On Wednesday, July 27, 2016 we will meet to discuss 1776 by David McCullough. We will meet at 11:30 a.m. in room 2137.
Some excerpts from two David McCullough interviews give a small insight to how he undertook such a large project and make it an enjoyable read.
I want people to see that all-important time in a different way – in the way it was. For a number of reasons, including the absence of photographs, we tend to see the men and women of the Revolution as not quite real. And we have far too little sense of what they suffered. Unlike the people you see in Mathew Brady’s photographs from the Civil War, the men and women of the Revolution seem more like characters in a costume pageant. And it’s a pageant in which the performers are all handsome as stage actors, with uniforms and dress that are always costume perfect. I want to be inside that other time. I want to convey the atmosphere of the time, what it was like to have been alive then, what the reality was for those people. I often think about how they would feel if they could read what I’m writing. I imagine them asking, ‘Does he get it?’
McCullough’s process has taken him through some of the most pivotal moments in America’s history. In his most recent book, 1776, McCullough was able to sift through material that was being held in more than twenty-five libraries, some in America and others in the United Kingdom. He “drew on letters, diaries, memoirs, maps, orderly books, newspaper accounts – all the usual primary sources historians work with.” McCullough also relies on academic historians for information as well. In the case of 1776, McCullough used three that were published in the late 1700’s, shortly after the events occurred.
Book Reporter, “Author Talk: David McCullough” BookReporter.com http://www.bookreporter.com/authors/au-mccullough-david.asp
I try to do the research, up to maybe the point where I think 60-some percent of it is done,
and then I begin writing. And it’s in the writing that you begin to find out what you need to know, and what you don’t know, and it’s perhaps circumstantial, but I don’t think so. I try to write four good pages a day. That’s double space, typewritten pages. I still work on a typewriter, a manual typewriter because I love the feeling of making something with my hands.
Academy of Achievement, “David McCullough” Academy of Achievement http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/mcc2int-1
Please see the post on our blog from May, 11, 2010
Walter Benjamin — ‘History is written by the victors.’