65 Historical Quotes of Amanda Foreman

” In 1874, Mary Fraser accompanied her husband Hugh to Hong Kong, arriving hours after a typhoon had wrecked the island. Some 10,000 boat families had drowned in the harbour. There was no way to avoid the bloated bodies, and when Mary disembarked, she felt her foot land on something soft. “
” The photograph of the Queen sitting stiffly across the table from Glasgow resident Susan McCarron is so natural and expressive that it looks utterly fake. It looks like an artist’s portrait, complete with symbolism, humour and poignancy. No wonder the palace and the press have interpreted it in such different ways. “
” The energy that New York exudes is as much the light of extinguished souls as it is the spark of individual enterprise. And while the full meaning of the city may prove elusive, all New Yorkers are painfully aware that it remains an intractable mass of contradictions. It is not just the extremes of wealth and poverty living side by side. “
” For people like me, who have got their flags and wars mixed up, I think it should be pointed out that there may have been only one War of 1812, but there are four distinct versions of it – the American, the British, the Canadian, and the Native American. “
” For America, 1812 became the war in which it had finally gained its independence. For Britain, 1812 became the skirmish it had contained, while winning the real war against its greatest nemesis, Napoleon. “
” The narrative of ‘man the hunter’ presupposes that men provided the nutrition, invented the tools, and established social organization and communication through the hunt, and that women were just sitting by the fire waiting for evolution to drag them out by the hair in the 1960s in order to participate. “
” As a working mother, wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law, I have to make constant moral choices. Every choice I make results in someone else suffering. “
” I go into the local chemist, and I can hear people saying, ‘Oh my Gaaahd – it’s Lisa Kudrow!’ And there’s a famous Amanda Foreman, an actress two years older than me, who appears in ‘Private Practice’. “
” For America, Britain has never been more than a strategic player, and when it suits them to use us, then there’s been a rapprochement. But if it doesn’t suit them, you’re kicked out the door. In 1860, America was like a big, spoilt teenager trying to get away from its parent. “
” Almost the first thing Obama did in the White House was to return the bust of Winston Churchill to the British embassy. That suggests a major re-ordering of things. It’ll be fascinating to see what happens from now on. It was a genuine break with the recent past – perhaps to re-connect with the past past. “
” I want my children to see what all my work leads to. “
” I was there for the making of Young Winston, but guns kept going off. I went ‘Waaaaah,’ and someone said, ‘Please get the child off the set.’ “
” What if everything you were told about the female was wrong? “
” Foot-binding is said to have been inspired by a tenth-century court dancer named Yao Niang who bound her feet into the shape of a new moon. She entranced Emperor Li Yu by dancing on her toes inside a six-foot golden lotus festooned with ribbons and precious stones. “
” A small foot in China, no different from a tiny waist in Victorian England, represented the height of female refinement. For families with marriageable daughters, foot size translated into its own form of currency and a means of achieving upward mobility. The most desirable bride possessed a three-inch foot, known as a ‘golden lotus.’ “
” Foot-binding, which started out as a fashionable impulse, became an expression of Han identity after the Mongols invaded China in 1279. The fact that it was only performed by Chinese women turned the practice into a kind of shorthand for ethnic pride. “
” For women, Neo-Confucianism placed extra emphasis on chastity, obedience, and diligence. A good wife should have no desire other than to serve her husband, no ambition other than to produce a son, and no interest beyond subjugating herself to her husband’s family – meaning, among other things, she must never remarry if widowed. “
” The long years of fighting Napoleon’s ambitions for a world empire had hardened the British into an ‘us-against-them’ mentality. “
” When Napoleon abdicated in April 1814, Britain expected that America would soon lose heart and surrender, too. From then on, London’s chief aims were to bring a swift conclusion to the war and capture as much territory as possible in order to gain the best advantage in the inevitable peace talks. “
” When I read the news that Wonder Woman was going to be resurrected for a blockbuster movie in 2016, ‘Batman vs. Superman’, it made me excited – and anxious. Would the producers give her a role as fierce as her origins – and maybe some shoulder straps – or would she just be cartoon eye candy? “
