History Buzz February 16, 2014: Finalists Announced for 2014 George Washington Book Prize

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Two Univ. of Virginia professors among finalists for George Washington Book Prize

Source: WaPo, 2-16-14

(Courtesy of W.W. Norton) Two professors at the University of Virginia — Alan Taylor and Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy — are among the three finalists for this year’s George Washington Book prize. The $50,000 award, one of the country’s most lucrative literary prizes, recognizes the best new book about early American history….READ MORE

Alan Taylor, “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832″ (Norton)

Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, “The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire” (Yale)

Jeffrey L. Pasley, “The First Presidential Contest: 1796 and the Founding of American Democracy” (Kansas)

History Buzz April 15, 2013: Top Young Historian Fredrik Logevall: Cornell History Professor, Wins Pulitzer Prize for Book on Vietnam War

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Fredrik Logevall, Cornell History Professor, Wins Pulitzer Prize for Book on Vietnam War

Source: Cornell Sun, 4-15-13

Top Young Historian Profile, 45: Fredrik Logevall, 2-26-07

Prof. Fredrik Logevall, history,  was “stunned” when he learned Monday that he had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his book, Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam.

“It was a shock to get the news,” said Logevall, who is also the director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. ..

Embers of War is a history of the early years in the Vietnam struggle, beginning at the end of World War I and examining the next 40 years in the country’s history, Logevall said. The book is a prequel to Choosing War, Logevall’s Ph.D. dissertation — which was published as a book in 2001 — about heavy U.S. involvement in Vietnam….READ MORE

History Buzz April 15, 2013: 2013 Pulitzer Prizes for Letters, Drama and Music

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2013 Pulitzer Prizes for Letters, Drama and Music

Source: NYT, 4-15-13

FICTION

ADAM JOHNSON

The Orphan Master’s Son” (Random House)

Finalists Nathan Englander, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank”; Eowyn Ivey, “The Snow Child.”

DRAMA

AYAD AKHTAR

“Disgraced”

Finalists Gina Gionfriddo, “Rapture, Blister, Burn”; Amy Herzog, “4000 Miles.”

HISTORY

FREDRIK LOGEVALL

Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam” (Random House)

Finalists Bernard Bailyn, “The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675; John Fabian Witt, “Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History.”

BIOGRAPHY

TOM REISS

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo” (Crown)

Finalists Michael Gorra, “Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece”; David Nasaw, “The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy.”

POETRY

SHARON OLDS

“Stag’s Leap” (Alfred A. Knopf)

Finalists Jack Gilbert, “Collected Poems”; Bruce Weigl, “The Abundance of Nothing.”

GENERAL NONFICTION

GILBERT KING

“Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America” (Harper)

Finalists Katherine Boo, “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity”; David George Haskell, “The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature.

MUSIC

CAROLINE SHAW

“Partita for 8 Voices” (New Amsterdam Records)

Finalists Aaron Jay Kernis, “Pieces of Winter Sky”; Wadada Leo Smith, “Ten Freedom Summers.”

History Buzz December 5, 2012: Washington Post’s List of Best Presidential Biographies

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The Fix’s list of best presidential biographies

Source: WaPo, 12-5-12

* George Washington: Washington: A Life, by Ron Chernow; His Excellency: George Washington, by Joseph J. Ellis.

* John Adams: John Adams, by David McCullough; Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams, by Joseph J. Ellis.

* Thomas Jefferson: Jefferson and His Time, by Dumas Malone; American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, by Joseph J. Ellis; Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, by Jon Meacham.

* James Madison: James Madison: A Biography, by Ralph Ketchem.

* James Monroe: The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation’s Call to Greatness, by Harlow Giles Unger.

* John Quincy Adams: John Quincy Adams (The American Presidents Series), by Robert V. Remini.

* Andrew Jackson: American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, by Jon Meacham; The Life of Andrew Jackson, by Robert V. Remini.

* Martin Van Buren: Martin Van Buren (The American Presidents Series), by Ted Widmer; Martin Van Buren : The Romantic Age of American Politics, by John Niven.

* William Henry Harrison: William Henry Harrison (The American Presidents Series) by Gail Collins; Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Times, by Freeman Cleaves.

* John Tyler: John Tyler (The American Presidents Series), by Gary May; John Tyler: Champion of the Old South, by Oliver P. Chitwood.

* James K. Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America, by Walter R. Borneman.

* Zachary Taylor: Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest, by K. Jack Bauer.

* Millard Fillmore: Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President, by Robert J. Rayback

* Franklin Pierce: Franklin Pierce (The American Presidents Series), by Michael Holt.

* James Buchanan: President James Buchanan: A Biography, by Philip S. Klein.

* Abraham Lincoln: Lincoln, by David Herbert Donald; Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin; With Malice Toward None: A Life of Abraham Lincoln, by Stephen B. Oates; Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years, by Carl Sandburg; Abraham Lincoln, by Lord Charnwood.

* Andrew Johnson: Andrew Johnson (The American Presidents Series), by Annette Gordon-Reed.

* Ulysses S. Grant: Grant, by Jean Edward Smith; Grant: A Biography, by William S. McFeeley.

* Rutherford B. Hayes: Rutherford B. Hayes, by Hans Trefousse (The American Presidents Series); Rutherford B. Hayes, and his America, by Harry Barnard.

* James Garfield: Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, by Candice Millard.

*Chester Arthur: Chester Alan Arthur (The American Presidents Series), by Zachary Karabell; Gentleman Boss: The Life of Chester Alan Arthur, by Thomas C. Reeves.

* Grover Cleveland (the 22nd and 24th president): Grover Cleveland: A Study in Character, by Alyn Brodsky; Grover Cleveland (The American Presidents Series), by Henry F. Graff.

