David Mccullough Biography & Facts
David Gaub McCullough (; July 7, 1933 – August 7, 2022) was an American popular historian. He was a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. In 2006, he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian award. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, McCullough earned a degree in English literature from Yale University. His first book was The Johnstown Flood (1968), and he wrote nine more on such topics as Harry S. Truman, John Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Panama Canal, and the Wright brothers. McCullough also narrated numerous documentaries, such as The Civil War by Ken Burns, as well as the 2003 film Seabiscuit, and he hosted American Experience for twelve years.
McCullough's two Pulitzer Prize–winning books, Truman and John Adams, were adapted by HBO into a TV film and a miniseries, respectively.
McCullough was born in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Ruth (née Rankin) and Christian Hax McCullough. He was of Scots-Irish, German, and English descent. He was educated at Linden Avenue Grade School and Shady Side Academy, in his hometown of Pittsburgh.One of four sons, McCullough had a "marvelous" childhood with a wide range of interests, including sports and drawing cartoons. McCullough's parents and his grandmother, who read to him often, introduced him to books at an early age. His parents often talked about history, a topic he said should be discussed more often. McCullough "loved school, every day"; he contemplated many career choices, ranging from architect, actor, painter, writer, to lawyer, and considered attending medical school for a time.In 1951, McCullough began attending Yale University. He said that it was a "privilege" to study English at Yale because of faculty members such as John O'Hara, John Hersey, Robert Penn Warren, and Brendan Gill. McCullough occasionally ate lunch with the Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist and playwright Thornton Wilder. Wilder, said McCullough, taught him that a competent writer maintains "an air of freedom" in the storyline, so that a reader will not anticipate the outcome, even if the book is non-fiction.While at Yale, he became a member of Skull and Bones. He served apprenticeships at Time, Life, the United States Information Agency, and American Heritage, where he enjoyed research. He said: "Once I discovered the endless fascination of doing the research and of doing the writing, I knew I had found what I wanted to do in my life." While attending Yale, McCullough studied Arts and earned his bachelor's degree in English, with the intention of becoming a fiction writer or playwright. He graduated with honors in English literature in 1955.
After graduation, McCullough moved to New York City, where Sports Illustrated hired him as a trainee. He later worked as an editor and writer for the United States Information Agency in Washington, D.C. After working for twelve years in editing and writing, including a position at American Heritage, McCullough "felt that [he] had reached the point where [he] could attempt something on [his] own."McCullough "had no anticipation that [he] was going to write history, but [he] stumbled upon a story that [he] thought was powerful, exciting, and very worth telling." While working at American Heritage, McCullough wrote in his spare time for three years. The Johnstown Flood, a chronicle of one of the worst flood disasters in United States history, was published in 1968 to high praise by critics. John Leonard, of The New York Times, said of McCullough, "We have no better social historian." Despite rough financial times, he decided to become a full-time writer, encouraged by his wife Rosalee.
After the success of The Johnstown Flood, two new publishers offered him contracts, one to write about the Great Chicago Fire and another about the San Francisco earthquake. Simon & Schuster, publisher of his first book, also offered McCullough a contract to write a second book. Trying not to become "Bad News McCullough", he decided to write about a subject showing "people were not always foolish and inept or irresponsible." He remembered the words of his Yale teacher: "[Thornton] Wilder said he got the idea for a book or a play when he wanted to learn about something. Then, he'd check to see if anybody had already done it, and if they hadn't, he'd do it." McCullough decided to write a history of the Brooklyn Bridge, which he had walked across many times. It was published in 1972.
To me history ought to be a source of pleasure. It isn't just part of our civic responsibility. To me it's an enlargement of the experience of being alive, just the way literature or art or music is. – David McCullough
He also proposed, from a suggestion by his editor, a work about the Panama Canal; both were accepted by the publisher.Five years later, The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870–1914 was released, gaining McCullough widespread recognition. The book won the National Book Award in History, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award, the Francis Parkman Prize, and the Cornelius Ryan Award. Later in 1977, McCullough travelled to the White House to advise Jimmy Carter and the United States Senate on the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, which would give Panama control of the Canal. Carter later said that the treaties, which were negotiated to transfer ownership of the Canal to Panama, would not have passed had it not been for the book.
"The story of people"
McCullough's fourth work was his first biography, reinforcing his belief that "history is the story of people". Released in 1981, Mornings on Horseback tells the story of seventeen years in the life of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. The work ranged from Roosevelt's childhood to 1886, and tells of a "life intensely lived." The book won McCullough's second National Book Award and his first Los Angeles Times Prize for Biography and New York Public Library Literary Lion Award. Next, he published Brave Companions, a collection of essays that "unfold seamlessly". Written over twenty years, the book includes essays about Louis Agassiz, Alexander von Humboldt, John and Washington Roebling, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Conrad Richter, and Frederic Remington.With his next book, McCullough published his second biography, Truman (1993) about the 33rd president. The book won McCullough his first Pulitzer Prize, in the category of "Best Biography or Autobiography," and his second Francis Parkman Prize. Two years later, the book was adapted as Truman (1995), a television film by HBO, starring Gary Sinise as Truman.
I think it's important to remember that these men are not perfect. If they were marble gods, what they did wouldn't be so admirable. The more we see the founders as humans the more we can understand them. – David McCullough
Working for the next seven years, McCullough pu.... Discover the David Mccullough popular books. Find the top 100 most popular David Mccullough books.