David McCullough passed away. He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose meticulously written narratives on topics like the Brooklyn Bridge and Presidents John Adams and Harry Truman made him one of the most well-known and significant historians of his time. He was 89.
How Did Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough Die?
David McCullough passed away on Sunday at his home in Hingham, Massachusetts. He was a well-known author, television broadcaster, and narrator who had a remarkable talent for portraying famous historical figures and events in America. He was 89.
His daughter Dorie Lawson confirmed his passing.
Remember and honor the incomparable David McCullough (1933-2022): pic.twitter.com/VgFm4eVNiX— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) August 8, 2022
According to his publisher, Simon & Schuster, McCullough passed away on Sunday in Hingham, Massachusetts.
David McCullough Wiki
On July 7, 1933, David Gaub McCullough, one of four sons born to Ruth (Rankin) and Christian McCullough, was born in Pittsburgh. There doesn’t appear to be any evidence that he ever experienced a dark day when he was young. In interviews, he expressed his love for the public schools he attended and his appreciation for his parents’ encouragement of a variety of activities, including reading, sports, and cartooning.
He moved to Yale in 1951, when he joined the exclusive Skull and Bones student organisation and was impressed by the English faculty, which included John Hersey, John O’Hara, and Robert Penn Warren. He subsequently recalled that lunchtime chats with the novelist-playwright Thornton Wilder had a significant impact on his subject selection strategy, teaching him the value of keeping “an air of freedom in the plot line,” even when writing nonfiction.
Mr. McCullough earned an honours degree in literature in 1955. He had considered attending medical school or writing plays or fiction; but, he decided to go on as a trainee at Sports Illustrated, which had just launched the year before. After that, writing and editing positions appeared, first at the United States Information Agency in Washington and subsequently for the history magazine American Heritage.
David McCullough family
With the help of his wife and the popularity of “The Johnstown Flood,” he took a risk and left his day job to pursue writing history and biographies full-time while the couple raised five children. Throughout his career, Mr. McCullough and his wife would read aloud their early draughts to one another; he credited this technique with greatly improving his writing.
At the family home on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where she had grown up, Ms. McCullough passed away in June at the age of 89. When they were both teenagers, he had met Rosalee Barnes at a Pittsburgh dance, and the two of them got hitched in 1954.
He is survived by his daughter Dorie, as well as by Melissa McDonald, a second daughter, three sons named David Jr., William, and Geoffrey, a brother named George, 19 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
David McCullough career
David McCullough was an invaluable national asset. His writings gave millions of readers a vivid understanding of history. According to Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp, through his biographies, he “dramatically highlighted the most ennobling aspects of the American character.”
McCullough, a joyful and devoted student of the past, committed himself to spreading his love of history among the general population. He viewed himself as a common person who had been given the opportunity to pursue his passions and a lifelong interest.
His early efforts on the Brooklyn Bridge and the Panama Canal were inspired by his passion with architecture and construction, while Adams and Truman captured his appreciation for leaders who, in his opinion, were honourable men.
In his 70s and 80s, he indulged his love of Paris with the publication of “The Greater Journey” in 2011, and he indulged his love of aviation with the publication of a best-seller about the Wright Brothers in 2015. Beyond his books, the dapper, white-haired McCullough may have been the most recognisable historian, thanks to Ken Burns’ monumental “Civil War” documentary and “The American Experience” viewers’ familiarity with his fatherly baritone. McCullough was previously referred to as “both the name and the voice of American history” by “Hamilton” author Ron Chernow.
Walter Isaacson previously penned in Time magazine, “McCullough’s fundamental fault is one he shares with Truman: he periodically fails to engage with the moral intricacies of policy.”
When asked about complaints that he was too forgiving of Truman and others in an interview with The Associated Press in 2001, McCullough said that “some people not only want their leaders to have feet of clay, but to be all clay.” Even if his work had problems, his warmth and charity were lauded by colleagues. And he received the warmest welcome from both the larger group of prize presenters and the millions of readers. For many years, McCullough produced works on a Royal Standard typewriter from a wireless hut on the property of his home on Martha’s Vineyard that altered perceptions and influenced the market.
Over the following decades, he published 11 additional books, including, in addition to those already mentioned, “Brave Companions: Portraits in History,” a collection of his essays, “1776,” which focused on the American military under George Washington and served as a companion volume to “John Adams,” and “In the Dark Streets Shineth: A 1941 Christmas Eve Story,” which was about the message of hope that Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill shared when they first met shortly after Pearl Harbor.
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“The Greater Journey,” a lavishly illustrated book about Americans in Paris starting in 1830, was published in 2011. Critics did not think well of it. According to Janet Maslin of The Times, Mr. McCullough struggled to develop a unifying topic and as a result, his book has “space-filling remarks” and unusually odd juxtapositions.
