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Alternate cover edition of ISBN 9780671792763 From Alexander von Humboldt to Charles and Anne Lindbergh, these are stories of people of great vision and daring whose achievements continue to inspire us today, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough. The bestselling author of Truman and John Adams, David McCullough has written profiles of exceptional men and wom Alternate cover edition of ISBN 9780671792763 From Alexander von Humboldt to Charles and Anne Lindbergh, these are stories of people of great vision and daring whose achievements continue to inspire us today, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough. The bestselling author of Truman and John Adams, David McCullough has written profiles of exceptional men and women past and present who have not only shaped the course of history or changed how we see the world but whose stories express much that is timeless about the human condition. Here are Alexander von Humboldt, whose epic explorations of South America surpassed the Lewis and Clark expedition; Harriet Beecher Stowe, “the little woman who made the big war”; Frederic Remington; the extraordinary Louis Agassiz of Harvard; Charles and Anne Lindbergh, and their fellow long-distance pilots Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Beryl Markham; Harry Caudill, the Kentucky lawyer who awakened the nation to the tragedy of Appalachia; and David Plowden, a present-day photographer of vanishing America. Different as they are from each other, McCullough’s subjects have in common a rare vitality and sense of purpose. These are brave companions: to each other, to David McCullough, and to the reader, for with rare storytelling ability McCullough brings us into the times they knew and their very uncommon lives.


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Alternate cover edition of ISBN 9780671792763 From Alexander von Humboldt to Charles and Anne Lindbergh, these are stories of people of great vision and daring whose achievements continue to inspire us today, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough. The bestselling author of Truman and John Adams, David McCullough has written profiles of exceptional men and wom Alternate cover edition of ISBN 9780671792763 From Alexander von Humboldt to Charles and Anne Lindbergh, these are stories of people of great vision and daring whose achievements continue to inspire us today, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough. The bestselling author of Truman and John Adams, David McCullough has written profiles of exceptional men and women past and present who have not only shaped the course of history or changed how we see the world but whose stories express much that is timeless about the human condition. Here are Alexander von Humboldt, whose epic explorations of South America surpassed the Lewis and Clark expedition; Harriet Beecher Stowe, “the little woman who made the big war”; Frederic Remington; the extraordinary Louis Agassiz of Harvard; Charles and Anne Lindbergh, and their fellow long-distance pilots Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Beryl Markham; Harry Caudill, the Kentucky lawyer who awakened the nation to the tragedy of Appalachia; and David Plowden, a present-day photographer of vanishing America. Different as they are from each other, McCullough’s subjects have in common a rare vitality and sense of purpose. These are brave companions: to each other, to David McCullough, and to the reader, for with rare storytelling ability McCullough brings us into the times they knew and their very uncommon lives.