” Over the years, the writers at DC Comics softened Wonder Woman’s powers in ways that would have infuriated Marston. During the 1960s, she was hardly wondrous at all, less a heroic warrior than the tomboyish girl next door. It was no longer clear whether she was meant to empower the girls or captivate the boys. “
” The creators of Wonder Woman had no interest in proving an actual link to the past. In some parts of the academic world, however, the historical existence of the Amazons, or any matriarchal society, has long been a raging issue. “
” In 1861, Bachofen published his radical thesis that the Amazons were not a myth but a fact. In his view, humanity started out under the rule of womankind and only switched to patriarchy at the dawn of civilization. “
” For a country that makes such a fuss about love on the 14th of February, America has a funny way of showing it on the other 364 days of the year. “
” For centuries, divorce in the West was a male tool of control – a legislative chastity belt designed to ensure that a wife had one master, while a husband could enjoy many mistresses. It is as though, having denied women their cake for so long, the makers have no wish to see them enjoy it. “
” Contrary to popular belief, Henry VIII did not divorce any of his wives. He had sought an annulment from Catherine of Aragon – which he finally awarded to himself after the pope’s continued refusal. When it came to Anne’s turn, Henry took the easy route by having her found guilty of treason. “
” Contrary to popular belief, Henry VIII did not divorce any of his wives. He had sought an annulment from Catherine of Aragon – which he finally awarded to himself after the pope’s continued refusal. When it came to Anne’s turn, Henry took the easy route by having her found guilty of treason. “
” Politics is my second passion, but as a historian, you have to be genuinely neutral. You have failed in your primary duty as a historian if you are one side or the other. “
” We need to feminise history because we are 50 per cent of the population, and our story is just as interesting. “
” I’d gone to Oxford to do graduate studies in the history of the slave trade, but I came across Georgiana’s letters, gave up that thesis, and wrote one on her instead. When I learned that Georgiana’s great-nephews supported opposite sides in the American Civil War, I knew this would be the perfect sequel. “
” American histories were the same; they had these mad ideas about how Parliament worked, or what people really meant when they said A, B, or C. All my life, I felt simultaneously deracinated and rooted in both places, and now it’s my greatest strength: I’m culturally bilingual. “
” When I read ‘The Master’, I felt that I had read a true classic. It’s so rare nowadays that you have that feeling: it was a privilege to read it. “
” I think that once you become a parent, you cease to think of yourself as a hero or heroine. “
” When I was in my twenties, I strongly identified with Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ – her human failings mixed with a desire to do good. “
” Faro is a game of chance, essentially, with no skill involved. You bet against the bank, and the bank almost always wins. “
” I was a graduate student at Oxford when I discovered Georgiana. “
” I would like to say a few things about that photo in ‘Tatler’. I have no regrets. The article was about the 20 cleverest people in England, covered up only by the thing that makes them clever. A saxophonist, for example, had only his saxophone, and an artist, his easel. So I was covered by books. “
” We moved around so much when I was young. I was very shy, so shy that I would walk across the street if I saw someone I knew rather than deal with talking to them. “
” One of the reasons it is considered such a privilege to sit on a Man Booker jury is because it is famously rigorous. The judging is not a gig for lightweights. Not only are all five judges expected to have read all 155 books from beginning to end, but they have to be able to talk fluently about every book at length. “
” Despite the ever-increasing financial pressures experienced by writers and the ever-decreasing space afforded by the media to books, writers are still willing to aim for quality and to take risks. “
” Political correctness may make for smooth edges, but it does little for the imagination and nothing for the arts. Writers work best when they are exploring at the outer limits of what is traditional, acceptable, or conventional. “
” It isn’t enough for a book to be transporting or entertaining; it must also come from a place of knowledge and an understanding of aesthetics. Even where a longlisted book wears its craftsmanship lightly, the power of the writing shines through. “
” There may be fewer women historians writing on traditionally ‘male’ subjects, but they are outstanding in the field – like Margaret MacMillan. “
” When women do take on traditionally male subjects, certain male colleagues can seem affronted that a woman has dared to trespass on their subject. I could given you dozens of examples, but here’s one: Max Hastings’s review in the ‘Sunday Times’ in 2009 of Miranda Carter’s book ‘The Three Emperors’. “