* Benjamin Harrison: Benjamin Harrison (The American Presidents Series), by Charles W. Calhoun; Benjamin Harrison: Hoosier statesman, by Harry Joseph Sievers.

* William McKinley: Presidency of William McKinley, by Lewis. L. Gould.

* Theodore Roosevelt: Edmund Morris’s Theodore Roosevelt Trilogy; Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt, by David McCullough.

* William Howard Taft: The Life & Times of William Howard Taft, by Harry F. Pringle.

* Woodrow Wilson: Woodrow Wilson: A Biography, by John Milton Cooper Jr.

* Warren G. Harding: The Shadow of Blooming Grove: Warren G. Harding in His Times, by Francis Russell; Warren G. Harding (The American Presidents Series), by John W. Dean.

* Calvin Coolidge: Coolidge, An American Enigma, by Robert Sobel.

* Herbert Hoover: Herbert Hoover (The American Presidents Series), by William E. Leuchtenburg.

*Franklin Roosevelt: Franklin D. Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, by Conrad Black; No Ordinary Time, by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

*Harry S. Truman: Truman, by David McCullough; Harry S. Truman (The American Presidents Series), by Robert Dallek.

*Dwight D. Eisenhower: Eisenhower: Soldier and President, by Stephen E. Ambrose; Eisenhower in War and Peace, by Jean Edward Smith.

*John F. Kennedy: A Thousand Days, by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.; An Unfinished Life, by Robert Dallek.

*Lyndon B. Johnson: Robert Caro‘s multi-volume set; Robert Dallek‘s two-volume set.

*Richard Nixon: The three-volume set by Steven Ambrose; Nixonland, by Richard Perlstein.

*Gerald Ford: Gerald R. Ford (The American Presidents Series) by Douglas Brinkley.

*Jimmy Carter:  Jimmy Carter, by Julian E. Zelizer (The American Presidents Series).

*Ronald Reagan: President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime, by Lou Cannon; My Father at 100, by Ron Reagan, Jr.

*George H.W. Bush: George H.W. Bush (The American Presidents Series), by Timothy Naftali.

*Bill Clinton: First in His Class, by David Maraniss; The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House, by John F. Harris.

*George W. Bush: Decision Points (Bush’s memoir); Peter Baker’s forthcoming Bush book.

*Barack Obama: Barack Obama: The Story, by David Maraniss; The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama, by David Remnick.

History Buzz September 9, 2012: Bob Woodward’s new book on Obama & deficit-reduction talks “The Price of Politics” 5 telling moments

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Bob Woodward’s new book: 5 telling moments

Source: Politico, 9-9-12

Bob Woodward is shown here. | AP Photo

Bob woodward’s book offers new details of the 2011 debt-ceiling crisis. | AP Photo

Bob Woodward’s new book will be required reading in Washington for the precise reason the New York Times review was critical: its “granular telling … its almost blow-by-blow chronicle” of deficit-reduction talks during President Barack Obama’s first term.

Whether or not his reporting fundamentally changes Washington’s understanding of these years – in particular, the debt-ceiling negotiations of 2011 – the book offers essential color on the characters behind those talks.

The book, “The Price of Politics” (Simon & Schuster) is set for official release Tuesday.

Here are five telling moments….READ MORE

History Buzz August 14, 2012: Bob Woodward: New Book, ‘The Price of Politics,’ to Take on President Barack Obama, Economy

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Next Bob Woodward book, ‘The Price of Politics,’ to take on President Barack Obama, economy

Source: AP, 8-14-12

The U.S. economy is about to get the Bob Woodward treatment.

The next book by the award-winning investigative reporter and best-selling author will document how President Barack Obama and congressional leaders responded to the economic crisis and where we stand now.

Publisher Simon & Schuster announced Tuesday the book will be called “The Price of Politics” and will come out Sept. 11….READ MORE

History Buzz May 10, 2012: Robert Caro: LBJ’s ‘Passage of Power’: The Transformation of a ‘Legislative Genius’

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Robert Caro: The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4

LBJ’s ‘Passage of Power’: The Transformation of a ‘Legislative Genius’

Source: PBS Newshour, 5-10-12

SUMMARY

Historian Robert Caro has spent nearly four decades telling the story of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Gwen Ifill and Caro discuss the pivotal four years between 1960 and 1964 when Johnson rose from senator to an overshadowed vice president, and then to president — the premise of his latest biography, “The Passage of Power.”

Transcript

JUDY WOODRUFF: And finally tonight, the unfolding drama of a political figure at a key turning point in American history.

Gwen Ifill has our conversation.

GWEN IFILL: Historian Robert Caro has spent nearly four decades telling the story of a single man, former President Lyndon Baines Johnson. The fourth hefty volume in his series of biographies is “The Passage of Power.” It covers the pivotal four years between 1960 and 1964, as Johnson rose from senator to vice president then, through the stunning tragedy of the Kennedy assassination, to president.

And there is yet a fifth volume to come.

Robert Caro joins me now.

Thank you.

ROBERT CARO, author: Nice to be here.

GWEN IFILL: It seems like this is a book about transformation.

ROBERT CARO: Yes, the transformation of Lyndon Johnson at the beginning of it is the mighty Senate majority leader, the most powerful majority leader in history.

He descends to the pit of the vice presidency and three years of humiliation. And then, in a single crack of a gunshot, it’s all reversed, and he’s president of the United States.

GWEN IFILL: You use that term crack of a gunshot throughout the book. It seems like that that is the running theme.

ROBERT CARO: Well, you know, and the people who are in — when you ask John Connally, for example, he says: Everyone else thought it was a motorcycle backfire or a firecracker. But I was a hunter all my life. I knew it was the crack of a hunting rifle.