30 review for Brave Companions: Portraits in History

  1. 5 out of 5

    David

    While most of this book is a set of biographical essays, there are a few chapters that are simply historical essays. So, it sort of feels like a set of essays that David McCullough put together from his writings over the years. There is no single theme holding the book together. Most of the essays are interesting; the book contains essays about Alexander von Humboldt, Charles Lindbergh, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and lesser-known people. Then the book wanders off into an essay about Washington, DC an While most of this book is a set of biographical essays, there are a few chapters that are simply historical essays. So, it sort of feels like a set of essays that David McCullough put together from his writings over the years. There is no single theme holding the book together. Most of the essays are interesting; the book contains essays about Alexander von Humboldt, Charles Lindbergh, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and lesser-known people. Then the book wanders off into an essay about Washington, DC and an essay about the US Senate of bygone years. Like other books that I've read by David McCullough, the book is enjoyable, but some of the essays simply didn't retain my interest. Perhaps my neutral attitude toward this book is guided by the fact that I listened to this book as an audiobook. The problem is that the author reads his own book, and his narration has no spark. And as he reads, his voice drifts off toward the end of each sentence, and becomes difficult to hear. I suggest reading the book instead of listening to it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    This is a collection of McCullough's essays mostly about prominent figures and interesting folks. Topics include, but are not limited to: German scientist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt 19th-century scientist and educator Louis Agassiz Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin Theodore Roosevelt and the Marquis de Mores as relates their time in North Dakota in the 1880s Western artist Frederic Remington Construction of the original Panama Railway in the 1850s Engineer John A This is a collection of McCullough's essays mostly about prominent figures and interesting folks. Topics include, but are not limited to: German scientist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt 19th-century scientist and educator Louis Agassiz Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin Theodore Roosevelt and the Marquis de Mores as relates their time in North Dakota in the 1880s Western artist Frederic Remington Construction of the original Panama Railway in the 1850s Engineer John A. Roebling and his son, Washington Roebling, architects of the Brooklyn Bridge Early aviators Charles Lindbergh, Antoine de Saint Exupéry, and Beryl Markham American author Conrad Richter Author and anti-strip mining political activist Harry M. Caudill English zoologist and entomologist Miriam Rothschild American photographer David Plowden Overall, it's a bit of a mixed bag and you never get your teeth into a subject herein quite like you do in other McCullough books. All the same, I love the man's stuff and this isn't bad at all. It would make a great primer for those who want to be exposed to some historical personages who they perhaps have not discovered yet.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rex Fuller

    Haven’t read much by McCullough. Seems just a hair pretentious, like all liberal historians (I majored in history). But never mind all that. This is really good. It’s like having coffee with maybe the most fascinating collection of people you could pick. Just look who is here: Alexander von Humboldt, geographer, naturalist, surveyor, and much more, an “academy unto himself.” When visiting Jefferson in the White House to describe his, the first, explorations of South America, Humboldt flummoxed hi Haven’t read much by McCullough. Seems just a hair pretentious, like all liberal historians (I majored in history). But never mind all that. This is really good. It’s like having coffee with maybe the most fascinating collection of people you could pick. Just look who is here: Alexander von Humboldt, geographer, naturalist, surveyor, and much more, an “academy unto himself.” When visiting Jefferson in the White House to describe his, the first, explorations of South America, Humboldt flummoxed his listeners – but not Jefferson himself – by slipping unknowingly from English to German to French and Spanish. Harriet Beecher Stowe, who Lincoln called “the little woman who made this big war.” She knew her share of tragedy and wrote a great deal more than Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Frederic Remington who put “the West” in our mind’s eye. Teddy Roosevelt in his Medora, North Dakota, incarnation. Louis Agassiz, the Harvard professor who made vast institutional and scientific contributions to zoology, geology, and elsewhere, rooted in his admonition to his students to “look at your fish.” Pioneering pilots Charles and Anne Lindbergh, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Beryl Markham. Harry Caudill, the Kentucky lawyer who made strip mining an issue. Dame Miriam Rothschild (yes, of those Rothschilds) who earned international recognition for her study of fleas, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and collected paintings by schizophrenics. The men who made the Brooklyn Bridge, its designer John A. Roebling, and his son Washington Roebling who erected it. They invented technologies and tools to do it, and put up the longest bridge in the world at the time and, perhaps still, the most beautiful. Conrad Richter, the author who brought the American frontier to the readership of the world. David Plowden, gifted photographer of vanishing industrial and agricultural America. In the introduction, McCullough tells us he found these people much more alike than he imagined before collecting his essays about them into a book. I won’t spoil the fun of discovering just how they were alike or what the significance of that is. However, McCullough also included two speeches at the end, one extolling travel and the other history that drive his main thoughts home.

