David Gaub McCullough (muh-KUHL-uh) is an important American historian who has popularized history through his award-winning books and appearances on PBS television. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he is the son of Christian Hax and Ruth Rankin McCullough, who worked in a family-owned electrical supply business. An avid reader in a house full of books, McCullough received a B.A. degree in English from Yale University and planned to pursue a career in writing.
In 1954, McCullough married Rosalee Ingram Barnes and eventually settled in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. After graduating from college in 1955, he worked in New York for Time, Incorporated, writing circulation promotion for Sports Illustrated for six years. In 1961, he went to work in Washington, D.C., as a staff writer at the U.S. Information Company but returned to New York in 1964 to accept a position as writer and editor with American Heritage Publishing Company. While there, he edited The American Heritage Picture History of World War II and began writing his first book at night and on weekends. The Johnstown Flood, his account of a nineteenth century disaster in his native Pennsylvania, became successful enough for him to devote his full time to his writing.
McCullough’s next writing project, The Great Bridge, the story of the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, came about through his interest in topics involving human beings who cooperate in a concerted effort to accomplish something of great significance. In 1972, McCullough shifted his interest from Brooklyn to Panama, for The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914. His...
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