” In 1961, an official U.S. commission oversaw thousands of events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the American Civil War. All 50 states joined in, but not surprisingly, the biggest events took place in the 11 southern states that made up the defeated Confederacy. “
” All nations struggle in the aftermath of civil war. More than 100 years after the English Civil War, for instance, any prelate who was ‘enthusiastic’ about religion attracted censure and suspicion. “
” The American war of 1861-65 is recent enough to be embedded still in cultural memory. “
” Southern politicians who have tried to rise above the passionate rhetoric surrounding the Civil War have frequently found themselves dragged back into the mire. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a Republican, was forced to apologise when his proclamation declaring April Confederate History Month failed to make any reference to slavery. “
” It is our lack of will that lies behind the continued denial of justice to Jean McConville. Yet there is something that we can do now for her and for ourselves before our silence turns us from spectators into passive accomplices. We can remember her. “
” Teach her story to future generations, and at least the moral debt owed to Jean McConville can be repaid. Jean McConville. Jean McConville. Jean McConville. “
” The most famous line in gastronomic history, ‘Let them eat cake’, turns out to have been an eighteenth-century cliche. According to Antonia Fraser, the French accused every foreign queen of saying it, beginning in 1670 with the wife of Louis XIV, Marie Theresa. “
” With a good education and a solid childhood, Marie-Antoinette might have become one of the most admired women in Europe. As it was, the empress paid no attention to her youngest daughter until an accident of nuptial politics made the girl a candidate to marry the French dauphin. “
” As her life became more unhappy, acting attracted Marie-Antoinette because it fulfilled unmet emotional needs. By all accounts, she was quite good in her little private theatricals. But her desire to be a heroine, both literally and figuratively, was shocking to the French. “
” With every generation comes a new wave of hopefuls: small-town escapees, European refugees, disaffected Londoners. “
” It might sound strange to describe New Yorkers as insecure when they delight so much in the cult of success. The display of wealth here, especially new wealth, is indeed wonderfully frank, from the super-long limousines which clog up the roads to the voluptuous fur coats that adorn both men and women. “
” In New York, appearance is a form of currency or, at the very least, a calling card. One must look wealthy in order to be recognised as a person of worth. “
” Every now and then, a writer emerges who just gets better and better. These are the really exciting ones to encounter. Their novels carry the promise of so much more to come. Warwick Collins is one such writer. “
” ‘The Marriage of Souls’, like ‘The Rationalist’, is an exploration of humanist philosophy wrapped between the delicate leaves of an eighteenth-century tale. The story of the two novels – and they should be read as a two-volume work – centres around the old war-horse of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl. But what a boy and what a girl. “
” What makes ‘The Marriage of Souls’ such a wonderful book is Collins’s intricate reconstruction of the late eighteenth-century world. Simplicity and philosophy are the hallmarks of eighteenth-century art and architecture. The classically pure lines look deceptively simple and unburdened by heavy symbolism or imagery. “
” Today, we are fortunate that the historical novel has reached such extraordinary heights of technical mastery. The ability of society to connect with the past holds out the greatest hope for it being able to embrace the future. “
” The historian Linda Colley has analysed how and why George III transformed himself from being a figure of ‘perfect hatred’ to the father of the country. “
” George III’s ability to step in and out of his role fed stories of commoners chancing upon a sturdy gentleman by the wayside who later turned out to be the king. “
” ‘Daughters of Britannia’ is a fascinating book, not least because it shines a light on a very dark corner of Foreign Office dealings. Diplomatic spouses are the Aunt Sallys of the foreign service: responsible for nearly everything, recognised for almost nothing. “
” The one cheering aspect of ‘Daughters of Britannia’ is the extraordinary tenacity and resilience of Hickman’s women. “
” From Lady Carlisle’s trip to Moscow in 1663 to Veronica Atkinson’s tour of duty during the 1989 Romanian revolution, it is clear that very little has changed. Four hundred years of innovation, liberation, and improvement clearly bypassed the Foreign Office while making its rounds through Westminster. “