From the chronicler of American history (interview, the NYT 1992)
People often ask me if I’m working on a book. That’s not how I feel. I feel like I work in a book. It’s like putting myself under a spell. And this spell, if you will, is so real to me that if I have to leave my work for a few days, I have to work myself back into the spell when I come back.
It’s almost like hypnosis. … Writing history or biography, you must remember that nothing was ever on a track. Things could have gone any way at any point. As soon as you say ‘was,’ it seems to fix an event in the past. But nobody ever lived in the past, only in the present. … They were just as alive and full of ambition, fear, hope, all the emotions of life. And just like us, they didn’t know how it would all turn out.
Mr. McCullough was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, He won the National Book Award twice and, in 2006, McCullough became a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian award.
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