So does the Secret Service agent in Johnson’s car. At the moment the gunshot fire — sounds, he sees President Kennedy two cars above start to fall to the left. He whirls around, he grabs Lyndon Johnson’s shoulder, throws him down to the floor of the car, leaps over the backseat, and lays on top of him — Johnson was later to say, “I will never forget his knees in my back and his elbows in my back” — and shields Johnson’s body with his own as they’re racing to Parkland Hospital.

GWEN IFILL: This moment, this transformative moment in our history, happened just at a time when Lyndon Johnson was his most miserable in his entire public career as vice president.

ROBERT CARO: He was telling his aides to find other jobs. He said, I’m finished. Go with somebody else.

GWEN IFILL: And it’s possible that Kennedy thought he was finished, too.

ROBERT CARO: Well, it certainly was starting to look like that might be more of a possibility.

GWEN IFILL: Let’s talk a little bit about his relationship with the Kennedys.

Garry Wills wrote one of the reviews of this book. And he described the book as a moral disquisition on the nature of hatred.

ROBERT CARO: Well, you know, there are three strong personalities, Lyndon Johnson, Jack Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy.

Lyndon Johnson despises Jack Kennedy. When he’s the Senate majority leader, Kennedy is a young senator. Johnson said of him, he’s pathetic. He was pathetic as a senator. He didn’t even know how to address the chair. He used to mock him. He used to literally call him not a man’s man. He said — he used to say to people, you know how skinny his ankles are? And he’d hold up his fingers like this.

He doesn’t realize. He thinks he’s going to have the Democratic nomination in 1960. He doesn’t realize that this young senator for whom he has no respect really is a great politician and is racing around the country corralling delegates, impressing people, and taking the nomination away from him. By the time Johnson wakes up, it’s really too late.

GWEN IFILL: And that his little brother, who eventually was considered really — the real number two when President Kennedy was president, even though he was attorney general, that he would be undercutting him at every turn. At least, that’s the way Johnson saw it.

ROBERT CARO: Bobby Kennedy, you know, you hate to use words as a historian like hatred, but hatred isn’t too strong a word to describe the relationship between Robert Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. They hated each other.

Robert Kennedy said of Lyndon Johnson after his brother was killed, he said — he never would call Johnson president. So when he uses the word president, it’s his brother. He said, my president was a gentleman and a human being. This man is not. He’s mean, bitter, vicious, an animal in many ways.

GWEN IFILL: An animal.

There were two episodes right around the assassination between them, one in — when — actually when Lyndon Johnson call Robert Kennedy to ask if it was okay to get sworn in, in Dallas, and the other when Bobby Kennedy arrived at Air Force One when the plane landed in Washington.

ROBERT CARO: That telephone call, you know, is one of the things that when you learn about it, you’re really sad. I mean it’s a moment you can hardly understand.

Robert Kennedy is sitting by the swimming pool at Hickory Hill, his place in Virginia. Suddenly, he sees a workman painting the house clap a transistor radio to his ear and come running down toward the pool. At the same moment, the telephone rings on the table by him. And Ethel, his wife, picks it up. And it’s J. Edgar Hoover to tell Robert Kennedy that his brother has been shot.

Less than an hour later, the man that Robert Kennedy hated is on the phone to him asking the formalities of how he assumes his brother’s power. The secretary who took down the oath, Johnson asked Robert Kennedy for the wording of the oath.

You know Kennedy — he could have asked any one of a hundred people for that. And the secretary — Kennedy has Nicholas Katzenbach, his deputy, give him the oath. I asked the secretary, a woman name Marie Fehmer, who still lives in Washington, you know what it was like. And she says, Katzenbach’s voice was like steel. Bobby wasn’t. He had started. I thought, you shouldn’t be doing this.

GWEN IFILL: Jackie Kennedy was also — we see her in that photograph. And she gave great legitimacy to the passing of power by standing next to Lyndon Johnson when he took that oath. But she had mixed feelings as well about Johnson.

ROBERT CARO: Well, you know, she once wrote to Ted Sorensen after — you must know how frightened my husband was that Lyndon Johnson might become president.

This is really after the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the — Johnson was so hawkish in the meetings of the ExComm.

GWEN IFILL: He was hawkish and he was pretty much pushed to the side as well. . .

ROBERT CARO: Yes.

GWEN IFILL: . . . during that period.

ROBERT CARO: Yes.

GWEN IFILL: So, let’s keep back on this transformation theme.

So he becomes president through no actions of their own. There’s this boiling resentment. This is this grief which overcomes all of the members of the Kennedy inner circle.

ROBERT CARO: Yes.

GWEN IFILL: And yet here comes the Texan to take over. And in his first speech to a joint session of Congress, what does he do? He decides to take on civil rights.

ROBERT CARO: Yes. And he says the most important thing we can do is pass the civil rights bill that Jack Kennedy introduced and fought for, for so long.

And he picks up this bill. You know, at the time that Kennedy was assassinated, at the moment he was assassinated, his two top-priority bill, civil rights and tax cuts, are really dead in the water. And Congress — Congress has stopped them. The Southerners control I think it’s nine of the 16 great standing committees of the Senate. They control the Senate absolutely.

The civil rights bill hasn’t even gotten over to the Senate. It’s in the House Rules Committee, which is ruled over by Judge Howard W. Smith of Virginia. And he is refusing even to tell anybody when he will get to have hearings on the civil rights bill.

Johnson — you know, Johnson was a genius. He was a legislative genius. He remembers that a representative, Richard Bolling of Missouri, has introduced the discharge position to take the bill away from Smith’s committee. Now, these petitions seldom go anywhere. And a president is never behind them because it’s challenging all the House prerogative.

