08 July 2007
The Birthday of My Favorite Historian
It's the birthday of the popular historian and biographer David McCullough (books by this author), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1933). He started out as a reporter for Sports Illustrated magazine. His first book was The Jonestown Flood (1968), and he wrote another book about the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge called The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge (1972). But his big breakthrough was a biography of Harry Truman called Truman (1992), one of the best-selling biographies ever published at the time. [I also highly recommend Brave Companions: Portraits in History, a book of short stories of history (see photo) -- very accessible -- cjb]
David McCullough said, "History is about life. It's awful when the life is squeezed out of it and there's no flavor left, no uncertainties, no horsing around. It always disturbed me how many biographers never gave their subjects a chance to eat. You can tell a lot about people by how they eat, what they eat, and what kind of table manners they have."
From The Writer's Almanac for July 7, 2007