Thursday, April 27, 2017


David McCullough's new book The American Spirit:  Who We Are and What We Stand For, is a compilation of McCullough's speeches given between 1989-2016.    He stated that he decided to collect the speeches after the contentious presidential contest of 2016.  

McCullough has won two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, awarded the Presidential Medal Of Freedom, and he had the rare honor to speak before a Joint Session Of Congress.

I have heard McCullough speak numerous times on television and once I was able to hear him speak and meet him personally and have him autograph my collection of his books.  

Below is an article I wrote about meeting McCullough.  

                   MEETING DAVID MCCULLOGH (from 2010)

David McCullough, the historian who won the Pulitzer Prize for his biographies of Truman and John Adams, was scheduled to lecture at Wittenberg University. This was before he had finished the Adams biography. I loaded up my bag full of his books:  Truman, The Great Bridge, The Path Between The Seas, Mornings On Horseback, and Johnstown Flood, hoping to have them autographed. 

The lecture was wonderful and Mr. McCullough is an engaging speaker. During the lecture he told us that he was working on a biography of John Adams. He said that perhaps that very evening that there might be someone in the audience who would grow up to be President of the United States and then he paused dramatically and said, "And I hope that SHE does a better job than most of the men have!" I jumped up and began to applaud. I quickly noticed that I was the only one standing and applauding because my husband was tugging on my jacket.

After the speech Mr. McCullough graciously said that he would be glad to autograph books. I rushed to be at the head of the line. The organizers of the event had obviously not considered that McCullough should have a table and chair to perform the task. I said to my husband, "Sweetheart, why don't you see if you can find a table." Mr. McCullough chuckled and said, "Yes, SWEETHEART, why don't you find me a table if you can." My husband scurried around and located a table and McCullough sat down and I began dragging out all of my books for him to sign. McCullough said, "I bet you were my standing ovation of one, weren't you?" As my husband and I were among the few older people present, Mr. McCullough asked if I were a professor at Wittenberg and I answered, "No, I'm a student--I got a late start." He so kindly said, "Well, not VERY late!" He asked if history were my major and my husband and I automatically "saluted" at the mention of "major" and Mr. McCullough noticed the saluting and asked what that meant and I told him of my "family thing" of saluting at all military words. My husband gives a proper Navy-veteran-type salute while mine is a lame Girl Scout-type salute. Mr. McCullough obviously noticed the differences in our saluting as he laughed, looked at my husband, and said, "Generally speaking, I'd say that you were in the military" and Mr. McCullough SALUTED along with me and my husband at his saying "generally"!

It is such a pleasure to meet and speak with a person one admires, and it is especially pleasurable when the person one has admired from afar is so charming in person!

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