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Brave Companions: Portraits in History Paperback – 21 Jun 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Reprinted edition edition (21 Jun. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671792768
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671792763
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 631,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The New York Times Book Review"

McCullough's portrayals...are models of compression, perspective, and the discriminating use of detail, and of what the author calls "the possibilities for self-expression in writing narrative history."



"Cleveland Plain Dealer"

If you enjoy good stories well told about interesting people and places, you should read this book. You will learn something about history -- and also about good historical writing.



"Dallas Morning News"

It will come as no surprise to the reader to learn that Mr. McCullough's first ambition was to be a portrait painter. He has supplied us with admirable portraits....All his subjects come alive.



"Cleveland Plain Dealer"If you enjoy good stories well told about interesting people and places, you should read this book. You will learn something about history -- and also about good historical writing.

"Dallas Morning News"It will come as no surprise to the reader to learn that Mr. McCullough's first ambition was to be a portrait painter. He has supplied us with admirable portraits....All his subjects come alive.

"The New York Times Book Review"McCullough's portrayals...are models of compression, perspective, and the discriminating use of detail, and of what the author calls "the possibilities for self-expression in writing narrative history."

"The New York Times Book Review" McCullough's portrayals...are models of compression, perspective, and the discriminating use of detail, and of what the author calls "the possibilities for self-expression in writing narrative history."

"Dallas Morning News" It will come as no surprise to the reader to learn that Mr. McCullough's first ambition was to be a portrait painter. He has supplied us with admirable portraits....All his subjects come alive.

"Cleveland Plain Dealer" If you enjoy good stories well told about interesting people and places, you should read this book. You will learn something about history -- and also about good historical writing.

About the Author

David McCullough has been widely acclaimed as a "master of the art of narrative history," "a matchless writer." He is twice winner of the National Book Award, twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize. In December 2006 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award.

His books have been praised for their scholarship, their understanding of American life, their "vibrant prose," and insight into individual character. Mr. McCullough's most recent book, "1776", the number one "New York Times" national bestseller in both hardcover and paperback, has been called, "brilliant...powerful," "a classic." There are three million copies in print, while Mr. McCullough's previous work, "John Adams", remains one of the most critically acclaimed and widely read American biographies of all time. It is presently in its sixty-third printing.

"John Adams", a seven-part mini-series on HBO begins March 16. Produced by Tom Hanks, it stars Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney.

In the words of the citation accompanying his honorary degree from Yale, "As an historian, he paints with words, giving us pictures of the American people that live, breathe, and above all, confront the fundamental issues of courage, achievement, and moral character."

Mr. McCullough's other books include "The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, The Path between the Seas, Mornings on Horseback, Brave Companions, " and "Truman". His work has been published in ten languages and, in all, nearly 9,000,000 copies are in print. As may be said of few writers, none of his books has ever been out of print.

David McCullough is as well twice winner of the prestigious Francis Parkman Prize, and for his work overall he has been honored by the National Book Foundation Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award and the National Humanities Medal. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has received more than forty honorary degrees.

In a crowded, productive career, he has been an editor, essayist, teacher, lecturer, and familiar presence on public television -- as host of "Smithsonian World, The American Experience", and narrator of numerous documentaries including "The Civil War". His is also the narrator's voice in the movie "Seabiscuit".

A gifted speaker, Mr. McCullough has lectured in all parts of the country and abroad, as well as at the White House. He is also one of the few private citizens to speak before a joint session of Congress.

Born in Pittsburgh, Mr. McCullough was educated there and at Yale, where he was graduated with honors in English literature. He is an avid reader, traveler, and has enjoyed a lifelong interest in art and architecture. He is as well a devoted painter. Mr. McCullough and his wife Rosalee Barnes McCullough have five children and eighteen grandchildren.

His current project is a book about Americans in Paris, from the 1830's to 1930's.


