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Brave Companions: Portraits in History

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Brave Companions: Portraits in History.pdf | Language: English

From Alexander von Humboldt to Charles and Anne Lindbergh, these are stories of people of great vision and daring whose achievements continue to inspire us today, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough.

The best-selling author of Truman and John Adams, David McCullough has written profiles of exceptional men and women past and present who have not only shaped the course of history or changed how we see the world but whose stories express much that is timeless about the human condition.

Here are Alexander von Humboldt, whose epic explorations of South America surpassed the Lewis and Clark expedition; Harriet Beecher Stowe, "the little woman who made the big war"; Frederic Remington; the extraordinary Louis Agassiz of Harvard; Charles and Anne Lindbergh and their fellow long-distance pilots Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Beryl Markham; Harry Caudill, the Kentucky lawyer who awakened the nation to the tragedy of Appalachia; and David Plowden, a present-day photographer of vanishing America.

Different as they are from each other, McCullough's subjects have in common a rare vitality and sense of purpose. These are brave companions: to each other, to David McCullough, and to the reader, for with rare storytelling ability McCullough brings us into the times they knew and their very uncommon lives.

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Book details

  • PDF | Unknown pages
  • Simon & Schuster Audio
  • English
  • 6
  • Biographies & Memoirs

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Review Text

  • By Anne Phillips on March 28, 2016

    "Portraits in History" is the subtitle of this collection of essays, biographical studies, and speeches "produced over a period of nearly twenty years." They are "about subjects as dissimilar as Alexander von Humboldt and Conrad Richter" and "written for such different occasions as college commencement ... and the ceremonies celebrating the bicentennial of the United States Congress." The seventeen chapters are loosely grouped into five sections. Each section, each chapter, each entry varies in length and approach, some are in-depth studies, some are dialogues, interviews or sketches, some of very personal recollections or even general bemoaning of lack of general knowledge - not being familiar with Antietam/Sharpsburg but having walked the Vietnam Memorial. The few times McCullough slips, it is jarring - maybe he does it on purpose? For example, when describing Washington, the long walks in the morning, he talks about the climate - "I like the climate, the slow shift of the seasons here. ...Summers are murder ..." I kept notes of all the books I have to rediscover or locate - enough to keep me very busy for a while. The subjects of McCullough's portraits come to life as "The Unexpected Mrs. Stowe," author of Uncle Tom's Cabin did - and I am now wondering about the relationship with her husband's first wife. And then the history of founder of Radcliffe or the plans of the Brooklyn Bridge ... It is a wonderful collection.

  • By LastRanger on January 18, 2018

    Strange as it may seem this is the first book I've read by historian David McCullough, and I thought his short works would be a good introduction to his writing style. "Brave Companions" is a collection of essays written over the years for magazine articles or as lectures, so there is no overlaying connection or theme other than that they're all of historical subjects. Each essay was fascinating on its own covering a wide range of subjects from game changing engineering projects, historical research, important places and times. And, of course, people, all kinds of people--some out of the past while others were more contemporary to our times. The author did a lot of traveling and interviewing for these essays and his efforts and writing skills are apparent in each piece. Like all compilations of short works some essays are more interesting than others; depending on the readers personal tastes. Since I like reading about history, whatever the subject, I enjoyed all of the pieces and got exactly what I wanted from this book. I found McCullough's writing to be well researched, interesting and informative, it held my interest from cover to cover. I was already acquainted with some of his subjects like Theodore Roosevelt and Alexander Von Humboldt while others, like Harriet Beecher Stowe (author: "Uncle Tom's Cabin"), were less familiar. In each case the subject was fascinating, and sometimes disturbing, but I often came away with a new appreciation for the places, events and people that make up our human history. In "Brave Companions" you will learn about building a famous bridge from scratch, the early days of flying, the dangers of Caisson's Disease and a little known, Pulitzer Prize winning author of numerous novels. All in all this is a brilliant look at the many facets of World History and the people and places that make the study of the past memorable. There's more, a lot more, in this wonderful collection of historical sketches, but read it for yourself, see if you agree. I had no technical or downloading problems with this Kindle edition.Last Ranger

  • By Ron fr NC on February 29, 2016

    If you want to learn something about lesser known historical figures this is the book for you. As one would expect from McCullough the writing is excellent. I guarantee it will induce you to learn more about the people he profiles, e.g., Beryl Markham, a woman who had the guts and courage of a junkyard dog. Read her fantastic memoir, West with the Night, certainly one of the best books I have ever read. McCullough also includes an speech which he gave to a college graduating class that should be required reading for every literate person. Highly recommended.


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