David Gaub McCullough is an American writer, storyteller, historian, and speaker who is renowned as the “master of the art of narrative history.” He has earned important accolades such as the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his outstanding historical writing. His contribution to the field of American history, whether on the Johnstown Flood or the construction of the Panama Canal, or on Theodore Roosevelt’s life or the contributions of America’s second President, John Adams, has been greater than that of any other historical writer, which is why he is the recipient of America’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. HBO has turned many of McCullough’s works into television movies or miniseries, including ‘Truman,’ ‘John Adams,’ and others. He has narrated several documentaries and has been a host on the ‘American Experience’ for over 12 years because of his flawless understanding of American history and command of his narrative talents. What began as a literary curiosity at Yale quickly evolved into a love for study and a desire to transmit the facts of American history throughout the world, all while utilizing his literary and writing abilities.
Childhood and Adolescence
Ruth and Christian Hax McCullough raised David McCullough in Pennsylvania. He was one of four sons and recalls a joyful and fulfilling upbringing. He attended Linden Avenue Grade School and Shady Side Academy in Pennsylvania.
In 1951, McCullough enrolled at Yale University to study English literature, which he considered a luxury because he met several well-known literary giants there, including John O’Hara, Thornton Wilder, Robert Penn Warren, and others.
Career of David McCullough
McCullough found himself working as a trainee at ‘Sports Illustrated’ in New York City shortly after graduating in 1955. After obtaining some experience there, he went on to work for the US Information Agency as an editor and writer.
For the following 12 years, he worked in the field of writing and editing, and while at ‘American Heritage,’ he published ‘The Johstown Flood,’ a record of one of the most devastating floods in US history, in 1968.
McCullough decided to become a full-time writer after receiving offers to write books about the San Francisco earthquake and the Great Chicago Fire, but instead chose to write ‘The Great Bridge’ in 1972 about the history of the Brooklyn Bridge.
His book ‘The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal’ was published in 1977. The National Book Award for History, the Francis Parkman Prize, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award, and the Cornelius Ryan Award were all given to it.
His book ‘Brave Companions: Portraits in History,’ published in 1991, was a collection of articles he authored over a 20-year period, including writings on Louis Agassiz, Alexander von Humboldt, Frederic Remington, and others.
In 1993, he released his second biography, titled ‘Truman.’ He won his first Pulitzer Prize for this novel. It also earned him the Colonial Dames of America Annual Book Award, and HBO produced a telefilm adaptation of ‘Truman.’
McCullough was inspired by his Pulitzer Prize to write another biography of the Founding Father and second US President, ‘John Adams,’ in 2002. For the novel, he got his second Pulitzer Prize, and HBO turned it into a TV miniseries.
With the popularity of ‘John Adams,’ he published a companion play in 2005 called ‘1776,’ which focused on the events that led up to the American Revolution. In the United States, it became the number one best-seller.
McCullough got a deal with Simon & Schuster and released ‘The Greater Journey’ in 2011 while pondering writing a sequel to ‘1776.’ The book tells the story of the great Americans who traveled to Paris.
Major Projects of David McCullough
‘The Path Between the Seas,’ by McCullough, is regarded one of his key works since it was his first extensively researched history book, winning the National Book Award in History, the Francis Parkman Prize, and the Cornelius Ryan Award, among others.
Achievements & Awards
McCullough has been dubbed the “master of the art of narrative history” and has garnered several honors. He has received several awards and honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, two Pulitzer Prizes, and two National Book Awards, among others.
Personal History and Legacy
McCullough met his wife Rosalee Barnes in Pittsburgh when he was just 17 years old. They are parents to five children and grandparents to eighteen grandkids. He and his wife live in Boston and appreciate sports, history, and art.
McCullough has received around 40 honorary degrees. He majored in English at Yale in the hopes of becoming a fiction writer or dramatist. Many documentaries, including ‘The Civil War,’ ‘The Statue of Liberty,’ and ‘The Congress,’ have been narrated by McCullough.
Estimated Net Worth
David McCullough has an estimated net worth of $8 million. He is an American author, historian, narrator, and speaker. In July 1933, David McCullough was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has received the Pulitzer Prize twice and the National Book Award twice. The Presidential Medal of Freedom was awarded to McCullough.