Obama and FDR: A Faulty Comparison

by Aaron David Miller

With only 43 different presidents, (44 to account for Grover Cleveland’s two non-consecutive terms), there’s a natural tendency to compare and contrast our chief executives. The presidential rating game is alternately fun, silly and even potentially rewarding and educational.
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Posted in Contemporary History

John F. Kennedy’s Tips for Today’s Senate

A TIME FOR GREATNESS 1960 campaign brochure

John T. Shaw

If Senator John F. Kennedy was faced with the U.S. Senate of 2015, he would not recognize it with its frequent filibusters, fierce partisanship, and increasingly homogenous political parties in which few conservative Democrats and or liberal Republicans can be found. It is far different than the Senate in which Kennedy served from 1953 to 1960.
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Posted in Contemporary History

An Army Ranger NEVER Gives Up

by Nick Irving

Immediately after graduating high school, I was sent to Ft. Benning to attend US Army Basic training under the Option 40 contract (US Army Ranger Contract).  Before enlisting into the Army, my life long goal was to become a Navy SEAL sniper.  My childhood revolved around this dream and joined the Navy Sea Cadet program where they allowed me to go through the baby SEAL program.  I was Scuba (Padi) licensed at the age of 16, and could pass the Navy SEAL PT test.  As time came near, I went to MEPS, and the medical in processing portion before shipping off to the Navy for basic.  The lifelong dream ended fairly quickly for me after the color vision portion of the in processing. It was evident that I was color blind (Red/Green).  Read more ›

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Posted in Contemporary History, Military History

The Grateful Dead in the Age of Reagan


by Peter Richardson

Much to my surprise, one of the key characters in my cultural history of the Grateful Dead turned out to be Ronald Reagan. Both as California governor and as president, Reagan was an ideal foil for the Dead and their project.

As Reagan campaigned for governor in the summer of 1966, the Grateful Dead were making music, partying, skinny-dipping, and ignoring politics to death at Rancho Olompali, their bucolic retreat in Marin County. But if the revelers weren’t interested in politics, the opposite wasn’t true; in fact, youth culture played a significant role in California’s elections that year. “Their signs say, ‘Make love, not war,’” Reagan said about campus activists, “but it didn’t look like they could do either.” Hippies were another favorite target. “We have some hippies in California,” he told out-of-state audiences. “For those of you who don’t know what a hippie is, he’s a fellow who dresses like Tarzan, has hair like Jane, and smells like Cheetah.”
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Posted in Contemporary History

The Dulles Brothers and the Airport Bust

Stephen Kinzer John Dulles Portrait

by Stephen Kinzer

Who cares what is written in a book about dead people? Biographers may be pardoned for asking us that question; however, I came to find that my own research into the lives of the Dulles brothers has had a concrete, tangible effect that I never anticipated.
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Posted in Contemporary History

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For more than sixty years, St. Martin’s Press has published award-winning history books on a range of subjects.

Drawing on this impressive stable of experts from ancient, medieval, modern, contemporary, and military history, The History Reader offers articles, interviews, insights, and further reading for history buffs and book lovers everywhere.

Newsworthy Books and Further Reading

Peter Ackroyd's third volume of his six part series on the history of England, Rebellion, gets a stellar feature in The New York Times Sunday Book Review.

The Reaper author Nick Irving goes on Fox to discuss his book.

New York Times bestseller Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis is featured in the Sunday Book Review.

Rebecca Frankel, author of War Dogs receives praise in The Washington Times.