Presidential historian and environmental conservationist Douglas Brinkley will deliver the 39th installment of the Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lecture Series at Drake University. The lecture will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, in the Knapp Center, 2525 Forest Ave. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.
Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University, is known around the world for his ability to speak engagingly on a breadth of current and historical topics, particularly those that relate to American presidents and nature conservation. He is CNN’s presidential historian, serves as contributing editor to Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times Book Review, and American Heritage magazines, and is the author of numerous bestselling works of nonfiction. He also is an editor at Audubon Magazine, a nature publication with an emphasis on birds.
“Douglas Brinkley is an outstanding addition to the Bucksbaum Lecture series for many of the same reasons he can be seen on TV news just about every night,” said Neil Hamilton, director of the Drake University Agricultural Law Center and chair of the Bucksbaum Lecture selection committee. “He is a well-known and well-spoken individual with a long historical perspective, a scholar’s curiosity, and a remarkable ability to communicate complicated subjects in an easy-to-understand way.”
“Iowans care deeply about our state’s and nation’s collective history,” said Susan Kloewer, the administrator of the State Historical Society of Iowa. “There is no time like the present to learn about our past, especially from a scholar like Douglas Brinkley, so I’d encourage everyone to attend. History, after all, is an ongoing conversation.”
Brinkley has published nonfiction books on the careers of Dean Acheson, Jimmy Carter, Walter Cronkite, Gerald Ford, Henry Ford, John F. Kennedy, John Kerry, Richard Nixon, Rosa Parks, Ronald Reagan, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Teddy Roosevelt. His work explores issues including civil rights, land conservation, D-Day, the Vietnam War, and American Catholicism.
He also turned his talents to some of the most acclaimed modern American artists. He is literary executor for journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson, authorized biographer for author Jack Kerouac, and has written profiles of Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, Ken Kesey, and Bob Dylan.
“He is stunningly prolific,” said Drake University Associate Professor of History Amahia Mallea, an environmental historian. “By keeping his finger on the pulse of topics that are most timely and interesting, he has enjoyed a level of public recognition that most historians never attain.”
Brinkley traced the history of American environmental conservation through several of his books, including his most recent release, “Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America,” and other works including “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America” and “The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom.” His upcoming book is titled “Silent Spring Revolution: John F. Kennedy, Rachel Carson, Stewart Udall, and the Environmental Movement, 1961–1964.”
Five of his books have been selected as New York Times “Notable Books of the Year,” and five became New York Times bestsellers.
Brinkley holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and master’s and doctoral degrees from Georgetown University. He has received honorary doctorates from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.