David McCullough Quotes

David McCullough Quotes

To me, history ought to be a source of pleasure. It isn't just part of our civic responsibility. To me, it's an enlargement of the experience of being alive, just the way literature or art or music is."

[The Title Always Comes Last; NEH 2003 Jefferson Lecturer interview profile]

Morality only is eternal. All the rest is balloon and bubble from the cradle to the grave.

Remove yourself, sir!

History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.

Nothing ever invented provides such sustenance, such infinite reward for time spent, as a good book.

Indeed, bribery, favoritism, and corruption in a great variety of forms were rampant not only in politics, but in all levels of society.

It was a day and age that saw no reason why one could not learn whatever was required - learn vitally anything - by the close study of books.

In an exhibition wherein paintings of nudes were commonplace, that of Madame Gautreau in her black evening dress was considered scandalously erotic. -from The Greater Journey

You can't be a full participant in our democracy if you don't know our history.

You've got to marinate your head, in that time and culture.
You've got to become them."
(Speaking about researching, and reading, and immersing yourself in History)

marinate your mind

If you haven't met Kenny (Young) you have not seen how the spirit of Boston can be embodied by one single man.

The study of history is an antidote to the hubris of the present – the idea that everything we have, everything we do and everything we think is the ultimate, the best.

The author perceptively outlines what might be an underrated aspect of his subject and of many others whose public achievements are of note – a "gift for friendship". McCullough says Adams, despite his towering intellect and curmudgeonly demeanor, had a soft heart for other people and a genuine interest in their particulars.

Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That's why it's so hard."

(Interview with NEH chairman Bruce Cole, Humanities, July/Aug. 2002, Vol. 23/No. 4)

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