Johnson makes a call to Bolling. And you have to say the first half of the call is Johnson saying, I will never interfere with the House prerogatives. Then, he says to Bolling, do you see any way to get this out of committee? Bolling says no. And I wrote in the book, if there was only one lever, Lyndon Johnson was going to push it. And to watch him push that discharge petition through and get the civil rights bill is legislative genius.

GWEN IFILL: It’s the old Lyndon Johnson that we know from “Master of the Senate,” your last book.

ROBERT CARO: Yes.

GWEN IFILL: And it’s him come back. But — and in it, he also says — you quote him as saying to Doris Kearns Goodwin, the historian, “I had to take the dead man’s program and turn it into the martyr’s cause.”

ROBERT CARO: Yes.

And he uses the sympathy that people had for Kennedy. That helped him get the bills moving, but none — he also uses his great knowledge of legislative techniques and the secrets of the Senate to get these bills moving.

GWEN IFILL: And in the next book, we will hear about what brought him down. And that’s the war in Vietnam.

ROBERT CARO: Very dark story.

GWEN IFILL: Very dark story.

ROBERT CARO: Sad story.

GWEN IFILL: But we look forward to reading it.

Robert Caro, thank you so much.

ROBERT CARO: Thank you, Gwen.

JEFFREY BROWN: You can find more of Gwen’s interview with Robert Caro, plus photos from his book on our website.

History Buzz May 3, 2012: David Maraniss’ “Barack Obama: The Story” Puts President’s Early Romantic Life & Political Views on Display — Excerpts

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

HISTORY BOOK NEWS: PRESIDENT OBAMA’S EARLY ROMANTIC LIFE & POLITICAL VIEWS ON DISPLAY IN DAVID MARINISS BOOK

Genevieve Cook with a young Barack Obama.Vanity Fair
YOUNG LOVERS: Genevieve Cook with a young Barack Obama.

David Maraniss: Barack Obama: The Story


From one of our preeminent journalists and modern historians comes the epic story of Barack Obama and the world that created him.
In Barack Obama: The Story, David Maraniss has written a deeply reported generational biography teeming with fresh insights and revealing information, a masterly narrative drawn from hundreds of interviews, including with President Obama in the Oval Office, and a trove of letters, journals, diaries, and other documents.
The book unfolds in the small towns of Kansas and the remote villages of western Kenya, following the personal struggles of Obama’s white and black ancestors through the swirl of the twentieth century. It is a roots story on a global scale, a saga of constant movement, frustration and accomplishment, strong women and weak men, hopes lost and deferred, people leaving and being left. Disparate family threads converge in the climactic chapters as Obama reaches adulthood and travels from Honolulu to Los Angeles to New York to Chicago, trying to make sense of his past, establish his own identity, and prepare for his political future.
Barack Obama: The Story chronicles as never before the forces that shaped the first black president of the United States and explains why he thinks and acts as he does. Much like the author’s classic study of Bill Clinton, First in His Class, this promises to become a seminal book that will redefine a president.

Sunday, January 22, 1984
What a startling person Barack is—so strange to voice intimations of my own perceptions—have them heard, responded to so on the sleeve. A sadness, in a way, that we are both so questioning that original bliss is dissipated—but feels really good not to be faltering behind some façade—to not feel that doubt must be silenced and transmuted into distance.

Thursday, January 26
How is he so old already, at the age of 22? I have to recognize (despite play of wry and mocking smile on lips) that I find his thereness very threatening…. Distance, distance, distance, and wariness.

Sunday, February 19
Despite Barack’s having talked of drawing a circle around the tender in him—protecting the ability to feel innocence and springborn—I think he also fights against showing it to others, to me. I really like him more and more—he may worry about posturing and void inside but he is a brimming and integrated character.
Today, for the first time, Barack sat on the edge of the bed—dressed—blue jeans and luscious ladies on his chest [a comfy T-shirt depicting buxom women], the end of the front section of the Sunday Times in his hand, looking out the window, and the quality of light reflected from his eyes, windows of the soul, heart, and mind, was so clear, so unmasked, his eyes narrower than he usually holds them looking out the window, usually too aware of me.

Saturday, February 25
The sexual warmth is definitely there—but the rest of it has sharp edges and I’m finding it all unsettling and finding myself wanting to withdraw from it all. I have to admit that I am feeling anger at him for some reason, multi-stranded reasons. His warmth can be deceptive. Tho he speaks sweet words and can be open and trusting, there is also that coolness—and I begin to have an inkling of some things about him that could get to me.

Becoming Obama: When Barack Obama met Genevieve Cook in 1983 at a Christmas party in New York’s East Village, it was the start of his most serious romance yet. But as the 22-year-old Columbia grad began to shape his future, he was also struggling with his identity: American or international? Black or white? Drawing on conversations with both Cook and the president, David Maraniss, in an adaptation from his new Obama biography, has the untold story of the couple’s time together…. – Vanity Fair, 6-12

Related: David Maraniss discusses his biography of President Barack Obama—and his reaction to Genevieve Cook’s diaries being used—in a VF.com Q&A.Vanity Fair, 6-12

David Maraniss’s ‘Barack Obama: The Story’ Excerpted in Vanity Fair: Juiciest Bits: Sleeping at the university library. Writing love letters to a white woman describing ‘bourgeois liberalism.’ Nope, this isn’t Lena Dunham you’re reading about; it’s President Obama, at least according to David Maraniss’s ‘Barack Obama: The Story.’ Ben Jacobs combs through the excerpt and finds the best parts…. – The Daily Beast, 5-2-12

