David McCullough
Overview
 
David Gaub McCullough is an American author, narrator, historian, and lecturer
Lecturer
Lecturer is an academic rank. In the United Kingdom, lecturer is a position at a university or similar institution, often held by academics in their early career stages, who lead research groups and supervise research students, as well as teach...

. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

 and the National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

, the United States' highest civilian award.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, McCullough earned a degree in English literature
English literature
English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

 from Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

. His first book was The Johnstown Flood (1968); and he has since written eight more on such topics as Harry S Truman, John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

, and the Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River...

.
Encyclopedia
David Gaub McCullough is an American author, narrator, historian, and lecturer
Lecturer
Lecturer is an academic rank. In the United Kingdom, lecturer is a position at a university or similar institution, often held by academics in their early career stages, who lead research groups and supervise research students, as well as teach...

. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

 and the National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

, the United States' highest civilian award.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, McCullough earned a degree in English literature
English literature
English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

 from Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

. His first book was The Johnstown Flood (1968); and he has since written eight more on such topics as Harry S Truman, John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

, and the Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River...

. McCullough has also narrated multiple documentaries, as well as the 2003 film Seabiscuit
Seabiscuit (film)
Seabiscuit is a 2003 American biographical film based on the best-selling non-fiction book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand...

; and he hosted American Experience
American Experience
American Experience is a television program airing on the Public Broadcasting Service Public television stations in the United States. The program airs documentaries, many of which have won awards, about important or interesting events and people in American history...

for twelve years. McCullough's two Pulitzer Prize-winning books, Truman
Truman (book)
Truman is a 1992 biography of the 33rd President of the United States Harry S. Truman written by popular historian David McCullough. The book won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for "Biography or Autobiography." The book was later made into a movie with the same name by HBO.-Plot summary:The book...

and John Adams
John Adams (book)
John Adams is a 2001 biography of Founding Father and second U.S. President John Adams written by popular historian David McCullough. It won a 2002 Pulitzer Prize and has been made into a TV miniseries with the same name by HBO Films. Since the TV miniseries debuted, an alternative cover has been...

, have been adapted by HBO into a TV film
Truman (film)
Truman is a 1995 HBO movie based on David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Truman. Starring Gary Sinise as Harry S. Truman, the film centers on Truman's rise to the presidency from humble beginnings, World War II, and his decision to use the first atomic bomb. The film's tagline is "It...

 and a mini-series
John Adams (TV miniseries)
John Adams is a 2008 American television miniseries chronicling most of President John Adams's political life and his role in the founding of the United States. Paul Giamatti portrays John Adams. The miniseries was directed by Tom Hooper. Kirk Ellis wrote the screenplay based on the book John...

, respectively. McCullough's most recent work, The Greater Journey
The Greater Journey (book)
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris is a 2011 non-fiction book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough. In a departure from McCullough's most recent works, Founding Fathers like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, who spent time in Paris, are not covered...

, about Americans in Paris from the 1830s to the 1900s, was released on May 24, 2011.

Youth and education

McCullough was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Ruth (née Rankin) and Christian Hax McCullough. He is of Scotch-Irish descent. He was educated at Linden Avenue Grade School and Shady Side Academy
Shady Side Academy
Shady Side Academy is a private, secular coeducational PK-12 preparatory school located on three campuses in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, established in 1883.- Campuses :Shady Side Academy has three campuses in Pittsburgh....

, in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 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 talked openly about history, a topic he feels should be discussed more often. McCullough "loved school, every day"; he contemplated many career choices ranging from architect, actor, painter, writer, lawyer, and even attending medical school
Medical school
A medical school is a tertiary educational institution—or part of such an institution—that teaches medicine. Degree programs offered at medical schools often include Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Bachelor/Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Philosophy, master's degree, or other post-secondary...

.

