‘1776’ Goes Illustrated

By Carmen Comment

AP’s Hillel Italie reports on Simon & Schuster‘s fall plans for a new, illustrated edition of David McCullough‘s bestselling history tome 1776. Priced at $65, 1776: THE ILLUSTRATED EDITION will feature an abridged text of McCullough’s 2005 best seller and numerous pictures and documents, including paintings by Gilbert Stuart and John Trumbull and replicas of maps and letters and an early draft of the Declaration of Independence.

“I hope it can mark a beginning of more of this kind of integration of art and history,” McCullough told the AP, speaking from a hotel in St. Louis, where he was in the midst of a Midwestern lecture tour. “I’ve tried, as much as I can, to encourage teachers to teach history this way – there’s nothing like the experience of holding a real letter or diary in your hands from a distant time. It’s the closest you can get to being in touch, having a tactile connection with those vanished people.”

The project was first suggested by Simon & Schuster, says McCullough, who embraced what he calls a “a new way to unfold what was the most important year and important war in our history.” Simon & Schuster’s publisher and executive vice president, David Rosenthal, says that he liked the idea of “1776” as a “coffee table reference and browsing book” that would expand the appeal for a work of history that already has sold more than 2 million copies. THE ILLUSTRATED EDITION has an announced first printing of 250,000.