Over the following decades, he published 11 other books, including, besides those listed above, “Courageous Companions: Pictures in History,” a collection of his essays; “1776” which dealt specifically with the US Army under George Washington and completed John Adams’ book; and “In the Dark Streets Shineth: A 1941 Christmas Eve Story,” about the message of hope sent by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill when they met shortly after Pearl Harbor.
In 2011 came The Great Journey, an illustrated book about Americans in Paris beginning in 1830. It didn’t do well with critics. Janet Maslin of The Times wrote that Mr. McCullough had trouble finding a unifying subject and thus ended up with “empty-filling notes” and uncharacteristically awkward juxtaposition.
Follow “The Great Journey” with “The Wright Brothers” (2015); The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Represent (2017); and his latest book, published in 2019, The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West, which sparked sharp critical reviews in times And the Washington Post As part of a broader debate. “A new generation of historians, scholars, and activists have taken to social media to accuse McCullough of romanticizing white settlement and downplaying the pain inflicted on Native Americans,” Associated Press books.
Such complaints about his earlier work were often related to his obvious subject matter of the subjects he had chosen. “Truman,” for example, helped change history’s opinion of the man for the better; It did not provide an independent view of the Truman-ordered bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But then Mr. McCullough made no secret of his admiration for men and women who were famous not only for achievement but also for their courage and independence, and for principles that put the common good above personal ambition.
Mr. McCullough himself has often been seen as a model for established values. He has received numerous awards from professional historical societies and nearly 40 honorary doctorates. In 2006, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In 2003, he was selected by the National Endowment for the Humanities to deliver the prestigious Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities in Washington. He talked about the founders’ idea of the pursuit of happiness — which, he said, does not mean “long vacations, material possessions, or ease.” Rather, he said, “As far as anything means the life of the mind and spirit.”
“Coffee aficionado. Introvert. Proud problem solver. Explorer. Friendly music buff. Zombie nerd.”