In 1951, McCullough began attending Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

. He believed that it was a "privilege" to study English at Yale because of faculty members such as John O'Hara
John O'Hara
John Henry O'Hara was an American writer. He initially became known for his short stories and later became a best-selling novelist whose works include Appointment in Samarra and BUtterfield 8. He was particularly known for an uncannily accurate ear for dialogue...

, John Hersey
John Hersey
John Richard Hersey was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer and journalist considered one of the earliest practitioners of the so-called New Journalism, in which storytelling devices of the novel are fused with non-fiction reportage...

, Robert Penn Warren
Robert Penn Warren
Robert Penn Warren was an American poet, novelist, and literary critic and was one of the founders of New Criticism. He was also a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He founded the influential literary journal The Southern Review with Cleanth Brooks in 1935...

, and Brendan Gill
Brendan Gill
Brendan Gill wrote for The New Yorker for more than 60 years. He also contributed film criticism for Film Comment and wrote a popular book about his time at the New Yorker magazine.-Biography:...

. McCullough occasionally ate lunch with Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and playwright Thornton Wilder
Thornton Wilder
Thornton Niven Wilder was an American playwright and novelist. He received three Pulitzer Prizes, one for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and two for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, and a National Book Award for his novel The Eighth Day.-Early years:Wilder was born in Madison,...

. Wilder, says McCullough, taught him that a competent writer maintains "an air of freedom" in the storyline, so that a reader won't anticipate the outcome, even if the book happens to be non-fiction.

While at Yale, he became a member of Skull and Bones
Skull and Bones
Skull and Bones is an undergraduate senior or secret society at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. It is a traditional peer society to Scroll and Key and Wolf's Head, as the three senior class 'landed societies' at Yale....

. He served apprenticeships at Time, Life
Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

, the United States Information Agency
United States Information Agency
The United States Information Agency , which existed from 1953 to 1999, was a United States agency devoted to "public diplomacy". In 1999, USIA's broadcasting functions were moved to the newly created Broadcasting Board of Governors, and its exchange and non-broadcasting information functions were...

, and American Heritage
American Heritage (magazine)
American Heritage is a quarterly magazine dedicated to covering the history of the United States for a mainstream readership. Until 2007, the magazine was published by Forbes. Since that time, Edwin S...

., where he found enjoyment in research. "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 achieved his Bachelor's degree in English, with the intention of becoming a fiction writer or playwright. He graduated with honors in English literature
English literature
English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

 (1955).

Early career

After graduation, McCullough moved to New York City, where the recently formed Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

hired him as a trainee. He was later hired by the United States Information Agency
United States Information Agency
The United States Information Agency , which existed from 1953 to 1999, was a United States agency devoted to "public diplomacy". In 1999, USIA's broadcasting functions were moved to the newly created Broadcasting Board of Governors, and its exchange and non-broadcasting information functions were...

, in Washington, D.C., as an editor and writer. After working for twelve years, including a position at American Heritage
American Heritage (magazine)
American Heritage is a quarterly magazine dedicated to covering the history of the United States for a mainstream readership. Until 2007, the magazine was published by Forbes. Since that time, Edwin S...

, with a consistent concentration on editing and writing, 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
Johnstown Flood
The Johnstown Flood occurred on May 31, 1889. It was the result of the catastrophic failure of the South Fork Dam situated upstream of the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA, made worse by several days of extremely heavy rainfall...

 in United States history, was released 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, McCullough, with encouragement from his wife, Rosalee, made the decision to become a full-time writer.

Gaining recognition

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
1906 San Francisco earthquake
The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was a major earthquake that struck San Francisco, California, and the coast of Northern California at 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18, 1906. The most widely accepted estimate for the magnitude of the earthquake is a moment magnitude of 7.9; however, other...

. However, Simon & Schuster, publisher of The Johnstown Flood, 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." Remembering 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
Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River...

