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

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

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Tender
    by Belinda McKeon
    Most of us have heard the slightly trite saying: "If you love something, set it free." But one can ...
  • Book Jacket
    All Tomorrow's Parties
    by Rob Spillman
    In this absorbing memoir, co-founder of Tin House magazine, Rob Spillman, recalls his artistic ...
  • Book Jacket: Strangers in Their Own Land
    Strangers in Their Own Land
    by Arlie Russell Hochschild
    Arlie Russell Hochschild's dive into the heart of Tea Party America is as good a glimpse of ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

"A hit…The research is impeccable, the attention to detail, perfect." - The Sunday Mirror (UK)

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    I See You
    by Clare Mackintosh

    A dark and compelling thriller about an everyday woman trapped in the confines of her everyday world.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Caught in the Revolution
    by Helen Rappaport

    A masterful retelling of the Russian Revolution from the author of The Romanov Sisters.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.

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

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Your F C

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 books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.