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.

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman
    The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman
    by Julietta Henderson
    The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman is the comedic debut novel of writer Julietta Henderson. It ...
  • Book Jacket: In Search of a Kingdom
    In Search of a Kingdom
    by Laurence Bergreen
    The Age of Exploration in the early modern period, lasting roughly from the 15th through 16th ...
  • Book Jacket: Under a White Sky
    Under a White Sky
    by Elizabeth Kolbert
    You can never go back home...so the saying goes. According to Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer ...
  • Book Jacket: The Barbizon
    The Barbizon
    by Paulina Bren
    Esteemed historian and Vassar professor Paulina Bren brings the legendary Barbizon Hotel to life on ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Girl in His Shadow
by Audrey Blake
The story of one woman who believed in scientific medicine before the world believed in her.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Ariadne
    by Jennifer Saint

    A mesmerizing debut novel about Ariadne, Princess of Crete for fans of Madeline Miller's Circe.

  • Book Jacket

    Crossing the River
    by Carol Smith

    A powerful exploration of grief that combines memoir, reportage, and lessons in how to heal.

Who Said...

The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A S I T closet

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

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.