, which he had walked across many times.
"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
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

; both were accepted by the publisher. Published in 1972, critics hailed The Great Bridge as "the definitive book on the event." Five years later, The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal
The Path Between the Seas
The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870—1914 is a 1977 book by noted historian David McCullough that details the people and places involved in building the Panama Canal...

was released, gaining McCullough widespread attention for the first time. The book won the National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 for history, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award, the Francis Parkman Prize
Francis Parkman Prize
The Francis Parkman Prize, named after Francis Parkman, is awarded by the Society of American Historians for the best book in American history each year. Its purpose is to promote literary distinction in historical writing...

, and the Cornelius Ryan Award
Cornelius Ryan Award
The Cornelius Ryan Award is given for "best nonfiction book on international affairs" by the Overseas Press Club of America . To be eligible for this literary award a book must be published "in the US or by a US based company or distributed for an American audience" during the year prior to that...

. Later in 1977, McCullough travelled to the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 to advise Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 and the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 on the Torrijos-Carter Treaties
Torrijos-Carter Treaties
The Torrijos–Carter Treaties are two treaties signed by the United States and Panama in Washington, D.C., on September 7, 1977, which abrogated the Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty of 1903...

, which would give Panama control of the Canal. Carter later said that the treaties, which were agreed upon to hand over 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 the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

. The work, ranging from 1869, when Roosevelt was ten years old, to 1886, tells of a "life intensely lived." The book won McCullough's first Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

 Prize for Biography and New York Public Library
New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is the largest public library in North America and is one of the United States' most significant research libraries...

 Literary Lion Award and his second National Book Award. Next, he released Brave Companions, a collection of essays that "unfold seamlessly". Written over twenty years, the book includes works about Louis Agassiz
Louis Agassiz
Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz was a Swiss paleontologist, glaciologist, geologist and a prominent innovator in the study of the Earth's natural history. He grew up in Switzerland and became a professor of natural history at University of Neuchâtel...

, Alexander von Humboldt
Alexander von Humboldt
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander Freiherr von Humboldt was a German naturalist and explorer, and the younger brother of the Prussian minister, philosopher and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt...

, John
John A. Roebling
John Augustus Roebling was a German-born American civil engineer. He is famous for his wire rope suspension bridge designs, in particular, the design of the Brooklyn Bridge.-Early life:...

 and Washington Roebling
Washington Roebling
Washington Augustus Roebling was an American civil engineer best known for his work on the Brooklyn Bridge, which was initially designed by his father John A. Roebling.-Education and military service:...

, Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American abolitionist and author. Her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was a depiction of life for African-Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and United Kingdom...

, Conrad Aiken
Conrad Aiken
Conrad Potter Aiken was an American novelist and poet, whose work includes poetry, short stories, novels, a play and an autobiography.-Early years:...

, and Frederic Remington
Frederic Remington
Frederic Sackrider Remington was an American painter, illustrator, sculptor, and writer who specialized in depictions of the Old American West, specifically concentrating on the last quarter of the 19th century American West and images of cowboys, American Indians, and the U. S...

. McCullough's next book and second biography continued the trend of writing about American presidents—Truman (1993) about the 33rd president
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

. The book won McCullough his first Pulitzer Prize, in the category of "Best Biography or Autobiography." Two years later, the book was adapted into Truman
Truman (film)
Truman is a 1995 HBO movie based on David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Truman. Starring Gary Sinise as Harry S. Truman, the film centers on Truman's rise to the presidency from humble beginnings, World War II, and his decision to use the first atomic bomb. The film's tagline is "It...

, a television movie by HBO, starring Gary Sinise
Gary Sinise
Gary Alan Sinise is an American actor, film director and musician. During his career, Sinise has won various awards including an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1992, Sinise directed, and played the role of George Milton in the successful film adaptation of...

