Top Ten Best A. J. P. Taylor (Alan John Percivale Taylor) Quotes & Written Works

Alan John Percivale Taylor was a British historian, journalist, broadcaster & scholar.

The Top Ten

1 In my opinion we learn nothing from history except the infinite variety of men’s behaviour. We study it, as we listen to music or read poetry, for pleasure, not for instruction.
2 The greatest problem about old age is the fear that it may go on too long.
3 Conformity may give you a quiet life; it may even bring you to a University Chair. But all change in history, all advance, comes from the nonconformists. If there had been no trouble-makers, no Dissenters, we should still be living in caves.
4 The present enables us to understand the past, not the other way round.
5 Like most of those who study history, he [Napoleon III, Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte] learned from the mistakes of the past how to make new ones.
6 History gets thicker as it approaches recent times: more people, more events, and more books written about them. More evidence is preserved, often, one is tempted to say, too much. Decay and destruction have hardly begun their beneficent work.
7 The worker is by nature less imaginative, more level-headed than the capitalist. This is what prevents his becoming one. He is content with small gains. Trade Union officials think about the petty cash; the employer speculates in millions.
8 Every historian loves the past..If not,he has mistaken his vocation..short step from loving..past to regretting..it has ever changed..we run psychoanalysts..in..belief that..only"normal"people..who cause no trouble either to themselves or anybody else.
9 American statesmen might like some Europeans more than others..detect quaint resemblances to..own outlook;but..no more committed..to..particular group..than a 19th-century missionary committed himself to..African tribe..which he happened to find himself.
10 I was a narrative historian, believing more and more as I matured that the first function of the historian was to answer the child's question, "What happened next?"
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