Douglas Brinkley
Douglas Brinkley
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Douglas Brinkley
Douglas Brinkley (born December 14, 1960) is an American author, professor of history at Rice University and a fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute

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Douglas Brinkley Douglas Brinkley in April 2007 Born (1960-12-14) December 14, 1960 (age 56)
Atlanta, Georgia Occupation Historian Nationality American Genre Nonfiction

Douglas Brinkley (born December 14, 1960) is an American author, professor of history at Rice University and a fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. Brinkley is the history commentator for CNN News and a contributing editor to the magazines Vanity Fair and American Heritage. A public spokesperson on conservation issues, Brinkley serves as an editor at Audubon Magazine. He joined the faculty of Rice University as a professor of history in 2007.

  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Education
  • 3 Life and career
    • 3.1 Congressional hearing
  • 4 Critical reception
  • 5 Awards and honors
  • 6 Personal life
  • 7 Works
    • 7.1 Original works
    • 7.2 As editor
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links

Early life

Brinkley was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1960, but raised in Perrysburg, Ohio. His parents were high school teachers.


Brinkley was educated at Perrysburg High School, a public high school in his hometown of Perrysburg, Ohio, followed by Ohio State University, from which he earned a B.A. (1982), and Georgetown University, earning an M.A. (1983) and Ph.D. (1989) in U.S. diplomatic history. He has been on the faculty of Hofstra University, the University of New Orleans, Tulane University, and Rice University. He received an honorary doctorate for his contributions to American letters from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Life and career

During the early 1990s, Brinkley taught American Arts and Politics for Hofstra aboard the Majic Bus, a roving transcontinental classroom, from which emerged the book The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey (1993). In 1993, he left Hofstra to teach at the University of New Orleans, where he taught the class again using two natural-gas fueled buses. According to the Associated Press, "...if you can't tour the United States yourself, the next best thing is to go along with Douglas Brinkley aboard The Majic Bus."

Brinkley worked closely with his mentor, historian Stephen E. Ambrose, then director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans. Ambrose chose Brinkley to become director of the Eisenhower Center, a post he held for five years before moving to Tulane University.

Brinkley's first book was Jean Monnet: The Path to European Unity (1992). The publication of Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years (1992) brought Brinkley popular acclaim. He then co-edited a monograph series with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and William vanden Heuvel in the 1990s. Brinkley also edited a volume on Dean Acheson and the Making of US Foreign Policy with Paul H. Nitze (1993). In 1999, he published The Unfinished Presidency about Jimmy Carter's active and influential post-presidency.

Brinkley is the literary executor for his late friend, the journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson. He is also the editor of a three-volume collection of Thompson's letters. Brinkley is also the authorized biographer for Beat generation author Jack Kerouac, having edited Kerouac's diaries as Windblown World (2004).

He has also written profiles of popular writers Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, and Ken Kesey for Rolling Stone magazine. In 2009, Brinkley interviewed Bob Dylan in Paris and Amsterdam for a Rolling Stone cover story.

In 2004, Brinkley released Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War, about U.S. Senator John Kerry's military service and anti-war activism during the Vietnam War. The 2004 documentary movie, Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry is loosely based on Brinkley's book. Brinkley also wrote the Atlantic Monthly cover story of December 2003 on Kerry.

Brinkley's book The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast is a record of the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast. The book won the 2007 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and was a Los Angeles Times book prize finalist. He also served as the primary historian for Spike Lee's documentary about Hurricane Katrina, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. Critic Nancy Franklin in The New Yorker noted that Brinkley made up a "large part" of the film's "conscience."

FX Productions has announced that they will develop The Great Deluge for the second season of the network’s award-winning American Crime Story series, to air in 2017. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the series will contain thirteen to fifteen episodes.

Brinkley's biography of Walter Cronkite, Cronkite was published in 2012. It was also selected as a Washington Post Book of the Year.

