Here is a hero who did nothing but shake the tree as soon as the fruit was ripe. Does this seem to be too small a thing to you? Then take a good look at the tree he shook.
(Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 2, p. 701, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). The Wanderer and His Shadow, aphorism 347, "Also Worthy of a Hero," (1880).)
Tom was a glittering hero once morethe pet of the old, the envy of the young. His name even went into immortal print, for the village paper magnified him. There were some that believed he would be President, yet, if he escaped hanging.
(Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, ch. 24 (1876).)
When it looks at great accomplishments, the world, bent on simplifying its images, likes best to look at the dramatic, picturesque moments experienced by its heroes.... But the no less creative years of preparation remain in the shadow.
(Stefan Zweig (18811942), Austrian writer. Magellan. Der Mann und seine Tat (Magellan. The Man and His Feat), p. 101, trans. by Marion Sonnenfeld, S. Fischer Verlag (1983).)
There is a hate layer of opinion and emotion in America. There will be other McCarthys to come who will be hailed as its heroes.
(Max Lerner (b. 1902), U.S. author, columnist. repr. in The Unfinished Country, pt. 4 (1959). "McCarthyism: The Smell of Decay," New York Post (April 5, 1950).
The word "McCarthyism" was first coined in this article, as Lerner affirmed in a later column, Feb. 3, 1954: "For my own part I doubt seriously whether the word will outlast the political power of the man from whom it derives.")
Ultimately a hero is a man who would argue with the gods, and so awakens devils to contest his vision. The more a man can achieve, the more he may be certain that the devil will inhabit a part of his creation.
(Norman Mailer (b. 1923), U.S. author. The Presidential Papers, preface (1963).)