William Manchester · 992 pages
Rating: (8.6K votes)
“It is the definition of an egoist that whatever occupies his attention is, for that reason, important.”
“There was, however, a difference between his mood and that of the rest of the cabinet. They felt desperate; he felt challenged.”
“If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or, as it were, fondle them—peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on their shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that if you do not know what is in them, you will at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them at any rate be your acquaintances.”
“Biographer diagnoses reaction to restriction as a tell of true character. Some use even prison as a time of reflection and planning. Others, like Churchill, quickly chafe at missing interaction and opportunity.”
“Today's Europeans and Americans who reached the age of awareness after midcentury when the communications revolution lead to expectations of instantanaiy are exasperated by the slow toils of history. They assume that the thunderclap of cause will be swiftly followed by the lightening bolt of effect.”
“A man can wear out a particular part of his mind by continually using it and tiring it… the tired parts of the mind can be rested and strengthened, not merely by rest, but by using other parts…. It is only when new cells are called into activity, when new stars become lords of the ascendant, that relief, repose, refreshment are afforded.”
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary; it fulfils the same function as pain in the human body, it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things.”
“GBS wired Winston: “Am reserving two tickets for you for my premiere. Come and bring a friend—if you have one.” Churchill wired back: “Impossible to be present for the first performance. Will attend the second—if there is one.”61”
“The key to successful extramarital sex, therefore, was discretion. Mrs. Patrick Campbell, perhaps the most outspoken woman in polite society, said dryly: “It doesn’t matter what you do in the bedroom, as long as you don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.”43”
“Byron wrote his shortest and most eloquent poem as a testament to a titled woman who had taken leave of her husband for a nine-month romp with him: Caroline Lamb, Goddamn.”
“I like to live in the past. I don't think people are going to get much fun in the future”
“the essence of American journalism is vulgarity divested of truth.”
“read three or four books at a time to avoid tedium”—and”
“In the nineteenth century,” he observed, “Jules Verne wrote Round the World in Eighty Days. It seemed a prodigy. Now you can get around it in four, but you do not see much of it on the way.”
“With practice, you began to recognize entire words by themselves. C-A-T became simply cat, thanks to a mental representation that encoded the pattern of the letters in that word and associated that pattern with both the sound of the word and the idea of a small, furry animal that meows and often doesn’t get along well with dogs. Along”
“she’d written in the other were dark. Very dark. And fictional, she reminded herself. It had all been very fictional. A safe means to live out the emotions she couldn’t. Process the evil. Had she known what she created was real in any fashion, she’d been much more… responsible. “Someone”
“Memorable among the Saxon warriors were Hengist and his wife (? or horse), Horsa. Hengist made himself King in the South. Thus Hengist was the first English King and his wife (or horse), Horsa, the first English Queen (or horse).”
“During the Mardi Gras carnival in New Orleans, drunk and drugged and sleepless for sex-driven nights and days, I saw leering clowns on gaudy floats tossing cheap necklaces to grasping hands that clutched and grabbed and tore them, spilling beads; and revelers crawled on littered streets, wrestling for them, bleeding for them on sidewalks; and beads fell on spattered blood like dirty tears—and I saw costumed revelers turn into angels, angels into demons, demons into clowning angels; and in a flashing moment the night split open into a deeper, darker chasm out of which soared demonic clowning angels laughing.”
“sometimes the thing you think is going to ruin your life is the thing that saves you.”
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