 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 released John Adams (2001), his third biography about a United States president. One of the fastest-selling non-fiction books in history, the book won McCullough's second Pultizer Prize for "Best Biography or Autobiography." It began as a book about founding fathers
Founding Fathers of the United States
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were political leaders and statesmen who participated in the American Revolution by signing the United States Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American Revolutionary War, establishing the United States Constitution, or by some...

 and back-to-back presidents Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 and John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

; but Jefferson was eventually dropped, and the book focused solely on Adams. HBO returned to McCullough's works to adapt John Adams. Premiering in 2008, the seven-part miniseries
John Adams (TV miniseries)
John Adams is a 2008 American television miniseries chronicling most of President John Adams's political life and his role in the founding of the United States. Paul Giamatti portrays John Adams. The miniseries was directed by Tom Hooper. Kirk Ellis wrote the screenplay based on the book John...

 starred Academy Award-nominated actor Paul Giamatti
Paul Giamatti
Paul Edward Valentine Giamatti is an American actor. Giamatti began his career as a supporting actor in several films produced during the 1990s including Private Parts, The Truman Show, Saving Private Ryan, The Negotiator, and Man on the Moon, before earning lead roles in several projects in the...

 in the title role. The DVD version of the miniseries includes the biopic, "David McCullough: Painting with Words."

McCullough's 1776, tells the story of the founding year of the United States, focusing on George Washington, the amateur army, and other struggles for independence. Because of McCullough's popularity, its initial printing was 1.25 million copies, many more than the average history book. Upon its release, the book was a number one best-seller in the United States. HBO is scheduled to release a miniseries adaptation of 1776 in 2011, possibly involving Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks
Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks worked in television and family-friendly comedies, gaining wide notice in 1988's Big, before achieving success as a dramatic actor in several notable roles, including Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, the title...

, who produced John Adams.

McCullough considered writing a sequel to 1776. However, he signed a contract with Simon & Schuster to do a work about Americans in Paris between 1830 and 1900, The Greater Journey
The Greater Journey (book)
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris is a 2011 non-fiction book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough. In a departure from McCullough's most recent works, Founding Fathers like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, who spent time in Paris, are not covered...

, which was released in May 2011. The book covers 19th-century Americans like Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

 and Samuel Morse, who migrated to Paris and went on to achieve importance in culture or innovation. Other subjects include Elihu Washburne, the American ambassador to France during the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

, and Elizabeth Blackwell
Elizabeth Blackwell
Elizabeth Blackwell was the first female doctor in the United States and the first on the UK Medical Register...

, the first female doctor in the United States.

Personal life

David McCullough currently lives in Boston and is married to Rosalee Barnes McCullough, whom he met at age 17, in Pittsburgh. The couple have five children and eighteen grandchildren. He enjoys sports, history and art, including watercolor and portrait painting.

Awards and accolades

McCullough has received numerous awards throughout his career. In December 2006, McCullough received the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

, the highest civilian award that a United States citizen can receive. McCullough has been awarded over 40 honorary degrees, including one from the Eastern Nazarene College
Eastern Nazarene College
The Eastern Nazarene College is a private, coeducational college of the liberal arts and sciences in Quincy, Massachusetts near Boston, in the New England region of the United States. Known for its strong religious affiliation, distinctive liberal arts core curriculum, and excellence in science...

 in John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

' hometown of Quincy, Massachusetts
Quincy, Massachusetts
Quincy is a city in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. Its nicknames are "City of Presidents", "City of Legends", and "Birthplace of the American Dream". As a major part of Metropolitan Boston, Quincy is a member of Boston's Inner Core Committee for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council...

. For his writing, McCullough has received two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, two Francis Parkman Prizes, the Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

Book Award, and New York Public Library
New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is the largest public library in North America and is one of the United States' most significant research libraries...

’s Literary Lion Award, among others. McCullough was chosen to deliver the first annual John Hersey
John Hersey
John Richard Hersey was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer and journalist considered one of the earliest practitioners of the so-called New Journalism, in which storytelling devices of the novel are fused with non-fiction reportage...

 Lecture at Yale University on March 22, 1993. (Author, Yale alumnus, and Yale writing professor John Hersey died later that year.) He is a member of the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and the Academy of Achievement
Academy of Achievement
The Academy of Achievement is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization founded in 1961 by photographer Hy Peskin. He established the Academy of Achievement to bring aspiring young people together with accomplished people...