  • Running for President? How Embarrassing!: Exactly how embarrassing is it to be President of the United States? That’s the question we tackled today on the Bottom Line. And of course it’s the recent Vanity Fair article by David Maraniss that raises the topic…. – ABC News, 5-3-12Author tracks down Obama’s former girlfriends: No one has heard from Barack Obama’s former girlfriends until now, when two of them — Genevieve Cook and Alex McNear, complete with love letters and a diary detailing their relationships — surface in a new Obama biography by David Maraniss … – Chicago Sun-Times, 5-2-12
  • New Obama book is cookin’: Author David Maraniss, whose much anticipated biography of President Obama titled Barack Obama: The Story, hits bookshelves next month — found two of the president’s old girlfriends…. – Chicago Sun-Times, 5-2-12
  • He had great sexual warmth: Obama’s secret Australian girlfriend tells all in new book: YOU’RE a smart-looking dude fresh out of college with the whole of New York to romance.
    You’ve just broken up with a chick from California – it was a long-distance thing and she was a serious literary type who made you write to her about T.S. Eliot.
    But then you meet a hot young primary school teacher in a kitchen at some party. You’re wearing jeans, a T-shirt and cool leather jacket. She has an accent and it turns out she’s the daughter of a diplomat. From Australia. A week later she spends the night with you. Score.
    She’s comfortable with you lounging around bare-chested in a blue and white sarong – hey, she grew up in Indonesia too – and doesn’t mind that you wear Brut, smoke and eat raisins.
    For some reason you break up and years later, while you’re making a name for yourself in politics, you decide to write an autobiography.
    Except, you don’t talk about the raisins, the sarong or the fact she’s an Aussie. You just refer to her as “woman in New York that I loved”. And then you start making stuff up.
    Which would be fine, if you didn’t go on to become the President of the United States. News.com.au, 5-2-12
  • NY flame dishes on Obama’s romantic ways when he was 22: Long before he was courting voters, a young Barack Obama was a 22-year-old college grad in New York who knew how to seduce young women while he struggled with his own racial identity.
    Excerpts of David Maraniss’ biography, “Barack Obama: The Story,” in Vanity Fair portray the future president as a smooth operator — disarming and engaging with the ladies yet guarded and detached.
    In a series of diary entries from one of his lovers here in the Big Apple, a never-before-seen side of the now-guarded president is revealed — with descriptions of his “sexual warmth” and his penchant for lounging at home in a sarong.
    Then-girlfriend Genevieve Cook made it abundantly clear in her diary entries, included with excerpts of the book posted on Vanity Fair’s Web site yesterday, that he spoke softly — and used his charm to win her over.
    “The sexual warmth is definitely there — but the rest of it has sharp edges, and I’m finding it all unsettling and finding myself wanting to withdraw from it all . . .” Cook, then 25, wrote.
    But she also sees hints of the future Obama, known for his reserve and guardedness.
    “His warmth can be deceptive. Tho he speaks sweet words and can be open and trusting, there is also that coolness — and I begin to have an inkling of some things about him that could get to me.”… – NY Post, 5-2-12
  • The dangerous new Obama book: Months before Barack Obama knew Mitt Romney would be his political opponent in 2012, the president knew the identity of his foremost literary challenger: Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Maraniss, who had been reaching out to Obama’s old friends, classmates and lovers for the past several years.
    The product of his big dig, “Barack Obama: The Story,” seems to be a nuanced, even sympathetic portrayal culled from people who still admire Obama. Yet, make no mistake, this is a dangerous book for Obama, and White House staffers have been fretting about it in a low-grade way for a long, long time — in part because it could redefine the self-portrait Obama skillfully created for himself in 1995 with “Dreams from My Father.”
    The success of “Dreams” has given Obama nearly complete control of his own life narrative, an appealing tale that has been the foundation of his political success. But Maraniss’s biography threatens that narrative by questioning it: Was Obama’s journey entirely spiritual and intellectual? Or was it also grounded in the lower realms of ambition and calculation?…. – Politico, 5-3-12
  • Australian ex-girlfriend’s diaries show Obama in love: Washington: Secret diaries of an Australian woman who was one of the young Barack Obama’s girlfriends, show not only the warmth and trust of the future President in love, but also hint at his reserve and “coolness.” Accounts of the 1980s romance … – NDTV, 5-2-12
  • Just one old Obama girlfriend gets glory: So a new biography of Barack Obama reveals that in the president’s own memoir — “Dreams from My Father” — he smooshed together several old girlfriends into a … composite. Obama’s excuse to biographer David Maraniss, whose book is … – Boston Herald, 5-2-12
  • He had great sexual warmth: Obama’s secret Australian girlfriend tells all: Book reveals Obama’s New York love She was the daughter of an Aussie diplomat Questions surround veracity of President’s memory YOU’RE a smart-looking dude fresh out of college with the whole of New York to romance. You’ve just broken up with a chick…. – Herald Sun, 5-3-12
  • Dear diary: Obama’s ex sheds light on romance and the man: A portrait of a young Barack Obama in love emerged Wednesday with excerpts of an upcoming book appearing in Vanity Fair magazine that delve into the president’s 1980s love affair with an Australian-born woman three years his senior…. – Hamilton Spectator, 5-2-12
  • Ohbama! New book reveals President’s lovelife: Barack Obama was looking for love in New York City. The future President, who in 1983 was a recent graduate of Columbia University, chatted up an assistant teacher at a party that Christmas, according to a revealing new book…. – New York Daily News, 5-2-12
  • New book sheds light on Obama’s former girlfriends: A NEW book has shed light on some of President Barack Obama’s early romances during his college and post-college years. The revelations came out in a Vanity Fair magazine article featuring excerpts from Washington Post reporter David Maraniss’ new book…. – Herald Sun, 5-2-12
  • Obama’s ex-girlfriend: what her diaries reveal: As a recent college grad in New York, Barack Obama fell in love with a young white woman named Genevieve Cook. Passages from her diary appear in a new biography of the president…. – CS Monitor, 5-3-12
  • Ex-girlfriend tells of her romance with ‘guarded’ student Obama: When a woman a few years older told a 22-year-old Barack Obama, “I love you,” he replied, “Thank you”. In the journal she kept throughout their roughly one-year relationship, the girlfriend, from Australia and white, once noted: “The sexual warmth is … – The Independent UK, 5-3-12
  • The diary of Obama’s lover from Australia: Australia has finally got a piece of a US President. Barack Obama was just out of law school when he began a two-year affair with Genevieve Cook, daughter of an Australian diplomat. He was 22. She was 25. In 1983 she was teaching primary school…. – Stuff.co.nz, 5-3-12
  • Obama was sexually warm, but emotionally cool, early girlfriend says: Twenty-two years old, just graduated from Columbia University and about to enter his first meaningful romantic relationship, Barack Obama charmed a young Australian woman at a Christmas party in 1983. Sitting on an orange bean bag in the sixth-floor…. – Globe and Mail, 5-3-12
  • Obama’s Aussie ex-girlfriend wrote of love: Secret diaries of an Australian woman who was one of young Barack Obama’s girlfriends, show the warmth and trust of the future president in love, but also hint at his reserve and “coolness.” Accounts of the 1980s romance between Genevieve Cook…. – Ninemsn, 5-3-12

