Famous Quotes & Sayings

Nathaniel Philbrick Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 75 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Nathaniel Philbrick.

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They were a most unusual group of colonists. Instead of noblemen, craftsmen, and servants - the types of people who had founded Jamestown in Virginia - these were, for the most part, families - men, women, and children who were willing to endure almost anything if it meant they could worship as they pleased. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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There was a saying on the island: "[I]t is a pity to spoil a good mate by making him a master. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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There are two possible responses to a world suddenly gripped by terror and contention. There is the Moseley way: get mad and get even. But as the course of King Philip's War proved, unbridled arrogance and fear only feed the flames of violence. Then there is the (Benjamin) Church way. Instead of killing him, try to bring him around to your way of thinking. First and foremost, treat him like a human being. For Church, success in war was about coercion rather than slaughter, and in this he anticipated the welcoming, transformative beast that eventually became, once the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were in place, the United States. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Nickerson began to understand, as only an adolescent on the verge of adulthood can understand, that the carefree days of childhood were gone forever: "Then it was that I, for the first time, realized that I was alone upon a wide and an unfeeling world . . . without one relative or friend to bestow one kind word upon me. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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How much of assumed national and personal character comes from the fact that we have never truly known need to the point of having our character tested? Willing conscientious objectors underwent controlled starvation and confirmed how quickly it impacts the initiative and generosity we like to think of as "American" characteristics. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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As long as I can remember, I've been writing - first poems, then stories, and by my early teenage years I was also in love with sailing. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Warren had a most unusual household. A recent widower with four children between the ages of two and eight, he was not only a leading patriot but also had one of the busiest medical practices in Boston. He had two apprentices living with him on Hanover Street, and he sometimes saw as many as twenty patients a day. His practice ran the gamut, from little boys with broken bones, like John Quincy Adams, to prostitutes on aptly named Damnation Alley, — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Faint heart never won fair lady," he wrote; "neither did it ever pursue and overtake an Indian village. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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For me, the hardest thing in the world is how to start a book. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Paul Revere Jr., with whom I had lunch at Spanky's Clam Shack in Hyannis, Massachusetts. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Melville's example demonstrates the wisdom of waiting to read the classics. Coming to a great book on your own after having accumulated essential life experience can make all the difference. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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You cannot underestimate the influence of Shakespeare. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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After seventeen days, one of the crew suggested that they cast lots. As it turned out, the lot fell to the man who had originally made the proposal, and after lots were cast again to see who should execute him, he was killed and eaten. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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No matter how much the inhabitants might try to hide it, there was a savagery about this island, a bloodlust and pride that bound every mother, father, and child in a clannish commitment to the hunt. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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In the end, both sides wanted what the Pilgrims had been looking for in 1620: a place unfettered by obligations to others. But from the moment Massasoit decided to become the Pilgrims' ally, New England belonged to no single group. For peace and for survival, others must be accommodated. The moment any of them gave up on the difficult work of living with their neighbors - and all of the compromise, frustration, and delay that inevitably entailed - they risked losing everything. It was a lesson that Bradford and Massasoit had learned over the course of more than three long decades. That it could be so quickly forgotten by their children remains a lesson for us today. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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This mortal life decays apace How soon the bubble's broke Adam and all his numerous race Are Vanity and Smoke. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Writing can't be too calculated. My best writing is when I set it aside, move on. It's not when I'm crafting a sentence, thinking about what word should follow another. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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fluidity of the sea, not the rigidity of irresistible law, characterizes human conduct, especially in the midst of a calamity. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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a space of time is a great breeder of myths. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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'Moby-Dick' has a remarkable way of resonating with whatever is going on in the world at that particular moment. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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A survival tale peels away the niceties and comforts of civilization. Suddenly, all the technology and education in the world means nothing. I think all of us wonder while reading a survival tale, 'What would I have done in this situation? Would I have made it?' — Nathaniel Philbrick

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I follow the Patriots, but the Steelers were my first and true love. I still have a 'Terrible Towel.' — Nathaniel Philbrick

