David McCullough - America’s Greatest Historian

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David McCullough has been widely acclaimed as a “master of the art of narrative history,” “a matchless writer.”  He is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, twice winner of the National Book Award, and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.  

Mr. McCullough’s most recent book, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, the number one New York Times best seller, has been called “dazzling,” “an epic of ideas…history to be savored.”  His previous work, 1776, has been acclaimed “a classic,” while John Adams, published in 2001, remains one of the most praised and widely read American biographies of all time.

In the words of the citation accompanying his honorary degree from Yale, “As an historian, he paints with words, giving us pictures of the American people that live, breathe, and above all, confront the fundamental issues of courage, achievement, and moral character.”

Mr. McCullough’s other books include The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, The Path between the Seas, Mornings on Horseback, Brave Companions, and Truman.  His work has been translated and published in 15 countries around the world, and, in all, more than 10,000,000 copies are in print.  As may be said of few writers, none of his books has ever been out of print.

David McCullough is as well twice winner of the prestigious Francis Parkman Prize, and for his work overall he has been honored by the National Book Foundation Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award, the National Humanities Medal and the Gold Medal for Biography given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has received fifty two honorary degrees.

In a crowded, productive career, he has been an editor, teacher, lecturer, and familiar presence on public television—as host of Smithsonian World, The American Experience, and narrator of numerous documentaries including Ken Burns’s The Civil War.  His is also the narrator’s voice in the movie Seabiscuit.

John Adams, the seven-part mini-series on HBO, produced by Tom Hanks and starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney, was one of the most acclaimed and talked about television events of recent years.  

A gifted speaker, Mr. McCullough has lectured in all parts of the country and abroad, as well as at the White House.  He is also one of the few private citizens to speak before a joint session of Congress.

Born in Pittsburgh in 1933, Mr. McCullough was educated there and at Yale, where he was graduated with honors in English literature.  He is an avid reader, traveler, and has enjoyed a lifelong interest in art and architecture.  He is as well a devoted painter.  Mr. McCullough and his wife Rosalee Barnes McCullough have five children and nineteen grandchildren.

Mr. McCullough is presently working on a biography of the Wright brothers.

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Photo © William B. McCullough

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