Brinkley and Johnny Depp were nominated for a Grammy for their co-authoring of the liner notes to the documentary: Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. He also co-edited with Johnny Depp the long lost novel of Woody Guthrie titled House of Earth.

Congressional hearing

On November 18, 2011, during his testimony before a Congressional hearing on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Brinkley had a heated exchange with Rep. Don Young. Young, who had not been present during Brinkley's testimony, nonetheless characterized it as "garbage" and addressed Brinkley as "Dr. Rice." In response, Brinkley stated, "It's Dr. Brinkley. Rice is a university. I know you went to Yuba College and couldn't graduate." Brinkley also noted that Young's comments were made even though Young had not been present during his testimony.

Brinkley continued to argue with Young throughout the hearing until the committee chairman threatened to have Brinkley removed.

Critical reception

Stephen Ambrose, Brinkley's mentor at the University of New Orleans, called Brinkley "the best of the new generation of American historians." Brinkley and Ambrose had co-authored three books. Patrick Reardon of the Chicago Tribune called Brinkley America's "new past master." In addition, during the 2013 inauguration coverage, CNN referred to him as "a man who knows more about the presidency than just about any human being alive." In contrast, in 2006, historian Wilfred McClay in the New York Sun appraised Brinkley's scholarship as one that has failed to "put forward a single memorable idea, a single original analysis, or a single lapidary phrase." Similarly, author Bill Bryson characterized Brinkley as "a minor American academic and sometime critic whose powers of observation and generosity of spirit would fit comfortably into a proton and still leave room for an echo".

Awards and honors
  • In 2017, Brinkley won a Grammy Award Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for co-producing Presidential Suite: Eight Variations on Freedom by the Ted Nash Big Band.
  • Cronkite (2012), a biography of Walter Cronkite, received the Ann M. Sperber Biography Award for 2013.
  • 'Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America" (2009) received the National Outdoor Book Award in the History/Biography category 2009.
  • Driven Patriot (1992), a biography of James Forrestal, received the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Naval History Prize.
  • Brinkley received an honorary doctorate from Hofstra University at commencement in May 2012.
  • In 2004, Brinkley was given the Humanist of the Year award by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.
  • In 1995 he was awarded the Stuart L. Bernath Lecture Prize from the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations (Ceremony: Chicago, Illinois, April 1996).
Personal life

Brinkley lives in Austin, Texas. He and his wife Anne have three children, Johnny, Benton, and Cassady. He is a member of the Century Association, the Council on Foreign Relations and Society of American Historians.

