His widely praised The Wright Brothers, was a #1 New York Times bestseller and remained on the list for more than a year. 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. It is now in its 48th 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 books have been published in 19 languages. As may be said of few writers, none of his books has ever been out of print.
David McCullough is as well twice 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 55 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. John Adams, the seven-part mini-series on HBO produced by Tom Hanks, was one of the most acclaimed television events of recent years.
Born in Pittsburgh in 1933, he was educated there and at Yale. He has enjoyed a lifelong interest in art and architecture and is as well a devoted painter. He and his wife Rosalee Barnes McCullough have five children and nineteen grandchildren.