Feldman was joined later in a wide-ranging panel discussion with McCullough, David Wrobel, Christina Romer, Kennedy and H.W. Brands. The panel discussed and took questions about the transformations of the 1930s and 1940s in America.
McCullough said he remains fascinated with discoveries in American history.
“We hardly know the half of it,” he said.
He admitted he approaches books like he does a journey.
“I have never undertaken a book about a subject I knew a lot about,” he said. “I look at a book as a kind of journey.”
Wrobel, who began daylong Teach-In with a discussion on John Steinbeck’s writing, said the Depression forced intellectuals and artists to rediscover the suffering of ordinary people. He said that doesn’t seem to be happening in more modern times.
All of the panelists discussed their favorite authors and extraordinary presidents, like Roosevelt, who presided during periods of significant changes.
“The person who seems right for the job isn’t and the person who doesn’t seem right is,” McCullough said. “We have to remember exceptional presidents are the exception and they don’t happen very often.”
Transcript Staff Writer Caitlin Schudalla contributed to this report.