Works Original works
  • Driven Patriot: The Life and Times of James Forrestal (1992). With Townsend Hoopes
  • Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, 1953-71 (1992)
  • The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey (1993) It describes his experiences taking groups of college students on tours of historic sites around the U.S. and at least partly inspired the C-SPAN Bus program
  • Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy since 1938 (1997), New York: Penguin Books ISBN 0-14-026831-6 with Stephen Ambrose
  • FDR and the Creation of the U.N. (1997) With Townsend Hoopes
  • American Heritage History of the United States (1998)
  • The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey Beyond the White House (1999)
  • Witness to America (1999) With Stephen Ambrose, ISBN 9780062716118; 2010: ISBN 0061990280
  • Rosa Parks (2000)
  • The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation: From the Louisiana Purchase to Today (2002) With Stephen Ambrose, ISBN 0792269136
  • Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and A Century of Progress, 1903-2003 (2003)
  • Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War (2004)
  • Voices of Valor : D-Day, June 6, 1944 (2004) With Ronald J. Drez
  • The World War II Memorial: A Grateful Nation Remembers (2004)
  • The Boys of Pointe du Hoc: Ronald Reagan, D-Day, and the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion (2005)
  • Parish Priest: Father Michael McGivney and American Catholicism (2006) with Julie M. Fenster
  • The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2006)
  • Gerald R. Ford (2007)
  • The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America (2009)
  • The Quiet World: Saving Alaska's Wilderness Kingdom, 1879-1960 (2011)
  • The Sage of Black Rock (2012)
  • Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America (2016)
  • Silent Spring Revolution: John F. Kennedy, Rachel Carson, Stewart Udall, and the Environmental Movement, 1961-1964 (Release To Be Determined)
As editor
  • The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967 (1997), ed. with Hunter S. Thompson
  • Fear and Loathing in America: the Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, 1968-1976 (2000) ed. with Hunter S. Thompson
  • Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac, 1947-1954 (2004) ed.
  • The Reagan Diaries (2007) ed.
  • Jack Kerouac Road Novels 1957-1960 (2007) ed.
  • The Nixon Tapes (2014), ed. with Luke A. Nichter
  • The Nixon Tapes: 1973 (2015), ed. with Luke A. Nichter
  1. ^ Brinkley's page @ HarperCollins Publishers
  2. ^ Brinkley's author page and articles at American Heritage.
  3. ^ "Author, historian Douglas Brinkley to join Rice faculty" - By Franz Brotzen - Rice University - 17 May 2007
  4. ^ Tahree Lane (7 March 2009). "Historian Douglas Brinkley will speak at the Stranahan Theater". Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  5. ^ Biography of Douglas Brinkley at the site for The Great Deluge (2006) Archived November 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Joy Stilley (23 May 1993). "Trip results in more than travel book". Bowling Green Daily News. Retrieved 14 Feb 2011. 
  7. ^ Rolling Stone Profile of Kurt Vonnegut
  8. ^ Bob Dylan's America by Douglas Brinkley, Rolling Stone, Issue 1078, May 14, 2009.
  9. ^ "Going Upriver: Synopsis". Archived from the original on 1 October 2004. Retrieved 14 Feb 2011. 
  10. ^ Douglas Brinkley (December 2003). "Tour Of Duty". The Atlantic. 
  11. ^ Nancy Franklin, "Unnatural Disasters," The New Yorker, vol. 86, no. 25 (August 30, 2010), pp. 82-83.
  12. ^ "FX's 'American Crime Story': Season 2 Plan Revealed (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. January 6, 2016. 
  13. ^ Matthews, Chris (July 6, 2012). "And That’s the Way It Was". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Johnny Depp Launches His Own Book Imprint". Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  15. ^ Vega, Suzanne (January 26, 2013). "Suzanne Vega on House of Earth by Woody Guthrie". Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Historian gets into it with Don Young during Congressional hearing". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. November 19, 2011. Archived from the original on June 1, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Douglas Brinkley and Rep. Don Young in committee hearing smackdown". The Washington Post. November 18, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Jobs and Drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge" video transcript, C-Span Video Library, congressional hearing, November 18, 2011, 1 hour 9 minutes.
  19. ^ Brinkley @ New York State Writers Institute - University at Albany, SUNY - Archived June 20, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ Douglas Brinkley curriculum vita Archived March 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ Patrick T. Reardon, "The New Past Master," Chicago Tribune, September 27, 2001
  22. ^ CNN "Piers Morgan", January 20, 2013
  23. ^ Wilfred M. McClay, "A Flood of Words on Katrina," The New York Sun, May 15, 2006, accessed June 25, 2012.
  24. ^ Bryson, Bill (8 October 2015). The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island (First ed.). London: Doubleday. pp. 170–171. ISBN 9780857522344. 
  25. ^ "Historian Brinkley wins Grammy". February 13, 2017. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  26. ^ Milne, Andrew (November 20, 2013). "Douglas Brinkley Wins the Sperber Award for "Cronkite"". Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Winners of the 2009 National Outdoor Book Awards". ‘”National Outdoor Book Awards”. Retrieved April 8, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Hofstra University Announces 2012 Spring Commencement Activities and Speakers Sunday, May 20". May 11, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  29. ^ Milne, Andrew (February 20, 2017). "LEH Humanities Award Recipients, 1985–2015" (PDF). Retrieved Feb 20, 2017. 
  30. ^ Milne, Andrew (February 20, 2017). "The Stuart L. Berth Lecture Prize". Retrieved Feb 20, 2017. 
  31. ^ Brinkley, Douglas. "The Sage of Black Rock." AMERICAN HERITAGE. American Heritage, 2012. Web. 11 June 2017. <>.
  32. ^ Brinkley, Douglas (March 15, 2016). "Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America". Retrieved December 2, 2016. 
  33. ^ "Interview with Douglas Brinkley". Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  34. ^ Brinkley, Douglas (May–June 2012). "Rachel Carson and JFK, an Environmental Tag Team". Audubon. Retrieved April 26, 2017. CS1 maint: Date format (link)
  35. ^ Gaddis, John Lewis. "Book Review: 'The Nixon Tapes' by Douglas Brinkley and Luke A. Nichter." The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2014.
  36. ^ Frankel, Max. "‘The Nixon Tapes: 1973,’ Edited by Douglas Brinkley and Luke A. Nichter." The New York Times, Sunday Book Review, Oct. 19, 2015.
External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to Douglas Brinkley.
  • Douglas Brinkley faculty page at Rice University
  • Douglas Brinkley author page at HarperCollins
  • Douglas Brinkley author page and articles at American Heritage.
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
    • Booknotes interview with Brinkley on The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey, 1993
    • C-SPAN In Depth interview with Brinkley, 2003
Authority control
  • WorldCat Identities
  • VIAF: 9902024
  • LCCN: n90647486
  • ISNI: 0000 0001 0868 8127
  • GND: 130575224
  • SUDOC: 031023703
  • BNF: cb12232179f (data)

