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History Quotes

11 of the best book quotes about history
  1. #1
    “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.”
  2. #2
    “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.”
  3. #3
    “How can we live without our lives? How will we know it’s us without our past?”
  4. #4
    “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?”
  5. #5
    “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.”
  6. #6
    “There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.”
  7. #7
    “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.”
  8. #8
    “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.”
  9. #9
    It is one thing to write as poet and another to write as a historian.
  10. #10
    “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..”
  11. #11
    “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.”
Books by Margot Lee ShetterlyView All ››
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race book
5.0
Coretta Scott King Award Winners · Female Scientists · famous people · outer space · jobs and careers · Martin Luther King, Jr. · historical figures · civil rights movement
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
Female Scientists · outer space · female role models · computers · math · African Americans
Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition
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