Four quotes related to the writing of history 2 comments

“Men hate the truth more than falsehood.”—Fire-eater R. B. Rhett Sr. to his namesake son, July 31, 1861, from the private papers of Wiley Sword.

“A lot of folks like their Civil War history cut and dried, with a predictable cast of characters – they like to cheer the hero and hiss the villain. The curtain falls, and they say, ‘Very good, just as I remember the play.’”—Brian Pohanka, as transcribed by Maurice D’Aoust,

“It is always unpleasant to acknowledge facts that are inconsistent with your own point of view. But I thought that was what distinguished science from popular prejudice.”—Don Weatherburn, “Statistics and gun laws,” The Sydney Morning Herald, November 1, 2005.

“A popular author is one who writes what the people think. Genius invites them to think something else.”—Ambrose Bierce, The collected works of Ambrose Bierce, Volume 8, pg. 356.

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2 thoughts on “Four quotes related to the writing of history

  • Joseph Rose Post author

    David Moore just suggested another good one:

    The true story of the late war has not been told. It probably never will be told. It is not flattering to our people, and, as I have said, unpalatable truths seldom find their way into history.—Donn Piatt

  • Phil Leigh

    Mark Twain also had some clever comments on history.

    Herodotus says, “Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all: The conscientious historian will correct these defects.” — Attributed in the Twain short story, “A Horse’s Tale.”

    “The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.”

    And then there is the comment ascribed to many others including George Orwell: “History is written by the victors.”

    Burt I especially like the comment of Cuban refugee Carlos Eire who presently teaches Yale University.

    “Show me history untouched by memories and you show me lies. Show me lies not based on memories and you show me the worst lies of all.”

    My Blog:

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