The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America
The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America
From New York Times bestselling historian Douglas Brinkley comes a sweeping historical narrative and eye-opening look at the pioneering environmental policies of President Theodore Roosevelt, avid bird-watcher, naturalist, and the founding father of America’s conservation movement.In this groundbreaking epic biography, Douglas Brinkley draws on never-before-published materials to examine the life and achievements of our “naturalist president.” By setting aside more than 230 million acres of wild America for posterity between 1901 and 1909, Theodore Roosevelt made conservation a universal endeavor. This crusade for the American wilderness was perhaps the greatest U.S. presidential initiative between the Civil War and World War I. Roosevelt’s most important legacies led to the creation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and passage of the Antiquities Act in 1906. His executive orders saved such treasures as Devils Tower, the Grand Canyon, and the Petrified Forest.

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Rightful Heritage: The Renewal of America
Rightful Heritage: The Renewal of America
The acclaimed, award-winning historian—“America’s new past master” (Chicago Tribune)—examines the environmental legacy of FDR and the New Deal.Douglas Brinkley’s The Wilderness Warrior celebrated Theodore Roosevelt’s spirit of outdoor exploration and bold vision to protect 234 million acres of wild America. Now, in Rightful Heritage, Brinkley turns his attention to the other indefatigable environmental leader—Teddy’s distant cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, chronicling his essential yet under-sung legacy as the founder of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and premier protector of America’s public lands. FDR built from scratch dozens of State Park systems and scenic roadways. Pristine landscapes such as the Great Smokies, the Everglades, Joshua Tree, the Olympics, Big Bend, Channel Islands, Mammoth Cave, and the slickrock wilderness of Utah were forever saved by his leadership.Brinkley traces FDR’s love for the natural world from his youth exploring the Hudson River Valley and bird watching. As America’s president from 1933 to 1945, Roosevelt—consummate political strategist—established hundreds of federal migratory bird refuges and spearheaded the modern endangered species movement. He brilliantly positioned his conservation goals as economic policy to combat the severe unemployment of the Great Depression. During its nine-year existence, the CCC put nearly three million young men to work on conservation projects—including building trails in the national parks, pollution control, land restoration to combat the Dust Bowl, and planting over two billion trees.Rightful Heritage is an epic chronicle that is both an irresistible portrait of FDR’s unrivaled passion and drive, and an indispensable analysis that skillfully illuminates the tension between business and nature—exploiting our natural resources and conserving them. Within the narrative are brilliant capsule biographies of such environmental warriors as Eleanor Roosevelt, Harold Ickes, and Rosalie Edge. Rightful Heritage is essential reading for everyone seeking to preserve our treasured landscapes as an American birthright.

