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history Quotes

65 of the best book quotes about history
01
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“I’m skimming across the surface of my own history, moving fast, riding the melt beneath the blades, doing loops and spins, and when I take a high leap into the dark and come down thirty years later, I realize it is as Tim trying to save Timmy’s life with a story.”
Tim O'Brien
author
The Things They Carried
book
Tim O'Brian
character
stories
writing
history
concepts
02
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“The Taliban became the enemy of fine arts, culture, and our history. The Swat Museum moved its collection away for safekeeping. The Taliban destroyed everything old and brought nothing new.”
03
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“The Sages gave to the Supreme the name A-U-M which stands as the root of all language. The first letter ‘A’ is the mother-sound, being the natural sound uttered by every creature when the throat is opened, and no sound can be made without opening the throat. The last letter ‘M,’ spoken by closing the lips, terminates all articulation. As one carries the sound from the throat to the lips, it passes through the sound ‘U.’ These three sounds therefore cover the whole field of possible articulate sound. Their combination is called the Akshara or the imperishable word, the Sound-Brahman or the Word God, because it is the most universal name which can be given to the Supreme.”
04
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“America, then, exhibits in her social state a most extraordinary phenomenon. Men are there seen on a greater equality in point of fortune and intellect, or, in other words, more equal in their strength, than in any other country of the world, or in any age of which history has preserved the remembrance.”
05
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Eldest, that’s what I am. Mark my words, my friends: Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He made paths before the Big People, and saw the little People arriving. He was here before the kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. When the elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless – before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
06
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“With reference to the speeches in this history, some were delivered before the war began, others while it was going on; some I heard myself, others I got from various quarters; it was in all cases difficult to carry them word for word in one’s memory, so my habit has been to make the speakers say what was in my opinion demanded of them by the various occasions, of course adhering as closely as possible to the general sense of what they really said.”
07
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“They don’t want people to know what it was like before the operation. They want to keep you hating yourselves. Otherwise, it’s too easy to get used to ugly faces, normal faces.”
08
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“Arms, and the man I sing, who, forc’d by fate, And haughty Juno’s unrelenting hate, Expell’d and exil’d, left the Trojan shore. Long labors, both by sea and land, he bore, And in the doubtful war, before he won The Latian realm, and built the destin’d town; His banish’d gods restor’d to rites divine, And settled sure succession in his line, From whence the race of Alban fathers come, And the long glories of majestic Rome.”
Virgil
author
war
history
glory
concepts
09
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“Green pine trees, cranes and turtles ... You must tell a story of your hard times And laugh twice.”
10
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“The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.”
11
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“How can we live without our lives? How will we know it’s us without our past?”
12
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“I am very doubtful whether history shows us one example of a man who, having stepped outside traditional morality and attained power, has used that power benevolently.”
13
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“History provides us with numerous examples of people who were convinced that they were doing the right thing and committed terrible crimes because of it.”
Eldest
book
Oromis
character
crime
history
right
wrong
concepts
14
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“This kingdom is not just a spiritual realm high above the concerns of human history. Nor is it a matter of geography and national boundaries. It is God’s gracious rule in the hearts and lives of his people.”
15
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“He gave me the only answer he could—that history proved time and again it was difficult to change what people believed as truth.”
16
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″[War] provides raw material to be recorded into History, so that children may be taught History sequences of violence, battle after battle, and be more prepared for the adult world.”
17
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“Thinking all Silvers are evil is just as wrong as thinking all Reds are inferior…. What my people are doing to you and yours is wrong to the deepest levels of humanity. Oppressing you, trapping you in an endless cycle of poverty and death, just because we think you are different from us? That is not right. And as any student of history can tell you, it will end poorly.”
18
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“Trees and bushes grow over concrete, reclaiming little pockets and corners, but even more have been cleared away. Shattered glass crunches under my feet and clouds of dust drift in the wind, but somehow this place, the picture of neglect, doesn’t feel abandoned. I know this place from the histories, from the books and old maps.”
