Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That’s why it is so hard.
Hurry was the order of the day, every day.
With the situation as gray as it could be, no one was more conspicuous in his calm presence of mind than Washington. They must be “cool but determined” he had told the men before the battle, when spirits were high. Now, in the face of catastrophe, he was demonstrating what he meant by his own example. Whatever anger or torment or despair he felt, he kept to himself.
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.
[On Knox:]…despite…repeated mishaps that would have broken lesser spirits several times over.
Washington had no illusions about the difficulties to be faced. He was gravely, realistically apprehensive about the magnitude of the enemy force in route.
Washington had performed his role to perfection. It was no enough that a leader look the part; by Washington’s rules, he must know how to act it with self-command and precision.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- James Truslow Adams American Historian
- Jacques Barzun French-born American Historian
- Henry Adams American Historian
- John Jay Chapman American Biographer
- Edgar Lee Masters American Poet, Novelist
- Daniel J. Boorstin American Historian
- Will Durant American Historian
- James Harvey Robinson American Historian
- Theodore H. White American Journalist
- Norman Mailer American Novelist, Journalist