Words matter. These are the best Nigel Hamilton Quotes, and they’re great for sharing with your friends.
It must have been the fall of 1952 when my father returned to London sporting a neck tie emblazoned with the words ‘I Like Ike.’
To be sure, administrations since Ronald Reagan had gone out of their way to massage and ‘spin’ news to the president’s advantage, while the media did its best to un-spin it.
Some of the History Channel’s documentaries involve docudrama segments and are highly speculative – but there seems, on the part of the producers, to be a real determination to get at the history behind our past – not the sex, which is left to drama shows and entertainment channels.
Regularly, customers asked for a book on Greenwich, and there was none. After all, Elizabeth I was born there. The Observatory is known all over the world; the Royal Naval College is there. So I decided to do it.
What George W. Bush learned in his pre-presidential years – and what he omits in his new memoirs – was not how to lead a nation, but how, with sufficient toughness, to cheat the democratic system to get elected.
I belong to the Boston Biographers Group – and get my monthly ‘fix’ from them. Where else can I sit down for two hours with people who understand the challenge I face, daily, as a life-chronicler?
I’m not promising to write ‘JFK 2’ – but one day, I might!
My father had left school at 18, without enough money to go to college – and, with four sons after the war, said he could still not afford to do so.
My father had risen in the British Army under the revolutionary aegis of General Montgomery, who was mad about training for battle, not muddling into disaster.
I’ve never really understood the term ‘Post-Impressionism’ as more than a label for Cezanne, Gauguin and van Gogh.
President Ford was taken for a ride by his predecessor, whom he unpardonably pardoned; Jimmy Carter was also taken for a ride, but by his successor, Ronald Reagan, over the return of the Iran hostages.
I’m fascinated by the concept of what I call ‘clusters of creativity’: the Brontes, the Waughs, families with several geniuses. I’m one of four; competition among siblings has to be a factor.
Thanksgiving is a time of togetherness and gratitude.
The moral was, in time of anarchy, tough leadership is the only solution – even though the collateral damage may be heartbreaking. Mrs. Thatcher’s strident, take-no prisoners approach was in some ways repugnant, but it was surely necessary.
As a student, I had stayed with Winston Churchill; later, I had lunched with Harold Macmillan – in fact, had met most of the post-war prime ministers of Great Britain from Douglas-Home to Tony Blair.
That’s the miracle of Amazon! It’s like Internet dating. In the early days, you could get slimed as an author on Amazon by someone bearing a grudge, or jealous, or whatever. And because there were so few reviews posted, this stank.
Bad reviews are the bane of an author’s post-publication existence.
President Gerald Ford was no intellectual, but he had served with distinction in combat as a naval gunnery officer and then as Congressman for a quarter century.
I once wrote that Lord Moran, Churchill’s doctor, had doctored his diaries as well as his famous patient. That was true but unfair. Although their authenticity as contemporary, daily accounts is often questionable, the observations are quite wonderful.
At times, the reader of World War II literature must think every American, from general to G.I., kept a war diary, later mined for memoirs of the conflict. Few diaries, however, were published in their own right.
The White House tapes, recording Nixon’s nefarious doings from Watergate to the bombing of Vietnam, made frightening reading once made public on the orders of Congress.
In publishing ‘JFK: Reckless Youth’ almost twenty years ago, I had gotten into trouble myself with the Kennedys. Not because of my portrait of JFK – which was highly laudatory – but because I had described his parents, Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, in less-than-flattering terms.
I was an 18-year-old kid, and I was in the heart of things in Washington. My interest in American politics and, particularly, the Kennedys, began then.
Republican isolationists had certainly tied the hands of every U.S. president, year after year – berating Franklin Roosevelt in particular and his attempts to ready the nation for inevitable attack.
Listening to the stories my colleagues are researching and grappling with – in terms of access to documents, psychological understanding of their subjects, artful composition and determination to extrapolate from an individual’s life lessons and insights that we can all learn from – I am each time overwhelmed by joy.
For the serious biographer, history and the life story of a real individual are inseparably intertwined. Get the facts wrong, or distort them, and the life story gets distorted: becomes fiction.
In my case, I belong to a group of aspiring and practicing biographers in Boston. We meet once a month for a coupla hours. It’s become my lifeline – forgive the pun.
Our only president who has died as U.S. commander in chief in war is Franklin Delano Roosevelt – who died of a cerebral hemorrhage or massive stroke on April 12, 1945, only three weeks before the unconditional surrender of the German armed forces he had laid down as implacable Allied policy two years before.
Biography is, simply, the orphan of academia.
Both JFK and George W. Bush were the sons of wealthy U.S. ambassadors and thus privileged to meet distinguished figures, to travel, and to see the world and think about its problems if they chose.
I became an American on Nov. 4, 2010, at an elegant ceremony in Great Hall of Bullfinch’s Faneuil Hall, Boston, beneath a vast painting of Daniel Webster debating the preservation of the Union with Robert Hayne of South Carolina, before the Civil War.
The story of FDR as U.S. Commander in Chief is a heroic war story of a president who had already overcome great adversity in facing polio but who went on to take the reins of our armed forces in the greatest conflagration in human history – on our behalf.
Looking back as an historian, I find myself having great respect for Ronald Reagan’s consistency: his absolute conviction that the Soviet Union – the only competing world empire at the time – was bound to collapse!