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XTC is my favorite band; I'm a huge Neil Young fan, Jayhawks, all that type of stuff. I like Death Cab for Cutie, also Ryan Adams. I try to impress my children: 'Have you listened to such-and-such?' They're not impressed. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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One of the questions I face when working on a book about a historical event is whether I should visit the actual place that I'm writing about. No matter how scrupulously maintained a historic house or battlefield may be, it is nothing like it was in the long-ago past. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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As Herman Melville wrote of that seagoing monster of a man Captain Ahab, "All mortal greatness is but disease. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Whaling was the oil business of its day. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Some of my books sort of have a provocative take. Sometimes you find interesting things about characters that show they weren't necessarily the way people usually see them. It can make for lively conversations, but that's great. Spark a little controversy, get people to think about it. That's what it's all about. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Martin Scorsese, everything he does, I've got to see. And Jack Nicholson, I've got to see what he does. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Whatever you read, there's no better place to read than the cockpit or the berth of a boat. It's kind of like being in a womb. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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To my mind, an adventure is something a person willingly undertakes. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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As an author of narrative history, I read a lot of history books. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Odd things happen in a battle, and the human heart has strange and gruesome depths and the human brain still stranger shallows; — Nathaniel Philbrick

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I'll watch anything, from action to art films. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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As a former English major, I have always been fascinated by the connections between literature and history. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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The moment any of them gave up on the difficult work of living with their neighbors--and all of the compromise, frustration, and delay that inevitably entailed--they risked losing everything. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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In all natural disasters through time, man needs to attach meaning to tragedy, no matter how random and inexplicable the event is. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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yield. In April, Bradford had decided that each household should be assigned its own plot to cultivate, with the understanding that each family kept whatever it grew. The change in attitude was stunning. Families were now willing to work much harder than they had ever worked before. In previous years, the men had tended the fields while the women tended the children at home. "The women now went willingly into the field," Bradford wrote, "and took their little ones with them to set corn." The Pilgrims had stumbled on the power of capitalism. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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The day before, they had started eating the saltwater-damaged bread. The bread, which they had carefully dried in the sun, now contained all the salt of seawater but not, of course, the water. Already severely dehydrated, the men were, in effect, pouring gasoline on the fire of their thirsts - forcing their kidneys to extract additional fluid from their bodies to excrete the salt. They were beginning to suffer from a condition known as hypernatremia, in which an excessive amount of sodium can bring on convulsions. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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During World War II, the University of Minnesota's Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene conducted what scientists and relief workers still regard today as a benchmark study of starvation. Partly funded by religious groups, including the Society of Friends, the study was intended to help the Allies cope with released concentration-camp internees, prisoners of war, and refugees. The participants were all conscientious objectors who volunteered to lose 25 percent of their body weight over six months. The experiment was supervised by Dr. Ancel Keys (for whom the K-ration was named). The volunteers lived a spare but comfortable existence at a stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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I've always known that I had the happy facility of making enemies of any one I ever knew, — Nathaniel Philbrick

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at sea, things appear different. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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To be in the presence of a great leader is to know a blighted soul who has managed to make the darkness work for him. Ishmael says it best: "For all men tragically great are made so through a certain morbidness. Be sure of this, O young ambition, all mortal greatness is but a disease." In chapter 36, "The Quarter-Deck," Melville show us how susceptible we ordinary people are to the seductive power of a great and demented man. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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I'm a big Stephen King fan. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Many of us came away from our youth thinking that the story of the Revolution was that the Americans were patriots fighting the oppressive British. It was kind of good versus evil, liberty versus tyranny. When you get into it, you find that it was much more complicated. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Enthusiasm is big. When I write a book, it's a three-year commitment. Toward the end, I'm writing seven days a week, and it's exhausting but thrilling. The only hope is to have some real enthusiasm for the book ... Above all, you need some strong emotional or personal connection to your material. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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If you live on Nantucket, you can't avoid its history, and 'Moby Dick' is the way most of us get into Nantucket's history. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Even though I hadn't read a word of it, I grew up hating 'Moby-Dick.' — Nathaniel Philbrick

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When I was at Brown, I wanted to write the great American novel, but I was too scared to take a creative course. I signed up for one, got in, and just didn't have the courage to go. I was a tremendously shy person, almost pathologically shy. The thought of peers critiquing my work - oh, God. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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People think I live here on Nantucket and just gaze at the ocean, getting my inspiration. Not so. I work in my basement and gaze out onto a single window that shows me a cement wall. This is a profession, and it's important to have professionalism about the writing. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Chase's ability to adjust his manner of leadership to the needs of his men begs comparison to one of the greatest and most revered leaders of all time, Sir Ernest Shackleton. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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The great lesson I get from 'Moby-Dick' is that when the times are bad, when there is great foreboding, there are still ways to go about living. It's through Ishmael that I find a kind of overall cosmic approach to a meaningful life in this meaningless world. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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For me, 'Moby-Dick' is more than the greatest American novel ever written; it is a metaphysical survival manual - the best guidebook there is for a literate man or woman facing an impenetrable unknown: the future of civilization in this storm-tossed 21st century. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Something like going to get the newspaper can increase your writing efficiency by taking you away from the material. When I'm doing other things, writing stuff will be swirling around in my head, and sometimes I'll see a new way into the material. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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bloc, effectively guaranteeing that — Nathaniel Philbrick

