Heiliger's book is replete with dialogue among the characters. This raises the general question of direct discourse in historical accounts. How can historians accurately report conversations and speeches for which there is no record? In some instances, the author actually heard the dialogue or the address, yet no one transcribed it. In other cases, the author was not present and only knows that something was or might have been said. The first historian to deal with this question in print was Thucydides. In a famous passage in The Peloponnesian War, he wrote:
As to the speeches that were made by different men, either when they were about to begin the war or when they were already engaged therein, it has been difficult to recall with strict accuracy the words actually spoken, both for me as regards that which I myself heard, and for those who from various other sources have brought me reports. Therefore the speeches are given in the language in which, as it seemed to me, the several speakers would express, on the subjects under consideration, the sentiments most befitting the occasion, though at the same time I have adhered as closely as possible to the general sense of what was actually said.
Due to its practicality and often necessity, this approach has had many followers ever since. For example, in the "Introduction" to his 2008 memoir, Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley Jr. wrote:
The reader is entitled to ask if the material here is factually reliable. Reliable is the perfect word in this context. The book is not strictly factual, in that conversations are reported which cannot be documented as having taken place word for word. Yet it is reliable in that these words might well have been spoken. There are zero distortions here--no thought is engrafted in anyone that alters the subject's character or inclinations, or even habits of speech.
Although Eva Heiliger never explained it as Thucydides and Buckley did, she seems to have taken the same approach. That leaves the question of the reliability of everything else in her book. Here, the reader is on much firmer ground. As noted earlier, she intended and worked to make her book "factual." No one else who actually knew Meta Chestnutt Sager did more research or wrote nearly as much about her. It is true that although Heiliger understood the significance of context in a historical accounts--her manuscript ends with a bibliography of four books--she did not have the training to write a critical biography. Nevertheless, for the reasons cited here, aside from its occasional dialogue, the biography by Heiliger should be considered a reliable source.
 Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War 1.22.1, Charles Forster Smith translation, Loeb Classical Library.
 Buckley, William F. Jr. Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater (New York: Basic Books, 2008), xi-xii.
 Eva Heiliger, "Born to Meet Adversity," unpublished book manuscript, 203.