Summary of The American Spirit

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The American Spirit book summary

Editorial Rating



  • Eloquent
  • Insider's Take
  • Inspiring


Any book by historian David McCullough – presidential biographer, twice a National Book Award winner and the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes – is a treat. This compendium presents some of McCullough’s most memorable speeches from 1989 to 2016. The author delivered lectures in conjunction with the White House Bicentennial, the Bicentennial for the US Congress, and other special occasions. He also lectured frequently at various colleges. In his speeches, McCullough covers revealing historical incidents and dramatic turning points in US history. getAbstract recommends this lively, insightful, inspirational collection to those curious about the traditional nature of the United States and those who savor rich historical information.

About the Author

Acclaimed historian David McCullough won Pulitzer Prizes for Truman and for John Adams and National Book Awards for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback.


Learning from History

United States history enlarges and enriches modern life by explaining core American values and principles as seen in the way people live and what they cherish. The country’s remarkable history is a valuable national resource.

Small episodes can illuminate big themes. For instance, in 1910, Congressman George Norris of Nebraska led a successful crusade to strip power away from “Uncle Joe” Cannon of Illinois, then the much-feared Speaker of the House of Representatives. At the time, the US was long overdue for reform and innovation – but Uncle Joe wasn’t. The progressive Norris thought otherwise. He and his congressional insurgents tethered Cannon’s power and modernized the US Congress.

During his illustrious career as an historian and lecturer, author David McCullough has visited every American state. While he found problems and unsettling issues, he concludes – as reflected in his speeches – that the United States is a country of good-hearted people who believe in tolerance and truth. McCullough’s speeches offer these selected insights:

The Founding Fathers

The Founding Fathers of America were extraordinary people. Their creation...

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