  4. 4 out of 5

    J.M. Hushour

    Another fine and refreshingly nice-to-read look at history by McCullough, this time a loosely-bound series of vignettes of various historical personages. They're all fascinating and all worthy of reading. My favorites were the sections on Humboldt, Miriam "Microscopes are my marijuana" Rothschild, and the essay on the guy fighting strip-miners in eastern Kentucky (there is Appalachian anti-corporate terrorism, people!). They're all good, though. You'll pick up something new to delve into deeper Another fine and refreshingly nice-to-read look at history by McCullough, this time a loosely-bound series of vignettes of various historical personages. They're all fascinating and all worthy of reading. My favorites were the sections on Humboldt, Miriam "Microscopes are my marijuana" Rothschild, and the essay on the guy fighting strip-miners in eastern Kentucky (there is Appalachian anti-corporate terrorism, people!). They're all good, though. You'll pick up something new to delve into deeper (Conrad Richter, for me) and learn a lot about little windows on our past that goes to show how any schmuck with an idea can make good.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    In McCullough's introduction he explains that to him history is not just what someone has accomplished, it is also how they lived, the things that made them come alive as he certainly does in this book. He takes little known characters, or characters we do know but may not know these particular facts and he brings them alive for the reader. Humboldt, whose journey was overshadowed by Lewis and Clark's but rivaled their in his contributions to the study of glaciers and ice floes, skeletons and so In McCullough's introduction he explains that to him history is not just what someone has accomplished, it is also how they lived, the things that made them come alive as he certainly does in this book. He takes little known characters, or characters we do know but may not know these particular facts and he brings them alive for the reader. Humboldt, whose journey was overshadowed by Lewis and Clark's but rivaled their in his contributions to the study of glaciers and ice floes, skeletons and so many others of the natural sciences. Agassiz, who started the first museum of Zoology and whose wife, after his death, became a founder of Radcliffe College and was their first president. Harriet Beecher Stowe, who was extremely poor until she started writing and than spent more than she earned by buying into various ventures with the hope of improving someones lot in life. Teddy Roosevelt, who fell in love with the Badlands, the start of his natural park and though many found his fascination with the Wild West a little tiresome to the point that when William McKinley died, "Mark Hanna is said to have exclaimed , Now Look! That damn cowboy is president." So much more, the painter Remington, the men who built the Panama Bridge, who death toll would only be rivaled years later when the Panama canal was built. The builders of the Brooklyn Bridge, whose architects had an average age of only 31. So much more and all so interesting. Little tidbits about their marriages, their personal lives, their children and the times in history they were alive. Conrad Richter, who was a personal friend of his is also poignantly portrayed and now I want to read a copy of his novel, "Lady", which is McCullough's favorite. He makes history accessible, he brings it alive.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This is a compilation of previously published essays by McCullough. Many of them are short biographical sketches of various people, some famous, some more obscure. The rest are about a variety of historical events and places. I listened to the audio version which was a pleasure because it is narrated by the author. Each of the chapters is 30 minutes to 1 hour. Chapter 1 - Profile of Alexander von Humboldt, the German naturalist, scientist and explorer who journied through South America in the l This is a compilation of previously published essays by McCullough. Many of them are short biographical sketches of various people, some famous, some more obscure. The rest are about a variety of historical events and places. I listened to the audio version which was a pleasure because it is narrated by the author. Each of the chapters is 30 minutes to 1 hour. Chapter 1 - Profile of Alexander von Humboldt, the German naturalist, scientist and explorer who journied through South America in the late 1700s Chapter 2 - Profile of Louis Agassiz, Swiss naturalist who studied fish and founded the study of glaciology Chapter 3 - Biography of Harriet Beacher Stowe Chapter 4 - Story about the Marquis de Mores, Teddy Roosevelt, and Medora, North Dakota in the late 1800s Chapter 5 - Biography of Frederic Remington - American painter, sculptor and writer who lived in the late 1800's and is known for his paintings of the American West Chapter 6 - The story of the building of the Panama Railroad in the 1850s Chapter 7 - The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge & profile of Washington Roebling Chapter 8 - The discovery in the 1960s of the original architectural drawings of the Brooklyn Bridge Chapter 9 - Pioneers in Early Aviation: Beryl Markham, Charles & Anne Lindburgh, Antoine de Saint-Exupery Chapter 10 - Profile of American author Conrad Richter Chapter 11 - Story about attorney and environmental activist Harry Caudill who brought awareness to strip-mining in Letcher County, Kentucky Chapter 12 - Profile of Miriam Rothchild, a British entomologist and botanist known for her research on fleas Chapter 13 - Profile of American photographer David Plowden who is known for his documentary photos of Small Town America Chapter 14 - Nostalgic reminiscences and history about Washington DC Chapter 15 - Written in 1986, this is a summary of the many changes around the world that had occurred over the last 50 years Chapter 16 - College Commencement address Chapter 17 - A call to historians to research and write more about the history of Congress and past members of Congress

