National Book Awards, 1995

Biography of David McCullough, Recipient of the 1996 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters

From the 1995 National Book Awards Program

David McCullough is the author of six widely acclaimed works of history and biography: The Johnstown Flood; The Great Bridge, the story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge; The Path Between the Seas, an epic chronicle of the creation of the Panama Canal; Mornings on Horeseback, the life of young Theodore Roosevelt; Brave Companions, essays on heroic figures past and present; and Truman.

Mr. McCullough was born in Pittsburgh in 1933, and was educated there and at Yale. His reviews and essays have appeared in Audubon, Life, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, and American Heritage. He was President of the Society of American Historians, a winner of The New York Public Library's Literary Lion Award, and holds honorary degrees in both the humanities and engineering. He has taught at the Wesleyan University Writers' Conference and at Cornell.

He is known to millions of television viewers as the host of the award-winning PBS series, "The American Experience," and as the narrator of such acclaimed documentaries as The Civil War and LBJ.

"The Great Bridge," wrote Robert Kirsch in the Los Angeles Times, "is a book so compelling and complete as to be a literary monument." The Path Between the Seas, a best-seller and Book-of-the-Month Club Selection, was winner of the Parkman Prize, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award, the Cornelius Ryan Award (for the best book of the year on international affairs), and the National Book Award for History.

For Mornings on Horseback, Mr. McCullough received a second National Book Award, this time for biography, in addition to the Los Angeles Times Biography Prize. "We have no better historian," wrote John Leonard in his New York Times review.

Ten years in the making and published to universal critical acclaim in 1992, Truman was the first full-scale biography of Harry S. Truman, his life and times. This epic tale gained Mr. McCullough his third National Book Award nomination, and won the Pulitzer Prize.