Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

David McCullough

December 21, 2010

By: Louis Javell

When I have a chance to sit down with a good book, I often find myself turning to the work of David McCullough, particularly his groundbreaking biography of the second President of the United States, John Adams. Born in 1933 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, David Gaub McCullough went on to study at Yale University, where he sometimes sat down to meals with Thornton Wilder, novelist, playwright, and Pulitzer Prize winner. As early as his undergraduate days, McCullough planned to be a writer or a playwright. After graduating from Yale with a Bachelor of Arts in English, McCullough moved to New York City to work for Sports Illustrated. For the next 12 years, McCullough accepted a number of writing and editorial positions, including roles with the United States Information Agency and American Heritage. During his time with American Heritage, McCullough wrote and published his first book, The Johnstown Flood, which explored one of the most catastrophic flooding disasters experienced in the United States at that time. Turning down offers to chronicle the events of the Great Chicago Fire and the San Francisco earthquake, McCullough instead chose to write a history of the Brooklyn Bridge. His next book, The Path Between the Seas, cemented McCullough’s reputation as a talented and popular historian. Throughout his career, David McCullough has received some of the greatest awards presented to writers and historians. For The Path Between the Seas, he earned the National Book Award, the Francis Parkman Prize, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award, and the Cornelius Ryan Award, all in the span of a single year (1978). His next work, Mornings on Horseback, published in 1981, also received the National Book Award. McCullough’s most recent three books, two of which center on the events relating to the American Revolutionary War and its social and political aftermath, have also received accolades. McCullough received the Pulitzer Prize twice: one for Truman and one for John Adams. His 2005 book, 1776, earned the American Compass Best Book prize. [www.davidmccullough.com]