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Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley

Watch Part 1 of Douglas Brinkley’s presentation
Watch Part 2 of Douglas Brinkley’s presentation
Watch Part 3 of Douglas Brinkley’s presentation

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On April 25, 2022, the Frank Church Institute honored Dr. Douglas Brinkley, Presidential Historian and Recipient of the Frank and Bethine Church Award for Public Service.

Dr. Brinkley spoke on “Silent Spring Revolution: Why Environmentalism is a Winning Issue for Democracy.”

Dr. Douglas Brinkley has been hailed “America’s new past master,” and “the best of the new generation of American historians.” He is the author of a number of award-winning books including The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America; Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the American Conservation Movement and the forthcoming Silent Spring Revolution on the environmental movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s including Senator Church’s conservation legislation.

“Brinkley’s Theodore Roosevelt portrayed in The Wilderness Warrior was a conservationist visionary. At a time when growing concerns over global warming, over population, and sustainable land management dominate the headlines, Roosevelt’s stout resoluteness to protect the environment is a strong reminder of our national heritage, as well an increasingly urgent call to arms.”

Brinkley is a Professor of History and Baker Institute Fellow at Rice University. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Ohio State University and received his doctorate in U.S. Diplomatic History from Georgetown University in 1989. He then spent a year at both the U.S. Naval Academy and Princeton University teaching history. While a professor at Hofstra University, Brinkley spearheaded the American Odyssey course, in which he took students on numerous cross-country treks where they visited historic sites and met seminal figures in politics and literature. His 1994 book, The Magic Bus: An American Odyssey chronicled his first experience teaching this innovative on-the-road class, which became the progenitor of C-SPAN’s Yellow School Bus.

Before coming to Rice, Brinkley was the Clark Professor of History and Director of the Roosevelt Center at Tulane University. Previously, he served as Stephen E. Ambrose Professor of History and Director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans. He has been a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times Book Review and American Heritage; and a frequent contributor to the New York Times, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone and The Atlantic Monthly.

Brinkley is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Theodore Roosevelt Association, and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. He lives in Austin and Houston with his wife and three children.


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