. In 2003, the National Endowment for the Humanities
National Endowment for the Humanities
The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent federal agency of the United States established by the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965 dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. The NEH is located at...

 selected McCullough for the Jefferson Lecture
Jefferson Lecture
The Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities is an honorary lecture series established in 1972 by the National Endowment for the Humanities . According to the NEH, the Lecture is "the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities."-History of...

, the U.S. federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities
Humanities
The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences....

. McCullough's lecture was entitled "The Course of Human Events";

In 1995, McCullough received the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award. The Helmerich Award
Helmerich Award
The Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award is an American literary prize awarded by the Tulsa Library Trust in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is bestowed annually upon an "internationally acclaimed" author who has "written a distinguished body of work and made a major contribution to the field of...

 is presented annually by the Tulsa Library Trust
Tulsa City-County Library
The Tulsa City-County Library is the major public library system in Tulsa County, Oklahoma.-Overview:The library system serves those who live, work, go to school in, own land in, or pay property taxes on land in Tulsa County. There are 25 branches in the system: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,...

.

McCullough has been called a "master of the art of narrative history." New York Times critic
Literary criticism
Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals...

 John Leonard
John Leonard (American critic)
John Leonard was an American literary, television, film, and cultural critic.-Biography:John Leonard grew up in Washington, D.C., Jackson Heights, Queens, and Long Beach, California, where he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School...

 wrote that McCullough was "incapable of writing a page of bad prose." His works have been published in ten languages, over nine million copies have been printed, and all of his books are still in print.

Books

Title Year Awards
The Johnstown Flood 1968
The Great Bridge 1972
The Path Between the Seas
The Path Between the Seas
The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870—1914 is a 1977 book by noted historian David McCullough that details the people and places involved in building the Panama Canal...

1977 National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 – 1978
Francis Parkman Prize
Francis Parkman Prize
The Francis Parkman Prize, named after Francis Parkman, is awarded by the Society of American Historians for the best book in American history each year. Its purpose is to promote literary distinction in historical writing...

 – 1978
Samuel Eliot Morison Award – 1978
Cornelius Ryan Award
Cornelius Ryan Award
The Cornelius Ryan Award is given for "best nonfiction book on international affairs" by the Overseas Press Club of America . To be eligible for this literary award a book must be published "in the US or by a US based company or distributed for an American audience" during the year prior to that...

 – 1978
Mornings on Horseback 1981 National Book Award – 1982
Brave Companions 1992
Truman
Truman (book)
Truman is a 1992 biography of the 33rd President of the United States Harry S. Truman written by popular historian David McCullough. The book won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for "Biography or Autobiography." The book was later made into a movie with the same name by HBO.-Plot summary:The book...

1992 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography
Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography
The Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography has been presented since 1917 for a distinguished biography or autobiography by an American author.-1910s:* 1917: Julia Ward Howe by Laura E...

 – 1993
The Colonial Dames of America Annual Book Award – 1993
John Adams
John Adams (book)
John Adams is a 2001 biography of Founding Father and second U.S. President John Adams written by popular historian David McCullough. It won a 2002 Pulitzer Prize and has been made into a TV miniseries with the same name by HBO Films. Since the TV miniseries debuted, an alternative cover has been...

2001 Pulitzer Prize – 2002
1776
1776 (book)
1776 is a book written by David McCullough, first published by Simon & Schuster on May 24, 2005. The work is considered a companion piece to McCullough's earlier biography of John Adams, and focuses on the events surrounding the start of the American Revolution...

2005 American Compass Best Book – 2005
In the Dark Streets Shineth: A 1941 Christmas Eve Story 2010
The Greater Journey
The Greater Journey (book)
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris is a 2011 non-fiction book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough. In a departure from McCullough's most recent works, Founding Fathers like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, who spent time in Paris, are not covered...

