As a popularizer of American history, David McCullough has penned prize-winning biographies of Harry Truman and John Adams. In 2017 he published The American Spirit, a collection of his speeches given in the White House, Congress, and at college commencements.
In this volume, McCullough unsurprisingly advocates for a wider familiarity with history, preaching its value to a society where significant numbers think Judge Judy is a member of the Supreme Court. History, he explains, emphasizes the importance of others in shaping individual lives. McCullough also decries the degradation of the English language, the commercialization of American culture, and the devaluing of the humanities in education.
The two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner wraps his arguments in a call for increased reading of great literature by the general public and the presence of enthusiastic teachers who prefer localized history to dry, political textbooks.