On Monday, award-winning author and historian David McCullough – mind sharper than a tack – spoke at the Instructional Center auditorium. Writer of the now HBO-adapted novels “Truman” and “John Adams,” he came with his newest and incredibly addictive book “The Wright Brothers.”
The doors opened at 6 p.m., and no sooner than that did about 50 people filled seats. By the time the event started, well over 200 people were filling all of the seats in the auditorium, causing some to be placed into overflow rooms where they watched the event on a projector.
A friend of the Avion, Marc Bernier – of FM 93.5 WNDB’s “The Marc Bernier Show” kicked off the event with a brief introduction and had the task of moderating and interviewing Mr. McCullough.
David McCullough is the proud recipient of the Presidential Ward of Freedom, the highest honor that can be given to a civilian. He has been married for 62 years with his wife, Rosalee. They have five children and a whopping 19 grandchildren.
We married in ’54, and we’re off to a good start!
The author of eleven books and working on the twelfth, McCullough found his interest in the Wrights while researching for his book “The Greater Journey,” about Americans who moved to Paris for periods of time. When he saw the name of Wilbur Wright he thought “What on Earth are you doing here?” As it turned out, Wilbur lived in Paris for a brief period, and during this time he would write back home about the paintings in the Louvre, which he visited constantly. As Mr. McCullough put it, “Wilbur wrote about the paintings like a graduate student writing their doctoral thesis… And he never went to college.” Seeing this genius cemented his interest in the Wright family.
I don’t work on a book; I work inside a book.
From the way that he filled the room with laughter from his wit, humor and stories: I knew that I had to get a copy of his book for myself. The way that he writes history is not boring in the least. “History should never be boring… It is about stories and life. History is human,” as McCullough put it himself.
After reading the first page – the prologue – I had to put down the book. If I had continued to the second page, I knew I would not have been able to put it down until I finished the book. I will start the second page this weekend because I actually have the free time to read it.
The event ended when the audience got to ask Mr. McCullough questions. They ranged everywhere from “Where do you get the determination to research and write about history,” to “Of the many presidents you have met, which would you go on a road-trip with?” And, in case you were wondering, his answer to the latter was George Bush Sr.
The next speakers in the President’s Series will be Paul Begala from CNN and Tucker Carlson from Fox News Channel in the event called “Left to Right before Election Day.” They will be discussing the upcoming election with Begala for the left and Carlson for the right. Marc Bernier will be moderating again. It will be taking place on Wednesday, Sept. 28.