Barack Obama
Barack Obama while a student in New York. After his graduation he embarked on a series of love affairs. Picture: AP

 

Genevieve Cook
She had a voice like a wind chime: Genevieve Cook, the girl Barack Obama referred in his autobiography as “woman in New York that I loved”. Picture: Family photo / Washington Post

History Buzz April 16, 2012: Historians Manning Marable & John Lewis Gaddis Win Pulitzer Prizes for History & Biography

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

The Times and New Media Outlets Win Pulitzers

Source: NYT, 4-16-12

2012 Journalism Pulitzer Winners (April 17, 2012)
2012 Pulitzer Prizes for Letters, Drama and Music (April 17, 2012)

The prizes, celebrating achievement in newspaper and online journalism, literature, nonfiction and musical composition, were announced at Columbia University in New York. Given annually since 1917, they are awarded in 21 categories. Here are this year’s winners.

JOURNALISM

PUBLIC SERVICE: The Philadelphia Inquirer

BREAKING NEWS REPORTING: The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News Staff

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING: Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley of The Associated Press and Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong of The Seattle Times

EXPLANATORY REPORTING: David Kocieniewski of The New York Times

LOCAL REPORTING: Sara Ganim and members of The Patriot-News Staff, Harrisburg, Pa.

NATIONAL REPORTING: David Wood of The Huffington Post

INTERNATIONAL REPORTING: Jeffrey Gettleman of The New York Times

FEATURE WRITING: Eli Sanders of The Stranger, a Seattle weekly

COMMENTARY: Mary Schmich of The Chicago Tribune

CRITICISM: Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe

EDITORIAL WRITING: No award

EDITORIAL CARTOONING: Matt Wuerker of Politico

BREAKING NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY: Massoud Hossaini of Agence France-Presse

FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY: Craig F. Walker of The Denver Post

LETTERS AND DRAMA

FICTION: No award

DRAMA: “Water by the Spoonful” by Quiara Alegría Hudes

HISTORY: “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention” by Manning Marable, awarded posthumously (Viking)

BIOGRAPHY: “George F. Kennan: An American Life” by John Lewis Gaddis (The Penguin Press)

POETRY: “Life on Mars” by Tracy K. Smith (Graywolf Press)

GENERAL NONFICTION: “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern” by Stephen Greenblatt (W. W. Norton and Company)

MUSIC: “Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts” by Kevin Puts, commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Opera in Minneapolis on Nov. 12, 2011.

In this undated image released by The Penguin Press, "George F. Kennan: An American Life," by John Lewis Gaddis is shown. On Monday, April 16, 2012, Gaddis won the Pulitzer Prize for biography for "George F. Kennan: An American Life." Photo: The Penguin Press / AP
In this undated image released by The Penguin Press, “George F. Kennan: An American Life,” by John Lewis Gaddis is shown. On Monday, April 16, 2012, Gaddis won the Pulitzer Prize for biography for “George F. Kennan: An American Life.” Photo: The Penguin Press / AP

Pulitzer Prize for history, but not for fiction

The late Manning Marable won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for history, honored for a Malcolm X book. But no Pulitzer Prize was awarded for fiction.

Source: CS Monitor, 4-16-12

The late Manning Marable won the Pulitzer Prize for history Monday, honored for a Malcolm X book he worked on for decades, but did not live to see published. For the first time in 35 years, no fiction prize was given.

Marable, a longtime professor at Columbia University, died last year just as “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention” was being released. Years in the making, the book was widely praised, although some of Malcolm X’s children objected to the troubled portrait Marable offered of the activist’s marriage to Betty Shabazz.

Another long-term project, John Lewis Gaddis’ “George F. Kennan: An American Life,” won the Pulitzer for biography. Gaddis is a Yale University professor and leading Cold War scholar who began work on the Kennan book in the early 1980s. The project was delayed by Kennan’s longevity. Kennan, a founding Cold War strategist and a Pulitzer winner, was in his 70s at the time he authorized the book. He asked only that Gaddis wait until after his death.

Kennan lived to 101.

