By the time he published his biography of John Adams in 2001 he was becoming a household name. Many Americans admired his writing and recognized his majestic voice. He narrated some notable TV programs over the years. Do you remember the Ken Burns PBS series “The Civil War” in 1990? McCullough’s distinctive voice enhanced that series with requisite gravity.
In 2002 “John Adams” had come out in paperback and was about to win another Pulitzer. I got the opportunity to interview McCullough on my radio show. I called him at his hotel in Washington, D.C. When he answered the phone, I became almost speechless as I was in awe. OMG, that voice was the closest thing to the voice of God.
That day he was talkative and warm and appreciative that I had read his book and was so engaged with the material. We had a lively chat. I finally had to end the call because David was expected at the White House. He was in town to meet with President George W. Bush.
The thing which really struck me was that he was very down to earth. He treated me with respect. I admired him for that. I assumed I would never get another chance to interview him. He had become so famous.
Then in 2015 he published another biography. “The Wright Brothers” became another best-seller and fortune was smiling upon me because the subject matter, our beloved local geniuses who invented powered flight, made it so that the author was coming to Dayton for an event.
I scored another interview. His voice had gotten softer. He was as sharp as ever. It was such a gift and a privilege to have those conversations with him. You can listen to that final interview I did with David McCullough this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on WYSO (91.3FM).
Vick Mickunas of Yellow Springs interviews authors every Saturday at 7 a.m. and on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on WYSO-FM (91.3). For more information, visit www.wyso.org/programs/book-nook. Contact him at email@example.com.