  7. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Less than 300 pages in length, this is a collection of Mr. McCullough’s shorter works — magazine articles, lectures, etc. It paints vivid portraits of a wide variety of people — some famous, others rather obscure, but all fascinating. It was just enough to whet my appetite to learn more about these people. Over the course of reading this book, I jotted down the titles of 22 other books I’d like to read. The section I found most interesting was entitled “Pioneers.” It included an article about th Less than 300 pages in length, this is a collection of Mr. McCullough’s shorter works — magazine articles, lectures, etc. It paints vivid portraits of a wide variety of people — some famous, others rather obscure, but all fascinating. It was just enough to whet my appetite to learn more about these people. Over the course of reading this book, I jotted down the titles of 22 other books I’d like to read. The section I found most interesting was entitled “Pioneers.” It included an article about the building of the Panama Railroad — yes, railroad. As in, before the canal. Forty-seven and a half miles of track, and 170 bridges of more than 12 feet in length. Next was an article about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. I had no idea how interesting pneumatic caissons were! This was followed by a lovely vignette about the man who discovered and helped to preserve the thousands of intricate hand-drawn plans for the Brooklyn Bridge. The section closed with an intriguing look at the aviation pioneers of the 1920s, many of whom were also prolific writers. I’d read and loved many of the works of pioneer aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery, but was inspired to look up some of the others. There’s something for everyone in this collection: science, photography, architecture, history, exploration, ecology. All written in David McCullough’s spare, ringing style, these portraits of people and places will spark the imagination and make you want to read more.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carol Bakker

    This book of biographical sketches seems analogous to the Bonus material on DVDs. I don't know if this is true, but it feels like getting "extra" information that couldn't be included in the hefty tomes he had written. While listening, it was fun to match up the subjects with McCullough books I've already read. He brings life to people who lived long ago; they become familiar and knowable. Books, music, art, historical locations were all referenced. I am tempted to get the print edition from the This book of biographical sketches seems analogous to the Bonus material on DVDs. I don't know if this is true, but it feels like getting "extra" information that couldn't be included in the hefty tomes he had written. While listening, it was fun to match up the subjects with McCullough books I've already read. He brings life to people who lived long ago; they become familiar and knowable. Books, music, art, historical locations were all referenced. I am tempted to get the print edition from the library in order to follow up on these. Alas, my TBR list is already a tall and looming mountain.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dana Stabenow

    A collection of McCullough's short pieces. Some read as if they were research rabbit holes he dived down when he was looking up stuff for one of his books. Some are personal reminiscences (I now want to find and read everything ever written by Conrad Richter). There is a wonderful mini-bio of Harriet Beecher Stowe and another terrific piece on naturalist Miriam Rothschild (she invented safety belts--!). Some of the topics did not stir me to read further than the first page but Chapter Nine, "Lon A collection of McCullough's short pieces. Some read as if they were research rabbit holes he dived down when he was looking up stuff for one of his books. Some are personal reminiscences (I now want to find and read everything ever written by Conrad Richter). There is a wonderful mini-bio of Harriet Beecher Stowe and another terrific piece on naturalist Miriam Rothschild (she invented safety belts--!). Some of the topics did not stir me to read further than the first page but Chapter Nine, "Long-Distance Vision," about pilots who wrote as well as they flew (Charles Lindbergh, Beryl Markham, Antoine de St. Exupery among others) was worth the price of the book all by itself. Worth reading, or even skimming.

