A timely collection of speeches by David McCullough, the most honored historian in the United States—winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many others—that reminds us of fundamental American principles.
Over the course of his distinguished career, David McCullough has spoken before Congress, the White House, colleges and universities, historical societies, and other esteemed institutions. Now, at a time of self-reflection in America following a bitter election campaign that has left the country divided, McCullough has collected some of his most important speeches in a brief volume designed to identify important principles and characteristics that are particularly American. The American Spirit reminds us of core American values to which we all subscribe, regardless of which region we live in, which political party we identify with, or our ethnic background. This is a book about America for all Americans that reminds us who we are and helps to guide us as we find our way forward.
The American Spirit Simon Willard’s Clock JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS Washington, D.C.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Senator Dole, Members of the 101st Congress, ladies and gentlemen. For a private citizen to be asked to speak before Congress is a rare and very high honor and I thank you.
Simon Willard was never a Member of Congress in the usual sense. Simon Willard of Roxbury, Massachusetts, was a clockmaker early in the nineteenth century and he did it all by hand and by eye.
“In cutting his wheel teeth,” reads an old account, “he did not mark out the spaces on the blank [brass] wheel and cut the teeth to measure, but he cut, rounded up and finished the teeth as he went along, using his eye only in spacing, and always came out even. . . .
David McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. His other acclaimed books include The Johnstown Flood, TheGreat Bridge, Brave Companions, 1776,The Greater Journey, and The Wright Brothers. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. Visit DavidMcCullough.com.
"This book is a gift. . . . It's a powerful argument for keeping history alive."
– Michael Schaub, NPR
“[McCullough] is one of the great historical storytellers of his generation. . . . Fundamentally Mr. McCullough loves the American story and its most illustrious characters.”
– Robert W. Merry, The Wall Street Journal
“A national treasure, McCullough performs a national service in The American Spirit. Insightful and inspirational, it summons a vexed and divided nation to remember - and cherish - our unifying ideas and ideals.”
– Jay Strafford, Richmond Times Dispatch
"McCullough's passion for history and his profound belief in America, or at least his vision of America . . . is both encompassing and deeply hopeful. . . .Clio, the muse of history, smiles and nods her head on every page."
– Kirkus Reviews
“McCullough perfectly embodies the part of remember-in-chief. . . . Happily, the same qualities that inform McCullough’s histories and biographies also shape his speeches. He is, whether at his desk or a lectern, a consummate storyteller.”
– Danny Heitman, Christian Science Monitor
“Very few among us possess the encompassing and informed perspective on America’s past and present that historian and best-selling author McCullough has gained over decades of research. . . . McCullough’s legions of fans will flock to this edifying collection.”
“A carefully crafted, well-reasoned, heartfelt testament to what this nation can be — past, present, and we must believe — future.”
– Barbara Hall, The Providence Journal
“Acclaimed historian David McCullough’s The American Spirit is as inspirational as it is brilliant, as simple as it is sophisticated. It will at the same time make you laugh and give rise to tears of despair. . . . This is not patriotic boilerplate. McCullough is a historian and a realist. He sees his nation with all its warts, beginning with its indelible birthmark of slavery and continuing through to today’s government dysfunction and political polarization. Yet he remains confident and upbeat.”
– Edward Cuddihy, Buffalo News
"This collection captures McCullough's passion and vigor throughout. . . . [His] enthusiasm for history is infectious."