Stephen Ambrose, born Stephen Edward Ambrose

Ambrose, born Stephen Edward Ambrose

American Historian and Biographer

Author Quotes

Lieutenant Edward S. Godfrey, who was present at the meeting and who later became the authority on the battle of the Little Bighorn, recorded the aftermath. This ?talk? of his [Custer?s] was considered at the time as something extraordinary for General Custer, for it was not his habit to unbosom himself to his officers. In it he showed concessions and a reliance on others; there was an indefinable something that was not Custer. His manner and tone, usually brusque and aggressive, or somewhat curt, was on this occasion conciliating and subdued. There was something akin to an appeal, as if depressed, that made a deep impression on all present. ? Lieutenant Wallace and myself walked to our bivouac, for some distance in silence, when Wallace remarked: ?Godfrey, I believe General Custer is going to be killed.? ?Why?? I replied, ?what makes you think so?? ?Because,? said he, ?I have never heard Custer talk in that way before.

Now what I soon learned was, the reason for that [being the foremost authority] was that nobody else cared about Charles A. Billinghurst. But I can make 'em care if I tell the story right.

The Holocaust was the most evil crime ever committed.

Todd says that the doctor was rather horrified because we passed a German who had had his head shot off, but his arms and legs were still waving about and strange noises were coming out of him, and i thought even the doctor was a bit turned over by that.

World War II, the atomic bomb, the Cold War, made it hard for Americans to continue their optimism.

As Lewis saw it. The White Cliffs can be seen only from small boat or canoe. Put in at Fort Benton and take out three or four days later at Judith Landing. Missouri River Outfitters at Fort Benton, Montana, rents canoes or provides a guided tour by pontoon boat. Of all the historic and/or scenic sights we have visited in the world, this is number one. We have made the trip ten times.

Even before Watergate and his resignation, Nixon had inspired conflicting and passionate emotions.

In each case I am telling a story ? I think of myself as sitting around the campfire after a day on the trail, telling stories that I hope will have the members of the audience, or the readers, leaning forward just a bit, wanting to know what happens next.

Lieutenant Welsh remembered walking around among the sleeping men, and thinking to himself that 'they had looked at and smelled death all around them all day but never even dreamed of applying the term to themselves. They hadn't come here to fear. They hadn't come to die. They had come to win.

Of courage undaunted, possessing a firmness and perseverance of purpose which nothing but impossibilities could divert from its direction, careful as a father of those committed to his charge, yet steady in the maintenance of order and discipline, intimate with the Indian character, customs, and principles; habituated to the hunting life, guarded by exact observation of the vegetables and animals of his own country against losing time in the description of objects already possessed; honest, disinterested, liberal, of sound understanding, and a fidelity to truth so scrupulous that whatever he should report would be as certain as if seen by ourselves ? with all these qualifications as if selected and implanted by nature in one body for this express purpose, I could have no hesitation in confiding the enterprise to him. To fill up the measure desired, he wanted nothing but a greater familiarity with the technical language of the natural sciences, and readiness in the astronomical observations necessary for the geography of his route. To acquire these he repaired immediately to Philadelphia, and placed himself under the tutorage of the distinguished professors of that place.

The irony here is the man who has done the most to keep these papers from becoming available, Dick Nixon, is the man who's going to benefit the most from them because people are going to start seeing the problems from his point of view.

Trial by jury. Live wherever you can make a living. How could a government based on such principles fail?

Writing is not the easiest way to make a living. Your work long hours, usually all by yourself. It is not a way to make money.

As to the Indians, the guiding principle was, promise them anything just so long as they get out of the way.

Friendships are different from all other relationships. Unlike acquaintanceship, friendship is based on love. Unlike lovers and married couples, it is free of jealousy. Unlike children and parents, it knows neither criticism nor resentment. Friendship has no status in law. Business partnerships are based on a contract. So is marriage. Parents are bound by the law. But friendships are freely entered into, freely given, freely exercised.

In October 1805, Stoddard?s tour left St. Louis, including forty-five Indians from eleven tribes. They arrived in Washington in January 1806. Jefferson gave them the standard Great Father talk: We are become as numerous as the leaves of the trees, and, tho? we do not boast, we do not fear any nation. . . My children, we are strong, we are numerous as the stars in the heavens, & we are all gun-men. He followed the threat with the carrot: if they would be at peace with one another and trade with the Americans, they could be happy. (In reply, one of the chiefs said he was glad the Americans were as numerous as the stars in the skies, and powerful as well. So much the better, in fact, for that meant the government should be strong enough to keep white squatters off Indian lands.)

Like Crazy Horse, Custer lived his life to the full; again like Crazy Horse, he was so involved with living that he did not have time to fear death.

Older British observers complained, The trouble with you Yanks is that you are overpaid, oversexed, and over here. (To which the Yanks would reply, The trouble with you Limeys is that you are underpaid, undersexed, and under Eisenhower.)

The more sophisticated we get, the more advanced our buildings and vehicles become, the more vulnerable we are.

U.S. history that while the nation fought its greatest war against the world?s worst racist, it maintained a segregated army abroad and a total system of discrimination at home.

You can take the day off.

At dusk, Wakefield had my most important thought that day. Wading into chest-deep water at first light that morning, I found that my legs would hardly hold me up. I thought I was a coward. Then he had discovered that his sea bags with their explosives had filled with water and he was carrying well over 100 pounds. He had used his knife to cut the bags and dump the water, then moved on to do his job. When I had thought for a moment that I wasn?t going to be able to do it, that I was a coward, and then found out that I could do it, you can?t imagine how great a feeling that was. Just finding out, yes, I could do what I had volunteered to do.

History is everything that has ever happened.

In one of his last newsletters, Mike Ranney wrote: "In thinking back on the days of Easy Company, I'm treasuring my remark to a grandson who asked, 'Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?' No,'" I answered, 'but I served in a company of heroes.

Like their predecessors, the Presidents of today just throw up their hands.

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Ambrose, born Stephen Edward Ambrose
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American Historian and Biographer