In time I began to understand that it’s when you start writing that you really find out what you don’t know and need to know.
I work very hard on the writing, writing and rewriting and trying to weed out the lumber.
When I read that the British army had landed thirty-two thousand troops – and I had realized, not very long before, that Philadelphia only had thirty thousand people in it – it practically lifted me out of my chair.
People are so helpful. People will stop what they’re doing to show you something, to walk with you through a section of the town, or explain how a suspension bridge really works.
I would pay to do what I do if I had to.
I love all sides of the work but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard.
There’s an awful temptation to just keep on researching. There comes a point where you just have to stop, and start writing.
I can fairly be called an amateur because I do what I do, in the original sense of the word – for love, because I love it. On the other hand, I think that those of us who make our living writing history can also be called true professionals.
I had been writing for about twelve years. I knew pretty well how you could find things out, but I had never been trained in an academic way how to go about the research.
I just thank my father and mother, my lucky stars, that I had the advantage of an education in the humanities.