2011

Narrations

McCullough has narrated many television shows and documentaries throughout his career. In addition to narrating the 2003 film Seabiscuit
Seabiscuit (film)
Seabiscuit is a 2003 American biographical film based on the best-selling non-fiction book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand...

, McCullough hosted PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

's American Experience
American Experience
American Experience is a television program airing on the Public Broadcasting Service Public television stations in the United States. The program airs documentaries, many of which have won awards, about important or interesting events and people in American history...

from 1988–1999. McCullough has also narrated numerous documentaries directed by Ken Burns
Ken Burns
Kenneth Lauren "Ken" Burns is an American director and producer of documentary films, known for his style of using archival footage and photographs...

, including Emmy Award
Emmy Award
An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

 winning The Civil War, Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge, The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty (documentary)
The Statue of Liberty is a 1985 American documentary film on the history of the Statue of Liberty. It was produced by Ken Burns. The film included readings by Jeremy Irons and Arthur Miller, among others. The film first aired on October 28, 1985. It was narrated by historian David McCullough. It...

, and The Congress
The Congress (film)
The Congress is a 1988 documentary film directed by Emmy Award-winning director Ken Burns. The Florentine Films production, which focuses on the United States Congress, aired on PBS in 1989. Narrated by David McCullough, the documentary features use of photographs, paintings, and film from sessions...

.

List of films presented or narrated

  • Brooklyn Bridge (1981)
  • Smithsonian World (5 episodes, 1984–1988)
  • The Shakers: Hands to Work, Hearts to God
    The Shakers: Hands to Work, Hearts to God
    The Shakers: Hands to Work, Hearts to God is Ken Burns's second film, released in 1984.Narrated by David McCullough, this hour-long documentary features interviews with several living Shakers and with historians and philosophers....

    (1984)
  • The Statue of Liberty
    The Statue of Liberty (documentary)
    The Statue of Liberty is a 1985 American documentary film on the history of the Statue of Liberty. It was produced by Ken Burns. The film included readings by Jeremy Irons and Arthur Miller, among others. The film first aired on October 28, 1985. It was narrated by historian David McCullough. It...

    (1985)
  • Huey Long
    Huey Long (documentary)
    Huey Long is a documentary film on the life and career of Huey Long. It was directed by Ken Burns and produced by Ken Burns and Richard Kilberg in 1985. The film first aired on October 15, 1986. The film includes interviews with Russell B. Long and Robert Penn Warren. It was narrated by historian...

    (1985)
  • The Congress
    The Congress (film)
    The Congress is a 1988 documentary film directed by Emmy Award-winning director Ken Burns. The Florentine Films production, which focuses on the United States Congress, aired on PBS in 1989. Narrated by David McCullough, the documentary features use of photographs, paintings, and film from sessions...

    (1988)
  • The Civil War (9 episodes, 1990)
  • American Experience
    American Experience
    American Experience is a television program airing on the Public Broadcasting Service Public television stations in the United States. The program airs documentaries, many of which have won awards, about important or interesting events and people in American history...

    (23 episodes, 1991–2006)
  • Coney Island
    Coney Island (documentary)
    'Coney Island is a 1991 documentary film traces the history of Coney Island from its 1609 discovery by Henry Hudson, to its 1870s incarnation as a respectable beach destination for city-dwellers and showcase of the new developments ushered in by the machine age to the turn of the century, when...

    (1991)
  • The Donner Party
    The Donner Party (documentary)
    The Donner Party is a 1992 documentary film traces the history of the Donner Party, an ill-fated pioneer group from Springfield, Illinois to Sutter's Fort, California - a disastrous journey of 2500 miles made famous by the tales of cannibalism the survivors told upon reaching their destination...

    (1992)
  • D-Day Remembered
    D-Day Remembered
    D-Day Remembered is a 1994 documentary film directed by Charles Guggenheim. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature....

    (1994)
  • Seabiscuit
    Seabiscuit (film)
    Seabiscuit is a 2003 American biographical film based on the best-selling non-fiction book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand...

    (2003)

External links

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