EP 376: David McCullough on the Pioneers Who Defined America

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough discusses his latest book The Pioneers, how it fulfilled his lifelong dream to write a nonfiction version of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, and why he wants his book to serve as reminder of fundamental American values. He tells the story of the New England minister who played an instrumental role in the creation of the Ohio Settlement, how he fought to outlaw slavery in the territory, and how his son carried on his fight for abolition a few years later. He talks about the wealthy Irish couple who built a paradise on an island in the Ohio River and how they lost everything when they became embroiled in the Aaron Burr treason scandal. McCullough reveals what he’s learned in his 50 plus years of studying history, the importance of hindsight, and why historical figures feel like old friends.

Order The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold. This podcast was sponsored by Ancestry.com.

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