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The Boys of Pointe du Hoc: Ronald Reagan, D-Day, and the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion
The Boys of Pointe du Hoc: Ronald Reagan, D-Day, and the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion
The 100-foot promontory known as Pointe du Hoc -- where six big German guns were ensconced -- was the number one target of the heavy U.S. and British warships poised in the English Channel on D-Day morning. Facing arguably the toughest task to befall U.S. forces during the war, the brave men of the Army 2nd Ranger Battalion boldly took control of the fortified cliff and set in motion the liberation of Europe.Based upon recently released documents, here is the first in-depth, anecdotal remembrance of these fearless Army Rangers. Acclaimed author and historian Douglas Brinkley deftly moves between events four decades apart to tell two riveting stories: the making of Ronald Reagan's historic 1984 speeches about the storming of the Normandy coast and the actual heroic event that inspired them and helped to end the Second World War.

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The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast
The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast
In the span of five violent hours on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed major Gulf Coast cities and flattened 150 miles of coastline. But it was only the first stage of a shocking triple tragedy. On the heels of one of the three strongest hurricanes ever to make landfall in the United States came the storm-surge flooding, which submerged a half-million homes—followed by the human tragedy of government mismanagement, which proved as cruel as the natural disaster itself. In The Great Deluge, bestselling author Douglas Brinkley finds the true heroes of this unparalleled catastrophe, and lets the survivors tell their own stories, masterly allowing them to record the nightmare that was Katrina.

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American Heritage History of the United States
American Heritage History of the United States
Douglas Brinkley takes us on the incredible journey of the United States - a nation formed from a vast countryside on whose fringes a few small colonies made a bold cast at freedom, then burgeoned into an expanding democracy, and ultimately flourished as a world power. From the first primitive maps outlining a New World to the faded daguerreotypes of young men in uniforms standing beside Confederate flags; to pictures of hopeful immigrant families arriving at Ellis Island; to the stirring photographs of civil rights marchers; to the terrible images of the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing - the history of America offers a stunning album of people and events.

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Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938
Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938
Since it first appeared in 1971, Rise to Globalism has sold hundreds of thousands of copies. The ninth edition of this classic survey, now updated through the administration of George W. Bush, offers a concise and informative overview of the evolution of American foreign policy from 1938 to the present, focusing on such pivotal events as World War II, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, and 9/11. Examining everything from the Iran-Contra scandal to the rise of international terrorism, the authors analyze-in light of the enormous global power of the United States-how American economic aggressiveness, racism, and fear of Communism have shaped the nation's evolving foreign policy.

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Rosa Parks: A Life
Rosa Parks: A Life
Fifty years after she made history by refusing to give up her seat on a bus, Rosa Parks at last gets the major biography she deserves. The eminent historian Douglas Brinkley follows this thoughtful and devout woman from her childhood in Jim Crow Alabama through her early involvement in the NAACP to her epochal moment of courage and her afterlife as a beloved (and resented) icon of the civil rights movement. Well researched and written with sympathy and keen insight, the result is a moving, revelatory portrait of an American heroine and her tumultuous times.

