Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

Who said: "Books are the carriers of civilization"

BookBrowse's Favorite Quotes

"Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill." - Barbara Tuchman

Barbara TuchmanAmerican historian and author Barbara Wertheim Tuchman was born in 1912 into a wealthy New York family. After gaining an undergraduate degree from Radcliffe College she worked as a research assistant at the Institute of Pacific Relations in New York and Tokyo, and then was an editorial assistant for The Nation, followed by time as an American correspondent for the New Statesman in London and on the Far East News Desk. She also worked for the Office of War Information (1944–45).

In 1939 she married Lester R. Tuchman, an internist, medical researcher and professor of clinical medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. They had three daughters. Although she could have lived a conventional life as a the wife of a prominent physician, as her three daughters grew up she started to write history books. This was a challenge for her, not just because she was a woman but because she had no graduate degree, let alone an academic title. "It's what saved me," she once said. "If I had taken a doctoral degree, it would have stifled any writing capacity." She had a firm sense of her vocation as a historian, which she summed up in a 1978 speech, "'the writer's object is - or should be - to hold the reader's attention ... I want the reader to turn the page and keep on turning to the end. This is accomplished only when the narrative moves steadily ahead, not when it comes to a weary standstill, overloaded with every item uncovered in the research."

She first found fame as the author of The Guns of August (late retitled August 1914) which won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 1963; the first of two Pulitzers she would receive, the second was for Stilwell and the American Experience in China (1972).

Tuchman was a trustee of Radcliffe College and a lecturer at Harvard University, University of California, and the U.S. Naval War College. A tower of Currier House, a residential division of Harvard College was named in her honor.

She died at the age of seventy-seven in 1989. The New York Times published a substantial obituary that can be read here.

More Quotes

This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Light Eaters
    The Light Eaters
    by Zoë Schlanger
    The human race is completely dependent on plants. Many people, however, give little thought to ...
  • Book Jacket: Joy Is the Justice We Give Ourselves
    Joy Is the Justice We Give Ourselves
    by J Drew Lanham
    As a recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Grant, and a Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Master ...
  • Book Jacket: Glorious Exploits
    Glorious Exploits
    by Ferdia Lennon
    Lampo and Gelon are two unemployed potters in their thirties whose lives are spent between their ...
  • Book Jacket: Song of the Six Realms
    Song of the Six Realms
    by Judy I. Lin
    Xue'er has no place in the kingdom of Qi or any of the Six Realms. Her name means "Solitary Snow" ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Long After We Are Gone
by Terah Shelton Harris
After their father's death, four siblings rally to save their family home in this gripping and hopeful tale.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Daughters of Shandong
    by Eve J. Chung

    Eve J. Chung's debut novel recounts a family's flight to Taiwan during China's Communist revolution.

  • Book Jacket

    This Strange Eventful History
    by Claire Messud

    An immersive, masterful story of a family born on the wrong side of history.

Win This Book
Win Only the Brave

Only the Brave by Danielle Steel

A powerful, sweeping historical novel about a courageous woman in World War II Germany.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

F T a T

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.