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Presidents at War

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With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Monday, October 04, 2004

Former JFK advisor and historian Arthur Schlesinger, journalist Tom Wicker, and veteran political analyst and former Nixon staffer Kevin Phillips explore the varying legacies of our wartime presidents. David Gergen of the Kennedy School of Government, and a former Reagan staffer, moderates.

Arthur Meier Schlesinger, Jr., was a leading authority on the history of the United States. Schlesinger was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1917. His father, Arthur Meier Schlesinger, Sr., was a prominent historian of the United States. His son also became an American historian. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. graduated from Harvard University in 1938. Schlesinger published his first book, his Harvard University honors thesis, in 1939. During World War II he serving in the Office of War Information from 1942 to 1943 and in the Office of Strategic Services from 1943 to 1945. He continued to research and write while serving his country. In 1945, he published *The Age of Jackson*. The book won the Pulitzer Prize. In 1946, Schlesinger became a professor at Harvard University. He held the position until 1961. Schlesinger's liberal political and social views heavily influenced his books and articles. He emerged as one of the most respected and influential historians of the twentieth century. He also played an active role in politics. During the administration of President John F. Kennedy he served as a campaign advisor and later became Kennedy's Special Assistant for Latin American Affairs. With President Kennedy's assassination in November 1963, Schlesinger returned to academic life. He wrote a study of Kennedy's administration called *A Thousand Days*. It won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1965. Schlesinger became a professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center in 1966. He concluded his teaching career in 1994. After retiring, Schlesinger continued to write books. Schlesinger died on February 28, 2007 from a heart attack.
Kevin Phillips is an American writer and commentator on politics, economics, and history. Formerly a Republican Party strategist, Phillips has become disaffected with his former party over the last two decades, and is now one of its harshest critics. He is a regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times and NPR, and is a political analyst on PBS' NOW with Bill Moyers.
Commentator, editor, teacher, public servant, best-selling author and adviser to presidents for 30 years, David Gergen has been an active participant in American national life. He served as director of communications for President Reagan and held positions in the administrations of Presidents Nixon and Ford. David Gergen is a professor of public service and the director of the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is also editor-at-large at *U.S. News & World Report* and is a Senior Political Analyst for CNN. Mr. Gergen also regularly serves as an analyst on radio shows, and he is a frequent lecturer at venues around the world. In the fall of 2000 he published a best-selling book titled, *Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton*. A native of Durham, North Carolina, Mr. Gergen is an honors graduate of Yale University (A.B., 1963) and the Harvard Law School (JD, 1967). He is a member of the D.C. bar. In addition, Mr. Gergen served for three-and-a-half years in the U.S. Navy, where he was posted for about two years to a ship home-ported in Japan. Mr. Gergen is active on many boards, including Duke University and Teach for America. He frequently lectures here in the United States and overseas and holds 17 honorary degrees.