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Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough dies at 89 | Entertainment

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NEW YORK (AP) — Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose lovingly crafted stories on subjects ranging from the Brooklyn Bridge to Presidents John Adams and Harry Truman became one of the most popular and influential historians of his time David McCullough, one of the family members, has passed away. he was 89 years old.

McCullough died Sunday in Hingham, Massachusetts, according to his publisher, Simon & Schuster.

“David McCullough was a national treasure. His books brought history to life for millions of readers. ,” Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp said in a statement.

A joyful and tireless student of the past, McCullough was dedicated to sharing his own passion for history with the public. He considered himself a lifelong curiosity and everyone blessed with the opportunity to work on the subjects that most interested him. His fascination with architecture and construction influenced his early work on the Panama Canal and the Brooklyn Bridge, and his admiration for leaders he believed to be good people drew him to Adams and Truman. I was. From the ’70s to his ’80s, he indulged his love of Paris with his 2011 release, The Greater Journey, and his love of aviation with the Wright Brothers’ bestseller, published in 2015. .

Beyond his books, the handsome, gray-haired McCullough may have been more prominent than any historian, and fans of PBS’s “The American Experience” and Ken Burns’ epic documentary, “Civil War,” are all familiar with his father. known as a baritone. Hamilton author Ron Chernow once called McCullough “both the name and voice of American history.”

McCullough’s celebration of America’s past has also led to some of his harshest criticism. He was accused of minimizing his conduct. In his earlier work, he was accused of avoiding harsher truths about Truman, Adams, and others, and emphasizing storytelling over analysis.

“McCullough’s tangible contribution was to treat large-scale historical biographies as another genre for audiences to appreciate, an exercise in character recognition, a credible source of indoctrination and comforting upliftment,” says Sean Wilentz. wrote in The New Republic in 2001. In 2008, according to the Associated Press, McCullough said in response to criticism that he was too soft, saying, “Some people don’t just want their leaders to have clay legs, they want them to be all clay.”

But even his colleagues, who found flaws in his work, admired his kindness and generosity and recognized his talent. And millions of readers and a small circle of winners were moved by his story. For many years, Martha’s, Massachusetts, wireless from his cottage on the grounds of his home on his vineyard, McCullough changed his mind and shaped the market for his typewriter’s royal standard. completed the work. He helped build the reputations of Truman and Adams and launched a wave of bestsellers about the American Revolution, including McCullough’s own “1776.”

McCullough won the National Book Award for “The Path Between the Seas” about the construction of the Panama Canal. “Morning on Horseback,” a biography of Theodore Roosevelt. Pulitzer Prize Winner for 1992’s “Truman” and his 2002’s “John Adams”. “The Great Bridge,” a lengthy study of the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, ranked him 48th on the list of the 100 Best Works of Nonfiction by the Modern Library. It dates from the 20th century and is still widely recognized as the defining text of the great 19th century projects. On his 80th birthday, his native Pittsburgh renamed his 16th Street Bridge the “David McCullough Bridge.”

McCullough is also popular in Washington, DC, where he addressed a joint session of Congress in 1989 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006. Politicians often claimed to have read his books, especially the biographies of Truman and Adams. road,” which politicians on both sides of the issue cited during debates. scholars who met at the White House shortly after he was elected.

The historian has been nonpartisan for most of his life, but in 2016 he opposed Donald Trump, leading a group of historians, including Burns and Chernow, to describe the Republican presidential candidate as a “giant man with a gigantic ego.” criticized as a clown. McCullough also had his one emphatic cause, education. He was concerned that Americans knew little about history and failed to acknowledge the sacrifices of revolutionary times. “In many or most schools history is put on the back burner or taken off the stove entirely in favor of mathematics and reading.” ”

McCullough was also active in preserving historic areas. He opposed building residential towers near the Brooklyn Bridge, and in the 1990s Walt Disney, his company’s Civil War theme park, planned for an area of ​​northern Virginia of particular historical importance. was one of historians and writers who criticized

“We have very little real and real stuff left,” McCullough said at the time. It’s blasphemy.”

Although McCullough covered some rogues in his book, most notably the witty New York politicians involved in the Brooklyn Bridge, he preferred to write about people he liked compared to his choice of roommates. rice field. Pablo’s distaste for Picasso’s private life led him to abandon a planned book about artists, but his biography of Adams was originally supposed to be about Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

McCullough, whose father and grandfather founded the McCullough Electric Company, was born in Pittsburgh in 1933. From his childhood he loved history, recalling the lively dinner conversations, the portraits of Washington and Lincoln that seemed to hang in every home, and excursions to nearby schools. Where Washington fought his one of the first battles. He majored in English at Yale University, where playwright Thornton he met Wilder, who encouraged the young student to write. McCullough recalls the events that occurred in his home state in 1889—more than 2,000 of his deaths and hurricanes as much as his Katrina occurred more than a century after his. , was a disaster of its time.

McCullough studied the book in his spare time and begged Little Brown & Company to publish it to no avail. He got to his Simon & Schuster, which released the book on his $5,000 advance in 1968, and remained his publisher for the rest of his career.

“The Johnstown Flood” was successful enough that McCullough worried that he would be typecast as the author of the flop “Bad News McCullough”. A publisher had asked him to write about the Great Chicago Fire and his 1906 San Francisco earthquake. So in his next book, The Great Bridge, he told the story of his success. “Nothing about my little or no knowledge of civil engineering, my poor grades in math or physics, or my great interest in mechanical things, ever deterred me.” he later wrote. “I was too excited. There were so many things I wanted to know.”

McCullough continued with “The Road Between Seas.” ‘Mornings on Horseback’, published in 1981, was praised by Gore Vidal as a ‘biographical sketch that is part of a new and hailed genre’. “Morning His On His Horseback” won the National Book Award, but was overshadowed by the release of Edmund Morris’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,” Vidal points out. did. This is the last time McCullough’s book has received his second billing.

He had considered a biography of Franklin Roosevelt, but instead related it to Roosevelt’s successor, Harry Truman. McCullough spent the next ten years writing the book, living briefly in Truman’s hometown of Independence, Missouri, and making morning walks a routine like the former president.

The 1992 publication of Truman became a million-seller, and the long-lasting rise in status of a man who resigned with less than 30% approval ratings 40 years ago is now effectively legitimized as an honest and tenacious leader. Confirmed. Among the fans of the book were presidential candidate Ross Perot, who openly compared himself to Truman, and first President Bush, who consulted with McCullough when he failed to run for re-election.

“John Adams,” published in 2001, was equally popular and helpful on the subject. Later that year, Congress passed a bill to erect a monument in honor of the second president. “1776” was published in 2005, and an illustrated version was published two years later. His HBO miniseries based on “John Adams” starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney aired in 2008. Tom Hanks was planning a miniseries based on McCullough’s book about the Wright brothers.

McCullough had five children and had affinities with happily married politicians such as Truman and Adams that can be traced back to his wife, Rosalie Burns, who married in 1954 and died in June. . She was his editor, muse, and best friend. Marthas At his Vineyard home, McCullough proudly showed visiting reporters a photo of their first meeting at the Spring Dance, the two gazing at each other.