The Wright Brothers (2015), The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For (2017), and his most recent book, “The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West,” all received harsh criticism in The Times and The Washington Post as part of a larger controversy, were the books that followed “The Greater Journey.” The Associated Press reported that McCullough was accused of romanticising white settlement and downplaying the suffering endured by Native Americans by a new generation of historians, academics, and activists who turned to social media.
Critics saluted David McCullough as a literary master
He was hailed by critics as a literary master, skilled in giving the well-known narrative drama and bringing important events to life through minute details and the testimonies of particular witnesses. His depiction of the Second Continental Congress in 1776, which served as the basis for Adams’ book, is a prime example. In it, he captured not only the tedious daily debate over declaring independence as the British fleet approached, but also the sights and smells of a sweltering Philadelphia summer, the calibre of the city’s buildings and beers, and the contrasting personalities of two brilliant allies and future enemies.
David McCullough awards
Mr. McCullough was frequently cited as an example of good moral character. He got more than 40 honorary doctorates and other awards from scholarly historical groups.
“Truman” (1992) and “John Adams,” two presidential biographies by Mr. McCullough, were awarded Pulitzer Prizes (2001). His books “The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal” (1977) and “Mornings on Horseback,” which chronicled the young Theodore Roosevelt and his family, both won National Book Awards.
For “The Path Between the Seas,” a book about the construction of the Panama Canal, and for “Mornings on Horseback,” a biography of Theodore Roosevelt, McCullough won the National Book Award. He also won Pulitzer Prizes for “Truman” in 1992 and “John Adams” in 2002.
The extensive examination of the Brooklyn Bridge’s construction known as “The Great Bridge,” which was named No. 48 on the Modern Library’s list of the top 100 nonfiction books of the 20th century, is still recognised as the standard source for the important 19th century undertaking. The 16th Street Bridge in Pittsburgh was dubbed the “David McCullough Bridge” in honour of him on his 80th birthday.
Additionally, McCullough was well-liked in Washington, D.C. In 1989, he spoke before both houses of Congress, and in 2006, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Many politicians, particularly those who read his biographies of Truman and Adams, have stated that they have read his works.
Jimmy Carter pushed for the 1977 treaties that gave Panama back sovereignty of the Panama Canal, citing “A Path Between the Seas” as a motivating factor. McCullough was among a group of academics that Barack Obama invited to a meeting at the White House shortly after he was elected.
McCullough was active in the preservation of historical regions
Mr. McCullough stated in an interview for “Painting With Words,” a brief HBO documentary on him in 2008, “I think of writing history as an art form.” I also want to write a book that might be considered literature. It needs to be more than merely readable. I don’t just want it to be fascinating. I want the reader to feel something when they read it. inspires me
For the majority of his life, the historian was politically neutral, but in 2016, he joined Burns and Chernow in criticising Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as a “monstrous clown with a monstrous ego.” Education was another strongly held cause for McCullough. He was concerned that Americans didn’t understand enough about history and didn’t value the sacrifices made during the American Revolution. He frequently addressed audiences on college campuses and in front of Congress.
In one Senate Committee hearing, he claimed that due to the No Child Left Behind Act, “history is being thrown on the back burner or removed off the stove altogether in many or most schools, in favour of arithmetic and reading.”
McCullough contributed to the protection of historic areas. In the 1990s, he was one of the historians and writers who criticised the Walt Disney Company’s proposed Civil War theme park in a region of northern Virginia with significant historical significance. He also opposed the construction of a residential tower next to the Brooklyn Bridge.
At the time, McCullough lamented that there was “so little that is honest and real” left. “It is nearly sacrilege to replace what we have with plastic, manufactured, mechanical history.”
Mr. McCullough narration of the award-winning 1990 Ken Burns series “The Civil War.
The critically acclaimed “The Civil War” Ken Burns series was narrated by Mr. McCullough in 1990. He was the one whose voice kept interrupting the Hollywood movie “Seabiscuit” from 2003 to provide historical information.
At the time, blogger and journalist Gary North quoted one admirer as saying, “Incredibly, you don’t want him to shut speaking.” He went on to say that David McCullough was a reliable resource for Americans who were struggling to grasp their history: “His voice — not arrogant, yet not quite comforting, either — comes on, and we grow more peaceful.”
From 1988 through 1999, Mr. McCullough served as the host and narrator of “American Experience,” a public television programme. Smithsonian World, a television magazine, was also hosted by him.
According to him, “the work itself has always been the reward of the labour, and more so the longer I’ve been at it. The days never seem to last long enough, yet I’ve had the most fascinating company with folks who are no longer here.
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