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.— David McCullough
The most cheerful David McCullough quotes that will inspire your inner self
History is not the story of heroes entirely.
It is often the story of cruelty and injustice and shortsightedness. There are monsters, there is evil, there is betrayal. That's why people should read Shakespeare and Dickens as well as history ~~ they will find the best, the worst, the height of noble attainment and the depths of depravity.
Real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love.
Never assume that people in positions of responsibility are behaving responsibly.
Don't climb mountains so that people can see you. Climb mountains that you can see the world.
And read… read all the time… read as a matter of principle, as a matter of self-respect. Read as a nourishing staple of life.
We are all what we are, in large degree, because of others who have helped, coached, taught, counseled, who set a standard by example, who've taken an interest in our interests, opened doors, opened our minds, helped us see, who gave encouragement when we needed it, who reprimanded or prodded when we needed it, and at critical moments, inspired.
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times.
History is who we are and why we are the way we are.
Books can change your life. Some of the most influential people in our lives are characters we meet in books.
We are raising a generation of young Americans who are, to a very large degree, historically illiterate. It's not their faults. There's no problem about enlisting their interest in history. None. The problem is the teachers so often have no history in their background.
A nation that forgets its past can function no better than an individual with amnesia.
Why limit yourself to the experience of your own relatively brief time on earth, according to your biological clock, when the whole realm of the human experience reaching back infinitely far is available to you?
The evil of technology was not technology itself, Lindbergh came to see after the war, not in airplanes or the myriad contrivances of modern technical igenuity, but in the extent to which they can distance us from our better moral nature, or sense of personal accountability.
I work very hard on the writing, writing and rewriting and trying to weed out the lumber.
I think the public library system is one of the most amazing American institutions. Free for everybody. If you ever get the blues about the status of American culture there are still more public libraries than there are McDonald's. During the worst of the Depression not one public library closed their doors.
Courage is contagious. If a leader shows courage, others get the idea.
I'm drawn particularly to stories that evolve out of the character of the protagonist.
I just thank my father and mother, my lucky stars, that I had the advantage of an education in the humanities.
Nothing ever invented provides such sustenance, such infinite reward for time spent, as a good book.
Develop and protect a moral sensibility and demonstrate the character to apply it. Dream big. Work hard. Think for yourself. Love everything you love, everyone you love, with all your might. And do so, please, with a sense of urgency, for every tick of the clock subtracts from fewer and fewer...
The fulfilling life, the distinctive life, the relevant life, is an achievement.
.. To do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance.
We all know the old expression, "I'll work my thoughts out on paper.
" There's something about the pen that focuses the brain in a way that nothing else does. That is why we must have more writing in the schools, more writing in all subjects, not just in English classes.
If everyone is special, then no one is. If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless.
When the founders wrote about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, they didn't mean longer vacations and more comfortable hammocks. They meant the pursuit of learning. The pursuit of improvement and excellence. In hard work is happiness.
We still dislike hypocrites. It's a very American characteristic. We still like people who have ideas and who are willing to stand up for what they believe in. We're very forgiving of failures and very willing to give people a second and third chance if they mean to do better and are sorry for what they've done.
Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives. - John Adams
Washington was a man of exceptional, almost excessive self-command, rarely permitting himself any show of discouragement or despair.
I had been writing for about twelve years.
I knew pretty well how you could find things out, but I had never been trained in an academic way how to go about the research.
If you get down about the state of American culture, just remember there are still more public libraries in this country than there are McDonalds.
I think it is one of the most extraordinary elections, a turning point for our country and for the world. That remarkable young man [Barack Obama] has kept his demeanor, kept his temperament and has shown a power to inspire. I see what energy that he has inspired among the young. Well, it inspires us old goats too.
My shorthand answer is that I try to write the kind of book that I would like to read. If I can make it clear and interesting and compelling to me, then I hope maybe it will be for the reader.
I'm very aware how many distractions the reader has in life today, how many good reasons there are to put the book down.
No harm's done to history by making it something someone would want to read.
I've always been dissatisfied, I know that.
But lately I find that I reek of discontentment. It fills my throat, and it floods my brain. And sometimes I fear there is no longer a dream, but only the discontentment.
When a friend of Abigail and John Adams was killed at Bunker Hill, Abigail's response was to write a letter to her husband and include these words, "My bursting heart must find vent at my pen.
The preparations were elaborate and mammoth in scale, and Washington threw himself into the effort, demanding that not an hour be lost.
We should draw on our story, we should draw on our history.
If we don't know who we are, if we don't know how we became what we are, we're going to start suffering from all the obvious detrimental effects of amnesia.
I don't pick my presidents because they were great presidents.
I'm not much interested in ranking presidents and who is the best and who is the worst. I am much more inclined to be interested in them if they had an interesting life and if they were a complete person - and by that I mean they also had flaws and failings.
People often ask me if I'm working on a book.
That's not how I feel. I feel like I work in a book. It's like putting myself under a spell. And this spell, if you will, is so real to me that if I have to leave my work for a few days, I have to work myself back into the spell when I come back. It's almost like hypnosis.
I'm absolutely positive it's in our human nature to want to know about the past.
The two most popular movies of all time, while not historically accurate, are about core historic events: 'Gone With the Wind' and 'Titanic.'
My next book is also set in the eighteenth century.
It's about the Revolution, with the focus on the year 1776. It's about Washington and the army and the war. It's the nadir, the low point of the United States of America.
People are so helpful. People will stop what they're doing to show you something, to walk with you through a section of the town, or explain how a suspension bridge really works.
With the Truman book, I wrote the entire account of his experiences in World War I before going over to Europe to follow his tracks in the war. When I got there, there was a certain satisfaction in finding I had it right - it does look like that.
To this noble end the delegates had pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
We must not think of learning as only what happens in schools.
It is an extended part of life. The most readily available resource for all of life is our public library system.
May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.
Real success is finding your life work in the work that you love.
That's it. Don't worry about making a living, don't worry about popularity or fame. Make what you do ... count more than what you own.
History is about life. It's awful when the life is squeezed out of it and there's no flavor left, no uncertainties, no horsing around. It always disturbed me how many biographers never gave their subjects a chance to eat. You can tell a lot about people by how they eat, what they eat, and what kind of table manners they have.
I am adamant that we must not cut back on funding of the teaching of the arts in the schools: music, painting, theater, dance, all of it. The great thing about the arts is that the only way you learn how to do it is by doing it.
On Christmas morning when I was a child, my mother would leave a book wrapped at the foot of the bed, which was a hint that Santa had come. It was also her way of keeping us in bed a little longer before we went downstairs. So I've always associated books with happiness and gifts. And they are. I can't get enough of them.
Find something to do that you love because then the work itself is always the reward not the recompense. And if you love what you're doing you probably do better at it than doing something you don't love and therefore you'll be compensated appropriately.