  10. 5 out of 5

    KayG

    Very interesting book featuring a number of historical figures I knew almost nothing about. I particularly appreciated the information of the Kentucky strip mining - oh, horrors, what we have done to our world. The information about Washington D.C. was fascinating and different from what one usually hears. The story of how the Brooklyn Bridge was built was both fascinating and horrifying. I’m glad my book club chose this one.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Snapshots of lesser-known Americans, well-researched and -written in McCullough's typical style, but not very engaging for me personally. (Audio version is difficult to understand!) Snapshots of lesser-known Americans, well-researched and -written in McCullough's typical style, but not very engaging for me personally. (Audio version is difficult to understand!)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    McCullough is one of my favorite writers of history, and as an audio addict, I'm so glad this has finally been recorded. I confess McCullough is not my favorite narrator; Edward Herrmann did such a masterful job with McCullough's books, but with Herrmann gone, I'm willing to settle for the author. Listening to him read these essays on famous (and sometimes not so) people in history is like sitting down with a favorite professor and listening to him share his best stories. Companionable, thoughtf McCullough is one of my favorite writers of history, and as an audio addict, I'm so glad this has finally been recorded. I confess McCullough is not my favorite narrator; Edward Herrmann did such a masterful job with McCullough's books, but with Herrmann gone, I'm willing to settle for the author. Listening to him read these essays on famous (and sometimes not so) people in history is like sitting down with a favorite professor and listening to him share his best stories. Companionable, thoughtful, inspirational. What I like best about McCullough is the way he integrates people, landscapes, events, and ideas to tell such accessible stories. He creates a true sense of time and place, you-are-there, I guess. He even talks about how he found his profession. For fans of Simon Winchester, who also reads his own books (The Men Who United the States is an especially good match thematically), and John McPhee, who is another master of profiling personalities to add another dimension to discussions of events and ideas.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    3.5 stars. Had some stories I really liked and others That didn’t grab me. My favorites: Washington on the Potomac, Remington, Cross the Blue Mountain, and the American Adventure of Louis Agassiz.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Saralyn

    McCullough is one of my favorite authors. He's so knowledgeable and drives me to think. McCullough is one of my favorite authors. He's so knowledgeable and drives me to think.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Krister Schwertfuehrer

    I liked it and like David McCullough for sure. It was a little roundabout, though. Some things about little known people from history, some previous texts from speeches or maybe papers about various people. It had some quiet times and other inspiring times for sure.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Okay, confession time: this is the fist McCullough I've read. His books have been recommended to me dozens of times (especially John Adams), but I have always had this aversion to "popular" historians. There are certain popular historians that I just distrust--they have published too much to have done much of the work themselves--or to really dive into the material. McCullough does not appear to be one of those "popular" historians. This book is a collection of essays, first published in 1991. The Okay, confession time: this is the fist McCullough I've read. His books have been recommended to me dozens of times (especially John Adams), but I have always had this aversion to "popular" historians. There are certain popular historians that I just distrust--they have published too much to have done much of the work themselves--or to really dive into the material. McCullough does not appear to be one of those "popular" historians. This book is a collection of essays, first published in 1991. The majority of the essays are brief, biographical sketches of some fascinating people--some of whom I had never heard of, many of whom don't follow into my usual categories of historical interest. But each essay was wonderful. He introduced me to some people I would love to know more about, such as Miriam Rothschild. He told the jaw-dropping story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the railroad line across Panama (before the canal). I loved his writing style--he doesn't get bogged down in details like so many historians, but somehow senses exactly what we the reader need to know in order to understand. Highly recommended. I may even tackle John Adams one of these days.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quinones

