David McCullough

History and the Love of Learning

David McCullough, author of 1776, John Adams and Harry Truman, discussed his latest work, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, followed by a book signing.

Historical biographer, Pulitzer Prize winner

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. More than three million copies are in print and it is presently in its 82nd printing.  

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 published in ten languages and, in all, more than 9,500,000 copies are in print.  As may be said of few writers, none of his books has ever been out of print.

David McCullough is 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 and the National Humanities Medal.  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 forty-seven honorary degrees.

In a crowded, productive career, he has been an editor, essayist, 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 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 eighteen grandchildren.