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Simon Schama, British Historian ( February 13, 1945 - )

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It's not right to think about all of Jewish-German history as shrouded by the smoke of the crematorium.~Simon Schama


History Think Smoke

By the end of the nineteenth century, the stereotype of the ugly American - voracious, preachy, mercenary, and bombastically chauvinist - was firmly in place in Europe.~Simon Schama


End American Ugly

I would passionately make the case that the harder the times, the more we need things that aren't just about keeping our job and making a buck - important though those things are. Arts programming isn't some sort of add-on or ornamental luxury.~Simon Schama


Job Important Luxury

In the early nineteenth century, with Enlightenment optimism soured by years of war and revolution, critics were skeptical of America's naive faith that it had reinvented politics.~Simon Schama


War Faith Politics

Passover takes place in the home rather than the synagogue and centers around an epic meal - the seder - so you remember Passover as storytelling, you remember it in food, and you remember it in the family.~Simon Schama


Family Home Food

From the very beginning, history wasn't content simply to be nostalgic fairytales; it wanted to make you think.~Simon Schama


History Beginning You

The novelist's obligation to remake the sensuous texture of a vanished world is also the historian's. The strongest fiction writers often do deep research to make the thought and utterances of lost time credible.~Simon Schama


Time Deep World

In Mesopotamia or Egypt, for example, the monarch had a god-like religious status. But this is not the case in Judaism. So that notion that religion can go on, when all the markers of power and trappings of monarchy disappear, ultimately serves the endurance of Judaism very well.~Simon Schama


Power Religion Endurance

Never crowd a pan with too many mushrooms. They give off an enormous amount of moisture. And there's nothing worse than a braised mushroom, other than a lot of braised mushrooms.~Simon Schama


Nothing Never Crowd

We seem wired to grieve with greenery. Allowing the dead to dissolve into the earth, to become part of the cycle of the seasons, has, for millennia, held the promise of cheating mortality.~Simon Schama


Earth Cheating Seasons

America is truly special because it's founded on an idea. It's the ideological and philosophical equivalent of a formless God, in other words, you know? It's, again, the only great country in the world that it is formed out of words.~Simon Schama


God Great Words

I understood when I was quite small that there were two special things about the Jews. That we'd endured for over 3,000 years despite everything that had been thrown at us, and that we had an extraordinarily dramatic story to tell.~Simon Schama


Small Story Special

Jews can live their own life as Jews and yet be part of a different country.~Simon Schama


Life Live Country

The Jewish story is the story of wandering. It is the story of extraordinary heterogeneous complication.~Simon Schama


Story Jewish Extraordinary

The notion that religion can actually be something... attached to progressivism seems so bizarre. But all you have to say is that Abolition wouldn't have happened without it. The way in which African Americans managed to achieve a degree of self-determination was through the church.~Simon Schama


Religion You Church

I would want the British reader to feel that religion in America isn't an absurd thing - a sign of a pin head athwart a gigantic body.~Simon Schama


Religion America Body

The British who arrived in the United States in the eighteen-thirties and forties had imagined the young republic as a wide-eyed adolescent, socially ungainly and politically gauche, but with some hint of promise.~Simon Schama


Young United Promise

The default mode of modern writing about art is to despise any notion of singularity as so much overheated genius-fetishism.~Simon Schama


Art Writing Despise

Sculptures created from found materials like ice and thorns, driftwood, and even bleached kangaroo bones all presuppose that artistic design will yield to the cycles of time and climate, whether over an hour or a decade.~Simon Schama


Time Design Thorns

I have this magpie instinct for the next glittering object. There are one or two things I know I can't write about, though: DIY, cricket, automobile repair. I could study it for a lifetime and not produce a word on the carburettor.~Simon Schama


Cricket Study Know

I am somebody who has never been able to give up '60s habits. I am the inevitable old codger on the dance floor.~Simon Schama


Dance I Am Habits

I did an audiobook for 'Rough Crossings,' which I thought was one of the best books I had published. But it was an absolute embarrassment to read it. All these horrible mucked-up bits of syntax, over-the-top adjectives. I found myself editing it while reading. Alert listeners will notice the difference.~Simon Schama


Best Myself Reading

You are not thinking hard enough if you are sleeping well. And you would have to be unhinged to take on a subject like the French Revolution, or Rembrandt, and not feel some trepidation. There is always the possibility that you will crash and burn, and the whole thing will be a horrible, vulgar, self-indulgent mess.~Simon Schama


Thinking Revolution You

I find it very hard to write about Jewish history.~Simon Schama


History Find Jewish

The Elephantine papyri - written as some of the books of the Bible are being written - is true social and legal documentation, and to historians overwhelmingly powerful and moving, even when ostensibly about trivial things.~Simon Schama


Powerful Legal Moving

In the Einstein way, I can't believe in a universe that doesn't have some sort of prime mover, identical with all of created nature. I have a whole lot of a harder time with supposing the fine print of the Torah was a direct revelation.~Simon Schama


Nature Time Universe