David McCullough’s History Lessons

Thursday's Editorial - April 13, 2017

Questions

1. Mr. McCullough believes that history gives us a sense of proportion. He explains: “It’s an antidote to a lot of unfortunately human trends like self-importance and self-pity.” What do you think of this assertion?

2. Mr. McCullough is a historian. He is the author of such books as the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographies “Truman” (1992) and “John Adams” (2001).
a)  He writes about topics he is unfamiliar with. He said, “I have never undertaken a subject about which I knew very much. I tell that to my academic friends, and they just think that’s pitiful, but if I knew all about it, I wouldn’t want to write the book.” What do you think of this approach?
b) What method does he use to conduct research? and to write his books?

3. The purpose of an editorial/commentary is to explain, persuade, warn, criticize, entertain, praise or answer. What do you think is the purpose of Alexandra Wolfe’s editorial about David McCullough? Explain your answer.