The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For

The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For

by David McCullough
The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For

The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For

by David McCullough


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A New York Times Bestseller

A timely collection of speeches by David McCullough, the most honored historian in the United States—winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many others—that reminds us of fundamental American principles.

“Insightful and inspirational, The American Spirit summons a vexed and divided nation to remember—and cherish—our unifying ideas and ideals” (Richmond Times-Dispatch). Over the course of his distinguished career, McCullough has spoken before Congress, the White House, colleges and universities, historical societies, and other esteemed institutions. Now, at a time of self-reflection in America following the bitter 2016 election campaign that has left the country divided, McCullough has collected some of his most important speeches in a brief volume that celebrates the important principles and characteristics that are particularly American.

The American Spirit is as inspirational as it is brilliant, as simple as it is sophisticated” (Buffalo News). McCullough reminds us of the core American values that define us, regardless of which region we live in, which political party we identify with, or our ethnic background. This is a book about America for all Americans that reminds us who we are and helps to guide us as we find our way forward.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501174193
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 04/10/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 106,937
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

David McCullough (1933–2022) twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. His other acclaimed books include The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, Brave Companions, 1776, The Greater Journey, The American Spirit, The Wright Brothers, and The Pioneers. He was the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. Visit


West Tisbury, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

July 7, 1933

Place of Birth:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


B.A., Yale University, 1955

Read an Excerpt

The American Spirit

David McCullough addressing Congress

Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

Simon Willard's Clock 1

Civilization and the City 15

The Spirit of Jefferson 25

Which Way Forward 33

The Animating Spirit 43

The Lessons of History 53

What's Essential Is Invisible 59

The First to Reside Here 77

History Lost and Found 83

The Bulwark of Freedom 95

Knowing Who We Are 105

The Ties That Bind 121

The Love of Learning 141

The Summons to Serve 149

A Building Like Not Other 157

Acknowledgments 172

Photo Credits 173

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