    Building the 47-mile Panama Railroad (the world's first intercontinental railroad) cost the lives of probably 6000 men, who succumbed to malaria, or depression from the utter hell it was to build something of that sort through a jungle without surveying equipment, or machines of any kind. David McCullough is taken with these kinds of endeavors in this great book of stories about achievement in history, mostly American history. He also writes about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, another achi Building the 47-mile Panama Railroad (the world's first intercontinental railroad) cost the lives of probably 6000 men, who succumbed to malaria, or depression from the utter hell it was to build something of that sort through a jungle without surveying equipment, or machines of any kind. David McCullough is taken with these kinds of endeavors in this great book of stories about achievement in history, mostly American history. He also writes about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, another achievement with a heavy human toll. One of his best chapters is about the engineer who in the 1970s or so discovered the drawings of each part of the bridge, each tool, each. The book is a series of vignettes of this kind, but McCullough is also aware that, as heroic as these kinds of endeavors were in their time, in our era they can be equally toxic. He writes, for example, about Harry Caudill, from eastern Kentucky, a gadfly against the strip mining that has mangled and taken away so much of that country. This is my kind of history - the kind that finds the stories, the epic adventure and tells it with the drama and personal detail that it needs.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Harry Lane

    Originally published as magazine articles, the vignettes in this book are of mixed quality. Some of them are as good as anything McCullough has written, which is very good indeed. Others not quite up to that high standard.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

    Synopsis: Each chapter of this book focuses on an incredible man or woman who has helped to shape the course of history. The book is composed of short essays about Alexander von Humboldt, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederic Remington, Louis Agassiz, Charles & Anne Lindbergh and others. Each of these persons profiled has done something exceptional. My Review: If you've ever looked at McCullough's 7-800 page books and thought that they looked too overwhelming, then this is the book for you. It gives yo Synopsis: Each chapter of this book focuses on an incredible man or woman who has helped to shape the course of history. The book is composed of short essays about Alexander von Humboldt, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederic Remington, Louis Agassiz, Charles & Anne Lindbergh and others. Each of these persons profiled has done something exceptional. My Review: If you've ever looked at McCullough's 7-800 page books and thought that they looked too overwhelming, then this is the book for you. It gives you a taste of the storytelling abilities of David McCullough and you may find yourself wanting to read one of his longer books to learn more. It seems like these essays are a sort of preview to the longer books about some of these same individuals that McCullough has written since this book was published.

  20. 5 out of 5

    SusanS

    Book Court - Where I'm the Judge and Jury CHARGE (What was the author trying to say?): To show how history is made up of background stories. FACTS: Though I am not a fan of short stories or essays, I found these very compelling. The essays explain how courage played a role in the lives of great figures of the 19th Century and how courage allowed them to accomplish extraordinary things. From Harriet Beecher Stow to Simon Willard, figures known and unknown, we have an opportunity to go behind the pa Book Court - Where I'm the Judge and Jury CHARGE (What was the author trying to say?): To show how history is made up of background stories. FACTS: Though I am not a fan of short stories or essays, I found these very compelling. The essays explain how courage played a role in the lives of great figures of the 19th Century and how courage allowed them to accomplish extraordinary things. From Harriet Beecher Stow to Simon Willard, figures known and unknown, we have an opportunity to go behind the pages of history and get a glimpse into fear, desire, motivations, and moral resolve. There is a common thread running though each of these vignettes. They all led lives of active discovery and their work was truly inspiring. Success was achieved through their attitudes - something worth pondering. VERDICT (Was the author successful?): Guilty, as charged.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    Interesting mix of essays on various Americans and on their great achievements. From the construction of the Panama Railway to the Brooklyn Bridge, to photographing the America that is vanishing. McCullough culled through decades of essays to compile this book. Some were more interesting to me than others- but all of the essays made me think about how far the imagination can take us.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Hiebner