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By A Customer on 8 April 1998
Format: Paperback
McCullough shows that history is more than great men and great events. One only needs to read about the discovery of lost and forgotten blueprints of the Brooklyn Bridge to see a new window open on events that we all thought we knew about. The joy of reading anything by McCullough is that he takes you on a guided tour of captivating people, places and events that have been glossed over by more so-called grteat events and people. McCullough does this with a great passion and an understanding that the readers are not always college scholars, but real people who expereince life on a simpler level, people who can relate to the ordinary progress and pace of life. Brave Companions is a book that opens the door to new insights of history, and the door is open to eveyone.
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Format: Paperback
A very worthwhile series of essays on various inspiration friends and companions who have done remarkable things in life. Especially enjoyable is the anecdote about Teddy Roosvelt that kicks this collection off. McCullough can't go wrong.
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Format: Paperback
Anything David Mccullough writes I will be more than happy to read. He must feel history in his bones because nobody does it better. Never boring, he must have a special relationship with the past. And he translates that special understanding to the reader. Thank you David for being so darn good.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8dd24360) out of 5 stars 330 reviews
240 of 244 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8dc1924c) out of 5 stars Resurrecting Quirky, Forgotten Heroes 23 May 2002
By Eric H. Roth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What a delightful, inspiring collection of concise biographical profiles!
MuCullough culls the last few centuries for extraordinary men and women whose names might vaguely trigger a bell, but whose achievements and courage have mostly been forgotten. Going beyond the trivia answers, McCullough recreates the historical context and human passions that drove Alexander von Humboldt to explore South America, Frederic Remington to paint a vanishing way of life, Harriet Beecher Stowe to write Uncle Tom's Cabin (the most popular book - and play of the 19th century America!), and Miriam Rothschild's studies of insects.
Yet the most fascinating chapter, by far, celebrates the literary powers of pioneer airplane pilots: Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Beryl Markham, and Charles and Anne Lindbergh. Rising above the clouds as no man or woman had ever done before, these courageous souls combined a love of science and technology with a sense of reverence for nature's beauty. "With the advance of the airplane, they were sure, the old barriers of time and distance would give way, bringing humanity closer together," writes McCullough. "That they would also share a common crisis in such faith is also part of their story."
McCullough does a remarkable job of resurrecting quirky hereoes and suggests that "courage is contagious." Perhaps he's wrong, but I hope he's right as we begin a new century of unknown peril and possibility.
P.S. I've given a few copies of this book as gifts to relatives and friends.
114 of 115 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8db70ba0) out of 5 stars The Collected McCullough 28 Feb. 2003
By Brian D. Rubendall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
David McCullough is, arguably, the best popular historian of his generation. He has written amazing historical works ("The Johnstown Flood," "The Path Between the Seas," "The Great Bridge) and outstanding Presidential biographies ("Truman," "John Adams," "Mornings on Horseback"). In addition, over the years he has produced numerous shorter pieces for magazines, which were bound together for "Brave Companions."
As a historian, McCullogh has always been very interested in the lives of people, hence the title of the book. In his narrative he brings to life a number of historical figures, some of whom have become quite obscure. Alexander von Humboldt, for example, was a contemporary of Lewis and Clark whose scientific expedition to South America may have been a more impressive feat than the journey of the two Americans. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" author Harriet Beecher Stowe and Old West painter/sculptor Frederic Remington are the subjects of short but frank mini-biographies.
The biographical material remains McCullogh's strong suit and represents the best parts of this collection. A few of the other pieces don't work quite as well. Some were written as long as 30 plus years ago and are dated today. As with any collection of this kind, the reader is likely to focus on those articles that are of the most personal interest. At less that 250 pages of text, the book is a relatively quick read compared to most of McCullough's works.
Overall, an excellent historical work that will particularly be enjoyed by fans of David McCullough.
83 of 84 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8dd275c4) out of 5 stars Wonderful Profiles - People with a purpose 1 Nov. 2003
By V. L. Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since reading my first David McCullough book, MORNINGS ON HORSEBACK, I was delighted and impressed by the author's depth of research and his easy style of writing. I loved his book, JOHN ADAMS and also TRUMAN. The author can be trusted with the facts and although the books are long, the reader doesn't want them to end - they are that interesting! I plan to read all of David McCullough's books.
BRAVE COMPANIONS is a wonderful easily readable book of interesting in depth portraits of people with a purpose. The author makes his portrayals come alive in a unique way. You will learn how history was shaped by ordinary people who did amazing things. I was familiar with only a few such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and Charles and Anne Lindbergh, and was so pleasantly surprised to read about many others such as Miriam Rothschild and David Plowden. I am happy to have met all of these different and exceptional folks. The last chapter, Simon Willard's Clock is just plain great!
Be warned - when you begin reading this informative book, you will not stop until completing it and you will want to know even more about each subject - it's that good! And, like me, you will buy a few copies to give as gifts.
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8dc28aec) out of 5 stars A Sample of History Writing 15 Sept. 2005
By R. DelParto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
David McCullough may be the most revered historian of the twentieth and twenty-first century. This may be somewhat exaggerated, but he keeps the romanticism of the past alive. The cover artwork of BRAVE COMPANIONS: PORTRAITS IN HISTORY shows the wide open spaces of the American landscape, which may suggest the stories and adventures that readers will discover when they read this book. McCullough revisits legendary and not as legendary individuals in American history that have made an impact on American society for their individual contributions. McCullough presents these individuals and their stories as ordinary people and not larger than life characters, which textbooks or biographies have portrayed them to be. Surprisingly, he earned a degree in English and not in History. However, that does not restrict him from preserving the memory of the past in a colorful way. His eloquent and personal writing style entices many to enjoy extensive pages of his narratives on historical figures such as, John Adams, George Washington, and Harry S. Truman.

BRAVE COMPANIONS: PORTRAITS IN HISTORY compiles early essays that McCullough wrote prior to and in between writings of his most notable novels that involved the Brooklyn Bridge, the Panama Canal, and a list of other topics that have found their way into his writings. BRAVE COMPANIONS paints a broad picture of Americana through these essays, and offers a somewhat personal glimpse of literary and historical figures such as, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louis Agassiz, Miriam Rothschild, and Alexander von Humboldt, as ordinary people who happened to make it into the history books. McCullough introduces each character like an old friend; these are the people he grew to know through his studies and research, and this is his ode to a few of them.

The concluding chapters are the most interesting. McCullough summarizes what history means to him, and how far American history has come. The essay entitled "Recommended Itinerary" reads like a graduation address to graduating college students. McCullough merely states that their learning does not end when they leave the halls of their education, but rather continues when they further discover new areas of learning either through books, travel, or the people they meet. Their education only comes alive when they visit historical monuments, museums, or actual places in which they have only read or talked about in school.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ea25954) out of 5 stars Hidden Gems of History 8 April 1998
By Marty Cusack (kcougars@aol.com) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
McCullough shows that history is more than great men and great events. One only needs to read about the discovery of lost and forgotten blueprints of the Brooklyn Bridge to see a new window open on events that we all thought we knew about. The joy of reading anything by McCullough is that he takes you on a guided tour of captivating people, places and events that have been glossed over by more so-called grteat events and people. McCullough does this with a great passion and an understanding that the readers are not always college scholars, but real people who expereince life on a simpler level, people who can relate to the ordinary progress and pace of life. Brave Companions is a book that opens the door to new insights of history, and the door is open to eveyone.
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