“He was a prize-winning author himself, so he would have been pleased,” said Gaddis, whose biography also won the National Book Critics Circle award….READ MORE

Gaddis wins Pulitzer for Kennan biography

Source: Yale Daily News, 4-16-12

History Prof. John Lewis Gaddis received the National Humanities Medal in 2005.

History Prof. John Lewis Gaddis received the National Humanities Medal in 2005. Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

History professor John Lewis Gaddis can add yet another accolade to his biography of American diplomat George Kennan: the Pulitzer Prize, America’s most prestigious award for letters.

Gaddis won the 2012 biography Pulitzer for “George F. Kennan: An American Life,” which was published in November after nearly two decades of research. In naming Gaddis the winner, the Pulitzer jurors called his work “an engaging portrait of a globetrotting diplomat whose complicated life was interwoven with the Cold War and America’s emergence as the world’s dominant power.”

Mary Gabriel’s “Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution” and Manning Marble’s “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention” were named as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Biography.

In March, Gaddis’ biography took home the American History Book Prize, earning him $50,000 and the title of American Historian Laureate. The Kennan biography also won the National Book Critics Circle Award….READ MORE

History Buzz March 1, 2012: Glyn Harper: Massey University Professor aims to keep New Zealand war record straight

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Professor aims to keep war record straight

Source: Fairfax NZ News, 3-1-12

Glyn Harper

MURRAY WILSON/Fairfax NZ

TAKING NOTE: Massey University Professor Glyn Harper intends to see New Zealand get the mention it deserves.

A Massey University professor wants to ensure New Zealand does not get “swamped” by Australia when it comes to remembering their efforts during World War I.

Defence Studies Professor Glyn Harper has been asked to contribute to the revised second edition of a five-volume Encyclopedia of WWI. “It’s quite an honour, and I jumped at the chance. I think there weren’t too many mentions of New Zealand in the previous entries and this is an opportunity to change that.

“We tend to get swamped a little bit by Australia so I’m just going to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Prof Harper was contacted by the general editor of the publication last month, and asked to be on the editorial board. “And what that means is I will get to look at any entry that is relevant to Australia or New Zealand and check it for accuracy but also suggest areas they may want to look at … if there is anything missing in the encyclopedia pertaining to Australia or New Zealand.”…READ MORE

History Buzz February 29, 2012: John Lewis Gaddis: Historian wins annual American History Book Prize for “George F. Kennan: An American Life”

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Gaddis Wins History Prize for Kennan Biography

Source: NYT, 2-29-12

The historian John Lewis Gaddis has won the annual American History Book Prize for “George F. Kennan: An American Life,” the New-York Historical Society announced. Roger Hertog, the chair of the society’s board of trustees, praised Mr. Gaddis for bringing to life “the story of the grand strategist who shaped foreign policy over the last 60 years.”

Mr. Gaddis, a professor at Yale University and the author of numerous books about the cold war, began researching his biography back in 1982, when Kennan, best known for outlining the containment strategy against the Soviet Union in his famous 1946 “Long Telegram” from Moscow, was 78. (He died in 2005, at age 101.) The book, published by the Penguin Press, received respectful attention from critics when it finally appeared last November, including a 4,400-word assessment in the New York Times Book Review by Henry Kissinger, who called the book “as close to the final word as possible on one of the most important, complex, moving, challenging and exasperating American public servants.”

The prize, which comes with a cash award of $50,000 and the official title of American Historian Laureate, will be awarded on April 13 as part of the historical society’s “Weekend With History” event in Manhattan. Past winners have included Gordon S. Wood, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Ron Chernow.

Gaddis wins national award for Kennan biography

After winning high praise among reviewers for his biography of George F. Kennan, history professor John Lewis Gaddis has won the seventh annual American History Book Prize for his work, the New York Times reported.

The prize, which has been handed out by the New-York Historical Society, is awarded for a nonfiction American history book “that is distinguished by its scholarship, its literary style and its appeal to a general as well as an academic audience,” according to the society’s website. Gaddis will receive a cash award of $50,000 and the title of American Historian Laureate.

Yale’s Cold War star began research on Kennan — the American diplomat known for articulating the United States’ “containment” strategy against the Soviet Union — back in 1982. The book finally appeared in print last November.

Gaddis is also in the running for a National Book Critics Circle Award.

History Buzz February 27, 2012: Maya Jasanoff: Harvard historian is finalist for $50,000 George Washington Book Prize

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Harvard historian Maya Jasanoff is finalist for $50,000 George Washington Book Prize

Source: Cambridge Chronicle, 2-27-12

Harvard University Prof. Maya Jasanoff is one of three finalists for the $50,000 George Washington Book Prize. Administrators of the prize at Washington College announces that Jasanoff earned the honor with “Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World,” published by Knopf.

The prize, which is co-sponsored by Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and George Washington’s Mount Vernon, recognizes the past year’s best books on the nation’s founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of American history. Three distinguished historians served as jurors for the 2012 prize — Richard Beeman, the John Welsh Centennial Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and the 2010 winner of the George Washington Book Prize; Thomas Fleming, distinguished historian and author; and Marla R. Miller of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

In praising Jasanoff’s “Liberty’s Exiles,” the jury applauded the book’s “impressive archival research, its sweeping conceptualization, perspectives and aims, its enviable prose style and the penetrating insights it yields into its characters’ lives.”…READ MORE

History Buzz February 22, 2012: Daryl Michael Scott: Historian finds Carter G. Woodson manuscript

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Historian finds Woodson manuscript

Source: West Virgina NPR, 2-22-12

A Howard University professor visited Marshall University yesterday to discuss his discovery of Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s lost manuscript.

Woodson was a graduate of Douglass High School in Huntington and later served as the school’s principal, as well as dean of what is now West Virginia State University. He was the second African American to earn a Ph.D from Harvard University and the only offspring of former slaves to receive a doctorate in history from any university.

