Stephen E. Ambrose
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I was born in 1936 and grew up in Whitewater, Wisconsin, a small town where my father was the M.D. My high school had only 300 students but was good enough to offer two years of Latin, which taught me the University of Wisconsin centrality of verbs -- placement, form, tense.

At the University of Wisconsin, I started as a pre-med, but after a course on American history with William B. Hesseltine, I switched my major. He was a great teacher of writing, with firm rules such as abandon chronology at your peril; use the active voice; avoid adverbs whenever possible; be frugal with adjectives, as they are but the salt and pepper for the meat (nouns).

On to L. S. U. , where I studied for my M.A. under T. Harry Williams, another fine historian who stressed the importance of writing well. After getting my M.A. degree in 1958, I returned to Wisconsin to do my Ph.D. work under Hesseltine.

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Stephen Ambrose
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