Do yourself a favor. Read this book!
David McCullough is one of the most graceful and thorough writers of this era. When he looks back on earlier times, he brings such a sense of context and perspective to his subjects that it's like opening a book page and having a light turn on. He doesn't fall into the trap of "presentism," but his deft descriptions of people and places from the past tell a great deal about progress, life and growth in the 21 century. I read a lot, for pleasure and for background as a university instructor in media history. In Brave Companions he brings to life people I should have known about but didn't, and people I thought I knew about, but now - thanks to him - do. If you value knowledge, you will love this book.