Daryl Michael Scott of Howard University discovered the manuscript in a storage container about five years ago and then had it authenticated. Scott published the manuscript as “Carter G. Woodson’s Appeal: The Lost Manuscript.”

Scott says he knew immediately it was something new.

“I knew everything that he had written, so I knew I had never read this and I knew it was his because I knew his handwriting and I knew how he wrote, his writings were in the margins of the manuscript, it was type written, but in the margins he had made notes and made changes and I knew his handwriting,” Scott said.

Scott is also vice president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History which was founded by Woodson in 1915. Woodson is widely known as the “father of African American history.”

Woodson came up with the idea for Negro History Week in 1926, which is now Black History Month. Woodson also started the influential “Journal of Negro History” in 1916. Scott says to read work that went unpublished for so long was quite an experience.

“Indeed I felt fortunate to find the manuscript and I had a friend who said for all your hard work you’ve come across this manuscript and doesn’t it make it worth all of it and quite often I say no, but in fact it does, the fact that you can find a manuscript by someone who has been so influential in American Life and African-American life it’s been a good feeling,” Scott said….READ MORE

History Buzz February 19, 2012: Douglas Brinkley Review’s Jodi Kantor’s ‘The Obamas’

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

The First Marriage ‘The Obamas,’ by Jodi Kantor

Source: NYT, 2-17-12

The Obamas…The difference when a head of state’s spouse performs an advisory role is that both the content and its consequences resonate through a lot more than one household. And that’s the point of Jodi Kantor’s new book, “The Obamas.” Call it chick nonfiction, if you will; this book is not about politics, it’s about marriage, or at least one marriage, and a notably successful one at that. This is a couple who listen to each other, and no one believes more in America’s 44th president than his wife. Last August, at a party for his 50th birthday, Kantor writes, Mrs. Obama toasted her husband for passing the health care bill, appointing two women to the Supreme Court and killing ­Osama bin Laden. When he signaled for the accolades to be toned down, she cut him off. “No, you’re just going to stand there and listen,” she snapped. “I know it makes you uncomfortable, but you only turn 50 once, so you’re just going to have to take it.” And he did.

Kantor, a Washington correspondent for The New York Times, interviewed the Obamas for a 2009 Times Magazine profile and became intensely interested in the working relationship between ­Potus and Flotus. Recognizing that most books on the Obama White Househave largely been about policy, she sensed an opening. The result is “The Obamas,” a dimly controversial palace intrigue that attempts to explain how the first couple’s marriage works. “In public, they smiled and waved,” Kantor writes, “but how were the Obamas really reacting to the White House, and how was it affecting the rest of us?” A reportorial wunderkind, she had the gumption not only to collect colorful, hard-to-come-by insider anecdotes about the Obamas, but also to venture into the dangerous terrain of psychoanalyzing the first lady. When an amateur puts the powerful on a shrink’s couch, following the example of Freud with Woodrow Wilson, the hunches about human nature had better be spot on.

Fortunately, “The Obamas”is more Sally Bedell Smith than Kitty Kelley. Kantor interviewed 33 White House officials and aides and cabinet members, to good effect. She reconstructs a half-dozen or so strange, gossipy moments that hardly hold up as serious journalism, but provide insight nonetheless. Mostly, she illuminates, in breezy prose, how the first lady sets the tone and tempo of the current White House. Kantor’s admiring portrait of Mrs. Obama, a hug really, shows a marvelous mother, an acerbic political strategist and a strong-willed spouse….READ MORE

History Buzz February 14, 2012: Molly Michelmore: New Book by Washington & Lee Historian Examines Tax and Spend Politics

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

 

New Volume by W&L Historian Examines Tax and Spend Politics

Molly Michelmore, assistant professor of history, Washington and Lee UniversityMolly Michelmore

Molly Michelmore, assistant professor of history at Washington and Lee University, hopes that her new book Tax and Spend: The Welfare State, Tax Politics, and the Limits of American Liberalism (University of Pennsylvania Press, February 2012) will not only help readers to think more clearly about taxes and government spending but also to re-think their ideas about what exactly constitutes welfare.

Michelmore traces the development of taxing and spending policy, two areas not usually examined together, from the New Deal of the 1930s through the Reagan revolution of the 1980s, providing a new interpretation of post-New Deal American liberalism in the process.

According to one review, “This most important book has the potential to transform how we think about the historical origins of the current crisis in the welfare state.” Another review declared that the book “shows why many Americans have come to hate government but continue to demand the security it provides.”

“Nobody ever talked about how taxes pay for the welfare state,” said Michelmore, “but it seemed that taxing policy and spending policy should be examined together. It’s impossible to talk about any kind of American political debate without thinking about how you’re going to pay for the things that people want.”

Drawing archival evidence from Congress, the White House, federal agencies and grassroots organizations, Michelmore shows how Democrats –even at the height of their power in the mid-20th century—adopted a political program that essentially hid government benefits from the people receiving those benefits.

“One of the things I point out in my book is that there has been a timidity on the part of liberals, including Roosevelt, the New Dealers, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy, to really embrace the idea that the state can be good,” said Michelmore. “Instead, they have done their best to obscure what it is that they’ve achieved. As a result, few Americans realize that, if you look beyond Cover of Tax and Spend, W&L History Professor Molly Michelmore's bookthe obvious programs that we call welfare, the middle class is quite dependent on federal assistance. It’s not simply the poor.

“But we have this erroneous idea as a nation that welfare is an illegitimate give-away program that taxes hard-working people in order to give money to irresponsible people who don’t want to work, can’t take care of themselves and make bad choices.”…READ MORE

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