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The sperm whales' network of female-based family unit resembled, to a remarkable extent, the community the whalemen had left back home on Nantucket. In both societies the males were itinerants. In their dedication to killing sperm whales the Nantucketers had developed a system of social relationships that mimicked those of their prey. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Instead of being a page-turner, 'Moby-Dick' is a repository of American history and culture and the essentials of Western literature. The book is so encyclopedic that space aliens could use it to re-create the whale fishery as it once existed on the planet Earth in the midst of the 19th century. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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If half of the two thousand warriors fired ten arrows each during the engagement, that would have been a total of ten thousand arrows, — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Faint not, poor soul, in God still trust;
Fear not the things thou suffer must;
For, whom he loves he doth chastise,
And then all tears wipes from their eyes.

William Bradford
Plymouth Colony Governor — Nathaniel Philbrick

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the greatest danger to America's future came from self-serving opportunism masquerading as patriotism. At — Nathaniel Philbrick

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A Puritan believed it was necessary to venture back to the absolute beginning of Christianity, before the church had been corrupted by centuries of laxity and abuse, to locate divine truth. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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It is painful to witness the death of the smallest of God's created beings, much more, one in which life is so vigorously maintained as the Whale! And when I saw this, the largest and most terrible of all created animals bleeding, quivering, dying a victim to the cunning of man, my feelings were indeed peculiar! — Nathaniel Philbrick

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The act of self-expression - through writing a journal or letters - often enables a survivor to distance himself from his fears. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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You know, if you're at home with children, you lose twenty-five IQ points. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Soon after, Tom, all of twenty years old, became the only soldier in the Civil War to win two Medals of Honor. In — Nathaniel Philbrick

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We all know the story: how a defiant and undisciplined collection of citizen soldiers banded together to defeat the mightiest army on earth. But as those who lived through the nearly decadelong saga of the American Revolution were well aware, that was not how it actually happened. The real Revolution was so troubling and strange that once the struggle was over, a generation did its best to remove all traces of the truth. No one wanted to remember how after boldly declaring their independence they had so quickly lost their way; how patriotic zeal had lapsed into cynicism and self-interest; and how, just when all seemed lost, a traitor had saved them from themselves. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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We interact with one another as individuals responding to a complex haze of factors: professional responsibilities, personal likes and dislikes, ambition, jealousy, self-interest, and, in at least some instances, genuine altruism. Living in the here and now, we are awash with sensations of the present, memories of the past, and expectations and fears for the future. Our actions are not determined by any one cause; they are the fulfillment of who we are at that particular moment. After that moment passes, we continue to evolve, to change, and our memories of that moment inevitably change with us as we live with the consequences of our past actions, consequences we were unaware of at the time. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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I consider myself a writer who happens to write about history, rather than a historian. I was an English major in college. What I've learned about history is in the field, so to speak. Going into the archives and working with it directly. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Reading 'Moby-Dick' helps you discover how to live. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Modern survival psychologists have determined that this "social" - as opposed to "authoritarian" - form of leadership is ill suited to the early stages of a disaster, when decisions must be made quickly and firmly. Only later, as the ordeal drags on and it is necessary to maintain morale, do social leadership skills become important. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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wishing thee a short and prosperous voyage, with a full portion of happiness we remain thy friends. In — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Hope was all that stood between them and death. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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The whaleman's rule of thumb was that, before diving, a whale blew once for each minute it would spend underwater. Whalemen also knew that while underwater the whale continued at the same speed and in the same direction as it had been traveling before the dive. Thus, an experienced whaleman could calculate with remarkable precision where a submerged whale was likely to reappear. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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I watch a lot of bad TV. I spend my entire day reading and writing, and after dinner my idea of fun is just to watch a lot of bad TV. That's how I relax and stay in touch with modern culture. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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In the years to come, the combination of climate change and population growth could have a devastating effect on the planet and, needless to say, on humanity. — Nathaniel Philbrick

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Custer wrote, "I often think I would greatly prefer to cast my lot among those of my people adhered to the free open plains rather than submit to the confined limits of a reservation, there to be the recipient of the blessed benefits of civilization, with its vices thrown in without stint or measure. — Nathaniel Philbrick