19
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“The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.”
20
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“George: “And the west, encumbered by crippling alliances, and hardened with a morality too rigid to accommodate itself to the swing of events, must…eventually…fall.”
21
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“Honey: (Hysterical) Leave me alone…I’m going…to…be…sick. George: The patterns of history.”
22
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“All kinds of strange and marvelous things like the weird Ripley situation of a huge tree that’s fallen across a creek maybe 500 years ago and’s made a bridge thereby.”
23
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“Human history in all ages is red with blood, and bitter with hate, and stained with cruelties; but not since Biblical times have these features been without a limit of some kind.
24
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“History shows that it does not matter who is in power or what revolutionary forces take over the government, those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning.”
25
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“As sure as time, history is repeating itself, and as sure as man is man, history is the last place he’ll look for his lessons.”
26
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“What I wanted was for them to have a grand, sweeping narrative that they deserved, the kind of American history that belongs to the Wright Brothers and the astronauts, to Alexander Hamilton and Martin Luther King Jr. Not told as a separate history, but as part of the story we all know. Not at the margins, but at the very center, the protagonists of the drama. And not just because they are black, or because they are women, but because they are part of the American epic.”
27
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“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”
28
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“Everything about the house was rich, and dense, and rooted. It was everything I wasn’t. Even the air, with its distinct smell of oak wood and sage, spoke to its identify and its history. I couldn’t help but feel small here. Overwhelmed. Incompatible.”
29
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“‘You’re young, you don’t know. Things change. What happened, happened forty years ago. It’s history.‘”
Sally Jupiter
character
time
change
history
years
young
concepts
30
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“There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.”
Sun Tzu
author
war
history
concepts
31
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“I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it—or my observation of it—is temporary?”
32
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“There’s much more. There’s all that goes beyond – all ... that is Elsewhere – and all that goes back, and back, and back. I received all of those, when I was selected. And here in this room, all alone, I re-experience them again and again. It is how wisdom comes. And how we shape our future.”
The Giver
character
future
memories
history
concepts
33
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“Now what is history? It is the centuries of systematic explorations of the riddle of death, with a view to overcoming death. That’s why people discover mathematical infinity and electromagnetic waves, that’s why they write symphonies..”
34
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“You know the greatest lesson of history? It’s that history is whatever the victors say it is. That’s the lesson. Whoever wins, that’s who decides the history. We act in our own self-interest. Of course we do. Name me a person or a nation who does not. The trick is figuring out where your interests are.”
35
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“I had decided to study not history, but historians. I suppose my interest came from the sense of groundlessness I’d felt since learning about the Holocaust and the civil rights movement--since realizing that what a person knows about the past is limited, and will always be limited, to what they are told by others. I knew what it was to have a misconception corrected--a misconception of such magnitude that shifting it shifted the world. Now I needed to understand how the great gatekeepers of history had come to terms with their own ignorance and partiality. I thought if I could accept that what they had written was not absolute but was the result of a biased process of conversation and revision, maybe I could reconcile myself with the fact that the history most people agreed upon was not the history I had been taught.”
36
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It is one thing to write as poet and another to write as a historian.
37
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History is entirely created by the person who tells the story.
38
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“Unloved women have no biographies--they have histories.”
39
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″ What happens to the country, to the world, depends on what we do with what others have left us.”
40
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“He does not know that the ultimate truth is that history ought to consist only of the anecdotes of the little people who are caught up in it.”
41
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“Do you think you can so easily erase our history? Are you so stupid that you think that we will forget what it said?”
42
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“We study history not to know the future but to widen our horizons, to understand that our present situation is neither natural nor inevitable, and that we consequently have many more possibilities before us than we imagine.”
43
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“This they tell, and whether it happened so or not I do not know; but if you think about it, you can see that it is true.”