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JFK: A Vision for America
JFK: A Vision for America
Published in commemoration of the centennial of President John F. Kennedy’s birth, here is the definitive compendium of JFK’s most important and brilliant speeches, accompanied by commentary and reflections by leading American and international figures—including Senator Elizabeth Warren, David McCullough, Kofi Annan, and the Dalai Lama—and edited by JFK’s nephew Stephen Kennedy Smith and renowned historian Douglas Brinkley. Combined with over seven hundred documentary photos, it tells the story, in words and pictures, of JFK’s life and presidency, and depicts his compelling vision for America.JFK brings together in one volume John F. Kennedy’s greatest speeches alongside essays by America’s top historians, analysis from leading political thinkers, and personal insights from preeminent writers and artists. Here is JFK at his best—thought-provoking, inspiring, eloquent, and wise—on a number of wide-ranging topics, including civil rights, the race to the moon, the environment, immigration, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and much more. JFK demonstrates the deep relevance of his words today and his lasting power and influence as an outstanding American leader and orator.Elegantly designed and enriched by more than 500 photographs and facsimiles of Kennedy’s marginalia on drafts of speeches, his notes from important meetings, letters, and other fascinating documents, JFK is a major contribution to American history.The august list of contributors includes Secretary John Kerry, Ambassador Samantha Power, Congressman John Lewis, Senator John McCain, Senator Elizabeth Warren, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Robert Redford, Conan O’Brien, Dave Eggers, Gloria Steinem, Don DeLillo, David McCullough, George Packer, Colum McCann, Michael Beschloss, Robert Dallek, David Kennedy, Ted Widmer, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Drew Faust, Tariq Ramadan, Pastor Rick Warren, Jonathan Alter, E. J. Dionne, Ron Suskind, Paul Krugman, Kofi Annan, Governor Jerry Brown, Paul Theroux, Jorge Domínguez, and many others.

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Douglas Brinkley presents the definitive, revealing biography of an American legend: renowned news anchor Walter Cronkite.An acclaimed author and historian, Brinkley has drawn upon recently disclosed letters, diaries, and other artifacts at the recently opened Cronkite Archive to bring detail and depth to this deeply personal portrait.He also interviewed nearly two hundred of Cronkite’s closest friends and colleagues, including Andy Rooney, Leslie Stahl, Barbara Walters, Dan Rather, Brian Williams, Les Moonves, Christiane Amanpour, Katie Couric, Bob Schieffer, Ted Turner, Jimmy Buffett, and Morley Safer, using their voices to instill dignity and humanity in this study of one of America’s most beloved and trusted public figures.

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Gerald R. Ford (The American Presidents Series: The 38th President, 1974-1977)
Gerald R. Ford (The American Presidents Series: The 38th President, 1974-1977)
The "accidental" president whose innate decency and steady hand restored the presidency after its greatest crisisWhen Gerald R. Ford entered the White House in August 1974, he inherited a presidency tarnished by the Watergate scandal, the economy was in a recession, the Vietnam War was drawing to a close, and he had taken office without having been elected. Most observers gave him little chance of success, especially after he pardoned Richard Nixon just a month into his presidency, an action that outraged many Americans, but which Ford thought was necessary to move the nation forward. Many people today think of Ford as a man who stumbled a lot--clumsy on his feet and in politics--but acclaimed historian Douglas Brinkley shows him to be a man of independent thought and conscience, who never allowed party loyalty to prevail over his sense of right and wrong. As a young congressman, he stood up to the isolationists in the Republican leadership, promoting a vigorous role for America in the world. Later, as House minority leader and as president, he challenged the right wing of his party, refusing to bend to their vision of confrontation with the Communist world. And after the fall of Saigon, Ford also overruled his advisers by allowing Vietnamese refugees to enter the United States, arguing that to do so was the humane thing to do. Brinkley draws on exclusive interviews with Ford and on previously unpublished documents (including a remarkable correspondence between Ford and Nixon stretching over four decades), fashioning a masterful reassessment of Gerald R. Ford's presidency and his underappreciated legacy to the nation.

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