David McCullough is hard at work on his next book

Historians in the News
tags: David McCullough

... Now 83, he’s deep into his next book, “The Pioneers.” Scheduled to be published in 2019, it chronicles the early settlement of what was known as “the Old Northwest” – a territory that included the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

A 1787 Congressional ordinance replaced the claims of the original states to western lands, and McCullough said the first waves of settlers were from Massachusetts – among them, Revolutionary War veterans and their families.

“This was their second chance – a new country, in effect,” he said. “There was nothing there but bears and panthers and rattlesnakes and Indians. If you go there now, it looks like New England.”

He does his research and writing in a separate study behind the house. As he did in years past on Martha’s Vineyard and in the Back Bay, he composes first drafts on his beloved 1940 Royal manual typewriter, which he bought for $50 in the early 1960s.

“If I quit using it, it would quit writing my books,” he quipped. ...

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