44
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“Well behaved women seldom make history.”
45
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“At some time in the history of the universe, there were no human minds, and at some time later, there were.”
46
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“In the long war which humanity wages with the elements of nature the main body of the army has won its victory.”
47
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“Some history making is intentional; much of it is accidental.”
48
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“So what do people see when they read that well-behaved women rarely make history? Do they imagine good-time girls in stiletto heels or do-good girls carrying clipboards and passing petitions? Do they envision an out-of-control hobbyist or a single mother taking down a drunk in a bar? I suspect that it depends on where they stand themselves.”
49
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“History is a conversation and sometimes a shouting match between present and past, though often the voices we most want to hear are barely audible.”
50
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“They prayed secretly, read the Bible through at least once a year, and went to hear the minister preach even when it snowed. Hoping for an eternal crown, they never asked to be remembered on earth. And they haven’t been.”
51
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“A pioneer is not someone who makes her own soap. She is one who takes up her burdens and walks toward the future.”
52
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“All had intellectual fathers, domestic mothers. All three were raised in settings that simultaneously encouraged and thwarted their love of learning. All three married men who supported their intellectual ambitions. All three lived through the wrenching deaths of loved ones and terrifying, fratricidal warfare—the Hundred Years War in Christine’s case, the American Civil War in Stanton’s, and World War I for Woolf. All three identified with women yet imagined becoming male. In their work and in their lives, all three writers addressed an enduring puzzle: Are differences between the sexes innate or learned? Using stories about the past to challenge history, they talked back to books.”
53
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“The familiar hated affliction--feeling awkward, foolish, inept, embarrassed-- surged through him, but for once he did not care and paid it no attention. The mouse dream fitted through his mind. Then he thought of Anne Frank and of his visit to her house--no, not her house, her museum--that morning. And now this and these tears. All somehow connected.”
54
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“If there was ever a more perfect day in the history of time it isn’t one I’ve heard about.”
55
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Osbert was the only one who didn’t seem suspicious. He was so interested in the Decline of Western Civilization that he missed the version of it taking place under his nose.”
56
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“In the graveyard, no one ever changed. The little children Bod had played with when he was small were still children; Fortinbras Bartleby, who had once been his best friend, was not four or five years younger than Bod was, and they had less to talk about each time they saw each other; Thackeray Porringer was Bod’s height and age, and seemed to be in much better temper with him;...”
57
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“Captain Vince used to fly a helicopter for the Coast Guard, until he lost a let in a dangerous rescue mission.”
58
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“It may be history, it may be only a legend, a tradition. It may have happened, it may not have happened: but it could have happened. It may be that the wise and the learned believed it in the old days; it maybe that only the unlearned and the simple loved it and credited it.”
59
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“Let me tell it to you the way it was, and you judge for yourself if there isn’t a meaning and charm in the decline and fall of this clock.”
60
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“We go back to Barangaroo, in 1788, who is staying here with her Aborigine tribe. These brief synopses do nothing to impart the warmth, charm and humour of these write ups….”
61
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“Starting in 1988 and going back 200 years, we are told the history of Australia by being told the history of one particular place, told by the generations of children who have lived in that one spot. ”
62
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“The book spans two centuries, from 1788 to 1988, and covers the same quarter acre of land – as we see how it has changed throughout this period. This is done via the voices of the children living there, and we visit them in 10-yearly intervals to learn about their lives and situations. The book travels backwards through time.”
63
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“Bertie, in 1918, has a brother who has lost a leg due to the War. Benjamin, in 1858 was actually born in San Francisco. His family came here because of the gold rush.”
64
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“Sofia in 1968 has photographs of Paul McCartney all over her bedroom wall, because he is her favorite Beatle.”
65
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“As if in a trance, M.C. gazed out over the rolling hills. He sensed Sarah moving through undergrowth up the mountainside. As if past were present. As if he were a ghost, waiting, and she, the living.”

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