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jerryking : david_mccullough   2

David McCullough’s History Lessons
April 14, 2017 | WSJ | By Alexandra Wolfe.

David McCullough thinks that the country isn’t in such bad shape. It’s all relative, says the 83-year-old historian and author of such books as the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographies “Truman” (1992) and “John Adams” (2001). He points to the Civil War, for instance, when the country lost 2% of its population—that would be more than six million people today—or the flu pandemic of 1918, when more than 500,000 Americans died. “Imagine that on the nightly news,” he says.

History gives us a sense of proportion, he says: “It’s an antidote to a lot of unfortunately human trends like self-importance and self-pity.”.....see history “as an aid to navigation in such troubled, uncertain times,”.....[McCullough] thought back to something that the playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder had said while a fellow at Yale during Mr. McCullough’s undergraduate days. When Wilder heard a good story and wished to see it on the stage, he wrote the play himself. When he wanted to read a book about an interesting event, he wrote it himself.....Even today, Mr. McCullough doesn’t use a computer for research or writing. He still goes to libraries and archives to find primary sources and writes on a typewriter. ...History, he adds, is “often boiled down to statistics and dates and quotations that make it extremely boring.” The key to generating interest, he says, is for professors and teachers to frame history as stories about people.
archives  authors  biographies  Civil_War  contextual  David_McCullough  DIY  flu_outbreaks  Harry_Truman  historians  history  John_Adams  libraries  self-importance  self-pity  sense_of_proportion  storytelling  Pulitzer_Prize 
april 2017 by jerryking
Paying a Call on the Adams Family - WSJ.com
MARCH 1, 2002 | WSJ | By JOHN QUINCY ADAMS JR.

"America's First Dynasty: The Adamses, 1735-1918"
By Richard Brookhiser
Reviewed by John Quincy Adams Jr.

The greatest of all American political dynasties, however, is not a recent one. It is that of the Adamses, the subject of Richard Brookhiser's multigenerational study. (I should confess to being a member of this large and ever-expanding family.) Of course John Adams, the patriarch and second president of the U.S., has received a great deal of attention of late thanks to David McCullough's magnificent biography.
book_reviews  dynasties  Founding_Fathers  family  David_McCullough 
november 2011 by jerryking

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