Some were people I knew a little about, but not in much detail. Others came from suggestions from friends and family. The final group included ones I found in doing research for the book.
I think it can be easy to be discouraged when a particular candidate or cause is unsuccessful. It is helpful to take a longer term view to see how some ideas take time to become successful.
I think the term has an unfair reputation today that it did not always carry. For example, the ancient Greeks and Romans admired unsuccessful heroes, such as Achilles or Horatio (defending the bridge in ancient Rome).
Aren't people unlikely to be interested in reading about losers?
In terms of memory, I think it is more important whether people fought in a good cause than whether they triumphed. After all, individual success in war or politics is at best ephemeral – what matters is the longer term impact.
No, of course not... sometimes a defeat is really irrevocable. However, I try to make the case that every one of the figures in the book had a long term positive impact.
Yes. I look as the job of the doctor as trying to heal individuals while the magnificent losers tried to heal their whole society. However, for both the worth of the struggle lies not in whether it is successful, for much of the time it won’t be. Much as I hope that I am doing some good even in patients whose illnesses aren’t curable, I see these political and other leaders’ campaigns as worthwhile even is not successful.
Yes, I learned a lot in the process of writing about the heroes of the book and enjoyed the process. I would like to write some more about history. I particularly enjoy more obscure aspects. I find that I still waste a lot of time so it seems that finding time to write can come out of that, although some days and weeks it is easier to find the time than others