at least twenty years art historians were forbidden to refer to any derivations. If they were not allowed to account for a work of art mainly by tracing where it comes from, they would have to deal with it in and by itself–which is what they are most needed for.
Rudolf Arnheim
I have not said your values are wrong. But neither are they right. They are simply judgments. Assessments. Decisions. For the most part, they are decisions made not by you, but by someone else. Your parents, perhaps. Your religion. Your teachers, historians, politicians.
Neale Donald Walsch
Why did the Articles [of Confederation] fail so completely? Most historians believe the founding fathers spent a great deal of their first constitutional convention drafting the delaration of independence and only realized on July 3rd the Articles were also due.
Jon Stewart
The same contingencies of time and space that force a statesman or soldier to make decisions, impel the historian, though with less urgency, to make up his mind.
Samuel Eliot Morison
Historians from England will say I am a liar, but history is written by those who have hanged heroes.
Robert the Bruce
Governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles deducted from it.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
No matter what historians claimed, BC really stood for ‘Before Coffee’.
Cherise Sinclair
Environmental history… refer[s] to the past contact of man with his total habitat. . . . The environmental historian like the ecologist [s]hould think in terms of wholes, of communities, of interrelationships, and of balances.
Roderick Nash
I like to think I’m a recovering historian.
Margaret MacMillan
After all, history is a type of fantasy. For all the primary source research, in the end, the past world the historian builds is as weird and remote from our own as Middle Earth or Narnia, yet oddly familiar.
Ysabeau S. Wilce
Incredibly deep research combines with the talents of a fine historian and writer to produce superb narrative history. The true character and relationship of these two iconic westerners emerge to suppress myth and correct more than a century of tomes laden with bad history.
Robert M. Utley
Any event, once it has occurred, can be made to appear inevitable by a competent historian.
Lee Simonson
Historians still often see the end of the war as meaning nothing more for Germany than lost territories, lost participation in colonization, and lost assets for the state and individuals. They frequently overlook the most serious loss that Germany suffered.
Gustav Stresemann
To a historian libraries are food, shelter, and even muse. They are of two kinds: the library of published material, books, pamphlets, periodicals, and the archive of unpublished papers and documents.
Barbara Tuchman
If historians of philosophy are to be divided into those who focus on discontinuities and those who focus on continuities, I belong in the latter camp.
Gail Fine
Limitation is essential to authority. A government is legitimate only if it is effectively limited.
Lord Acton
The only difference between the narrator of contemporary affairs and the ordinary historian is that moral judgments about the present provoke fiercer reactions and have more immediately practical implications than moral judgments about the past.
Geoffrey Barraclough
When you compare yourself with others in matters of wealth, position, and health, you should look at people less favoured than yourself. When you compare yourself with others in matters of religion, knowledge and virtue, look at people who are better than yourself.
Ibn Hazm
I believe that the supreme duty of the historian is to write history, that is to say, to attempt to record in one sweeping sequence the greater events and movements that have swayed the destinies of man.
Steven Runciman
You don’t have to be a brilliant historian to know that in Europe, messing with countries’ borders, messing with their self-determination, their ability to choose their own futures, this is extremely dangerous, and that’s why I think it is important to stand up to Putin.
David Cameron
I don’t know if a historian or scholar owns an opinion.
Susan Vreeland
Historians will likely give Obama credit for steering the country away from the brink of economic collapse in 2009.
Ron Fournier
As a historian, you can only go as far as the evidence will take you.
Deborah Harkness
Technological change is essential, but to a natural historian it often feels cold and distancing.
George Monbiot
Traditionally art is to create and not to revive. To revive: leave that to the historians, who are looking backward.
Josef Albers
The historian’s one task is to tell the thing as it happened.
Susan Campbell has brought Isabella’s fascinating forgotten story back to life with the deep research of a born historian and the vibrant readable prose style of a veteran journalist.
Debby Applegate
As Harvard historian of science Peter Galison has demonstrated, the universe of classified knowledge now far exceeds the universe of unclassified knowledge. That’s a staggering thought. There is far more classified knowledge in the world than unclassified. And that disparity grows all the time.
Ryan Shapiro
Historians are to nationalism what poppy-growers in Pakistan are to heroin-addicts: we supply the essential raw material for the market.
Eric Hobsbawm
As a natural historian, I don’t believe in the consciousness of rocks or the opinions of rainbows or the convictions of slugs.
Jim Crace
I know historians aren’t supposed to fall in love with their own theories, but I was head over heels about the notion of an entire band of female French agents, like a nineteenth-century Charlie’s Angels. Only better. It made the Pink Carnation’s organization look positively humdrum.
Lauren Willig
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it without a sense of ironic futility.
Errol Morris
Historians ought to be precise, faithful, and unprejudiced; and neither interest nor fear, hatred nor affection, should make them swerve from the way of truth.
Miguel de Cervantes
In his book Modern Times, the historian Paul Johnson referred to Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini as the three devils of the twentieth century. Interestingly, Nietzshean dogma influenced each of them.
Ravi Zacharias
Reason is the historian, but passions are the actors.
Antoine Rivarol
History isn’t what happened, history is just what historians tell us.
Julian Barnes
It has been important to me, as an historian of photography, to understand photography by photographing.
Beaumont Newhall
The first Elizabeth film was an absolute travesty historically. It really was sloppy. Things like ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ and ‘The Tudors,’ people’s perception is distorted because of these. It matters to me as a historian, because I spend my life trying to get it right.
Alison Weir
There are a number of World War II historians I admire: Cornelius Ryan, Mark Stoler, Antony Beevor, to name a few. As for generals, there are those I admire as combat leaders and others I admire because they’re great fun to write about.
Rick Atkinson
There is little history in the study of nature, and there is little nature in the study of history. I want to show how we can remedy that cultural lag by developing a new perspective on the historian’s enterprise, one that will make us Darwinians at last.
Donald Worster
An intelligence officer and historian, Rayburn published a 2014 book, ‘Iraq After America,’ which is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how Iraq descended into chaos in the years after the American troop withdrawal at the end of 2011.
Peter Bergen
History is gossip that’s been legitimized, and that’s really the case when you get into some of the Roman historians. Wow! They’d be right at home on reality tv.
Esther M. Friesner
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
The acceptance of the facts of African-American history and the African-American historian as a legitimate part of the academic community did not come easily. Slavery ended and left its false images of black people intact.
John Henrik Clarke
Every historian has a vested interest. “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” was not about the Roman but the British empire. What price the truth?
Peter Greenaway
History must speak for itself. A historian is content if he has been able to shed more light.
William L. Shirer
I have approached the buildings as psychological and poetic manifestations – rather than from the more technical viewpoints of the architect and historian (which mostly miss the living spirit behind the forms).
Clarence John Laughlin
I am not a theologian or a historian, and I feel no call to become a defender of the faith, so in my case, the search for what remains valuable focuses on language itself: Catholic prayer, ritual, the naming of things.
Alice McDermott
The U.S. Army records alone for World War II weigh 17,000 tons, and even the best historians have not done more than just scratch the surface. The story is such that 500 years from now people will be writing and reading about it.
Rick Atkinson