“Who can even claim to master a subject that is forever receding from our sight? In a wrenchingly honest appraisal of a life doing history, Oscar Handlin wrote of knowing about the past as one knew the way to a mountain’s top. ‘We know now that no simple journey will bring us to the summit. Indeed, we cannot be sure where the summit lies, or in fact whether it exists at all, for our valley is high enough to reveal the complexity of the surrounding ranges.”
Hoffer’s paradox is that history is both impossible and necessary. I’m reading the book to see if I want to assign it and so far I’m intrigued! And grateful to know I’m not alone in my my writing growing pains.