Norton Publishers
Published by
Norton (2017-10-10)
Current material
Final Pages
Original language


The Imperial Historian

by Aldous, Richard

SCHLESINGER is the first major biography of preeminent historian and intellectual Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., a defining figure in Kennedy's White House.

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007), known today as the architect of John F. Kennedy's presidential legacy - and the myth of Camelot - blazed an extraordinary path from Harvard to wartime London to the West Wing. The son of a pioneering historian - and a two-time Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner in his own right - Schlesinger redefined the art of presidential biography. A Thousand Days, his bestselling record of the Kennedy administration, remains immensely influential and has cemented Schlesinger's place as one of the nation's greatest political image-makers.

In this vivid account of Schlesinger's life and career, biographer Richard Aldous draws on oral history, rarely seen archival documents, and the official Schlesinger papers to craft an invaluable portrait of a brilliant and controversial historian who framed America's rise to global empire. Schlesinger promises to transform our understanding of one of the key figures of the 20th century American intellectual elite.

Richard Aldous is a professor of history at Bard College, where he holds the Eugene Meyer Chair, and the author and editor of eleven books. Aldous is a contributor to television and radio on both sides of the Atlantic and his writing appears regularly in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times Book Review and The American Interest, where he is a contributing editor. He lives in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.

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In this elegant biography, Richard Aldous reveals the fascinating story of the 'knee-pants genius' who won his first Pulitzer Prize at the age of twenty-eight and went on to become the Kennedys' court historian. Aldous presents an intimate portrait of a man of thought and a man of action living at the 'vital center' of Cold War America.

Quote: David Reynolds, author of The Long Shadow

In his marvelous, moving, and unsparing Schlesinger, Aldous brings us the brilliant, ambitious, colorful, sometimes maddening Schlesinger in full flower - with all of his stunning professional triumphs and glaring personal failures. A noteworthy achievement.

Quote: Lawrence J. Haas, author of Harry and Arthur

Richard Aldous's Schlesinger is a deeply researched and skillfully written biography of a brilliant, scheming, perceptive and highly-partisan figure who believed in writing "useful history" to promote liberal causes and hoped to affect history by his own participation in American politics.

Quote: Curtis Wilkie, author of The Fall of the House of Zeus

Aldous effectively captures the optimistic spirit of post-World War II America as viewed through Schlesinger's experiences. Entertaining and exhilarating, this book will appeal mostly to historians but also be enjoyed by popular history readers.

Review: Library Journal (starred review)

A provocative and definitive account of a man of great achievement and charm who looms over nearly a century of the history that he himself so meticulously recorded. A great read and an absorbing, essential book.

Quote: Mark Danner, author of Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War

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