Photograph © William B. McCullough
“One of America’s greatest living writers.”
—The Washington Post
David McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. His other acclaimed books include The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, Brave Companions, 1776, The Greater Journey, The Wright Brothers, and The American Spirit. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.
His most recent book, The Pioneers, traces the ambitious and courageous journey of the men and women who settled the Northwest Territory that encompasses present-day Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois. His two previous books, The Wright Brothers and the speech collection The American Spirit, were both major bestsellers. The Wright Brothers debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list upon its publication in May 2015 and remained on the list for nine months. The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, also a #1 bestseller, has been called “dazzling…history to be savored.” His 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.”
His books have been published in nineteen languages and—as may be said of few writers—none of his books has ever been out of print.
David McCullough is as well a two-time winner of the 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-four honorary degrees.
In 2013, in his honor, the city of Pittsburgh, his hometown, renamed its landmark 16th Street Bridge over the Allegheny River the David McCullough Bridge. More recently, in September 2014, he was named an Officer of the Legion of Honor by decree of the President of the Republic of France.
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, was one of the most acclaimed 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, he was educated there and at Yale. He is an avid reader, traveler, and has enjoyed a lifelong interest in art and architecture. He is as well a devoted painter. He and his wife Rosalee Barnes McCullough have five children, nineteen grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
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Author photograph © William B. McCullough