You may be familiar with David McCullough because of his popular book 1776. This is a man that makes history come alive. Of his books I have read, my favorite is John Adams. Because of the amazing amount of research and care that McCullough puts into his books, I learned so much about this great man. I look up to John Adams so much, and admire his sacrifices for our country. I love the relationship that he and his wife, Abigail, had. And I owe this admiration and respect to David McCullough's work.
I never knew much about the Panama Canal, but I learned because of the research that McCullough did. He makes the people leap off the page and their circumstances unforgettable. His real skill is in showing the good and the bad, the truth unvarnished. He does this in such a way that I come away respecting the history he has displayed through his books.
McCullough's books are filled with information that is left out of brief histories and textbooks. His books are generally big, with lots of endnotes (very satisfactory for nerds like me) and details. These books are an investment of time and thought. But they are so worth it.