Posted by: vikingsinspace | November 22, 2010

VI.01.36. Read Heroic Lives

Date Accomplished: 1 June 2010

Heroic Lives: Hutchinson Edition

My Sabatini Journal

“To lend money imposes an obligation upon the lender more often than upon the borrower: The obligation to lend again or incur resentment.” (32)

“… inspiration is surely the voice of Divinity speaking within us.” (47)

“So blind are we to shortcoming of our own, even when they are identical with those which we decry in our neighbour!” (79)

“To simple minds nothing appears so true as that which, they wish to believe.” (95)

“As well as an infinite capacity for taking pains, genius is also a capacity for swift accomplishment, following upon a clear and acute perception of the need.” (275)

Heroic Lives

Heroic Lives is the first non-fiction book by Sabatini that I have read, and was also one of the more difficult books for me to read.  This is not because it was poorly written or that the short biographies were uninteresting, but because I am nearing the final stages of writing my doctoral thesis, and the book is much closer to my ‘work’ reading than my ‘fun’ reading.

Nonetheless, I was excited to see just what kind of an historian Sabatini was.  I am lucky that the first short biography was on King Richard I: a subject of which I am well informed.  His portrayal was fair and accurate for the information available to him at the time of writing (published in 1934).  He is perhaps too uncritical of his subjects, but what does one expect from a book entitled ‘Heroic Lives‘?  Sabatini’s obvious love for each of his subjects does cause him to be a bit too forgiving at times, particularly in the case of Lord Nelson.  Still, it is obvious why Sabatini held each of these people in high regard: they all had to face a world which was against them, and despite this, they were able to succeed in their goals.  A common theme amongst Sabatini’s novels.

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