    McCullough wrote about people and events he encountered researching his other great books. Some of these people are personal companions he has met. He points out the influences people have on others and history. I did like his chapter on W.D.C. and the books about it. He said the books you read in the next ten years will be the most important of your life, so Read On!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Prima Seadiva

    More like a middle of the road 2.5 stars. Audiobook, read by the author. He read in a bit of a monotone had an annoying way of mumbling at the end of a sentence that made it hard for me to hear him at times. A better reading would have made this book much more enjoyable to me. Overall some of the "portraits" were very interesting and some were ho-hum to me. In a book that is a compilation of previous essays I usually expect some will appeal more to me than others. In particular I enjoyed the essays More like a middle of the road 2.5 stars. Audiobook, read by the author. He read in a bit of a monotone had an annoying way of mumbling at the end of a sentence that made it hard for me to hear him at times. A better reading would have made this book much more enjoyable to me. Overall some of the "portraits" were very interesting and some were ho-hum to me. In a book that is a compilation of previous essays I usually expect some will appeal more to me than others. In particular I enjoyed the essays on Harriet Beecher Stowe who I knew little about except as the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin Frederic Remington whose paintings helped define our mythology of the Wild West. Charles and Anne Lindbergh, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Beryl Markham the first long flight pilots. Harry Caudill, Kentucky lawyer who brought up strip mining issues and how the mining companies manipulated land owners. I had never heard of him. I think my favorites were on the building of the Panama Canal and Brooklyn Bridge which included the impact on many nameless workers who built and died doing it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Susan Henn

    9/2019 The description of this book is misleading. It is not a cohesive book. It is a collection of articles by David McCullough. Some are wonderful and deal with little known brave people in history; some are boring and have little to do with bravery or people at all. I enjoyed the one about Harriet B. Stowe and the one about Louis Agassiz.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jim Folger

    The review on the cover accurately describes the book as "good stories well told about interesting people and places." It is easy to pick up and read any chapter, since they all stand alone. For me, the book could have ended with chapter 13, since the subsequent chapters dealt more with McCullough's personal remembrances and observations. The review on the cover accurately describes the book as "good stories well told about interesting people and places." It is easy to pick up and read any chapter, since they all stand alone. For me, the book could have ended with chapter 13, since the subsequent chapters dealt more with McCullough's personal remembrances and observations.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Hornberger

    3.5 stars. A little information about a lot of random topics. This is a collection of unrelated essays and articles written by McCullough for various purposes. Some chapters were super engaging and fascinating to me. Others I had a hard time getting interested in. There are definitely some topics I’d like to learn more about.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chrisanne

    The gem of this collection is "Washington on the Potomac." It's a love letter. Simple, affectionate, knowing, and lovely. The stars are for the ones I did read completely. There were some I just skimmed because he had made them into larger books(which I hope to read someday), they were ones I had already "read" from speeches on YouTube, or others that just didn't interest me. The gem of this collection is "Washington on the Potomac." It's a love letter. Simple, affectionate, knowing, and lovely. The stars are for the ones I did read completely. There were some I just skimmed because he had made them into larger books(which I hope to read someday), they were ones I had already "read" from speeches on YouTube, or others that just didn't interest me.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Barry Flanders

    Really liked this collection of articles about some people who made a difference in America. Great colorful details and intriguing history. Uplifting and positive, overall. McCullough adds to our national culture in immeasurable ways.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Oh if you love history you need to read this book!. It is read by David McCulough and is wonderful. I an amazing at all his stories of such incredible people. I loved getting to know their part in our world. Check out his bucket list at the end.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julie Davis

    A really enjoyable set of essays about memorable people which showcases David McCullough's writing as much as it does the subjects. I read every one except the one about strip mining, which I just couldn't take because of the painful topic. A really enjoyable set of essays about memorable people which showcases David McCullough's writing as much as it does the subjects. I read every one except the one about strip mining, which I just couldn't take because of the painful topic.

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