The American Spirit NPR coverage of The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand for by David McCullough. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
NPR logo The American Spirit

The American Spirit

Who We Are and What We Stand for

by David McCullough

Hardcover, 176 pages, Simon & Schuster, List Price: $25 |

purchase

Buy Featured Book

Title
The American Spirit
Subtitle
Who We Are and What We Stand for
Author
David McCullough

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

NPR Summary

Collects some of the author's speeches delivered throughout the course of his career that celebrate distinctly American principles and characteristics.

Read an excerpt of this book

Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: The American Spirit

The American Spirit


Images

Simon Willard's Clock

JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS


Washington, D.C.

1989

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Senator Dole, Members of the 101st Congress, ladies and gentlemen. For a private citizen to be asked to speak before Congress is a rare and very high honor and I thank you.

Simon Willard was never a Member of Congress in the usual sense. Simon Willard of Roxbury, Massachusetts, was a clockmaker early in the nineteenth century and he did it all by hand and by eye.

"In cutting his wheel teeth," reads an old account, "he did not mark out the spaces on the blank [brass] wheel and cut the teeth to measure, but he cut, rounded up and finished the teeth as he went along, using his eye only in spacing, and always came out even. . . .