Monday, December 22, 2008

Making History


I just finished watching John Adams, the HBO series based on the book by David McCullough. The series is well-produced and features strong performances. I would recommend it even to those who are not particularly interested in history. McCullough has said that “history is the story of people,” and the series tells the story of very human people who were extraordinary despite their humanity.

Included with the episodes was a documentary about author McCullough. Although I had read two of his books—John Adams and Truman, I knew little about the man. He has had an interesting life. Although he considers himself a writer rather than a historian, he has an ability to understand not only the people in his stories, but the context in which they lived. This is certainly due to the fact that he is also a painter, an amateur musician, a world traveler, and an avid reader. He spent several years working on PBS television series like The Smithsonian. Of course, he has some idiosyncrasies; for example, he continues to compose all of his books on an old manual typewriter!

I suppose what impressed me the most was that, at the age of 75, he has a list of at least 27 more books he would like to write. After seven and half decades of life, he still has goals he wants to achieve. McCullough is a great example of a lifelong learner and a source of great encouragement to a guy who is getting ready to move into a new phase of his life and ministry.

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