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Best of the National Book Festival: David McCullough, 2019

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Welcome to our ongoing celebration of the Library of Congress National Book Festival. Each weekday, we will feature a video presentation from among the thousands of authors who have appeared at the National Book Festival and as part of our new year-long series, National Book Festival Presents. Mondays will feature topical nonfiction; Tuesday: poetry or literary fiction; Wednesday: history, biography, memoir; Thursday: popular fiction; and Friday: authors who write for children and teens. Please enjoy, and make sure to explore our full National Book Festival video collection!

There is probably no American historian more beloved and respected than David McCullough, who spoke with Marie Arana, literary director of the Library of Congress, on the Main Stage of the 2019 National Book Festival.

McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize (for “Truman” and “John Adams”) and the National Book Award (for “The Path Between the Seas” and “Mornings on Horseback”). On stage at the festival, the Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient told Arana that there is one common thread in all his books: “[They] are all about Americans who have set out to accomplish something worthy. They knew it was going to be difficult … and they did not give up.” Of those Americans who did not give up, McCullough focused most recently on “The Pioneers: The Heroic Stories of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West.”