Campus: Waterloo
Office: HH134

My present research interests have to do with politics and society in recent American history. In particular, I have two big, ongoing projects that are absorbing my attention:

1) A biography of Senator George S. McGovern, the liberal United States senator and 1972 Democratic presidential candidate from South Dakota. Although this will not be an official biography, Senator McGovern is cooperating with me and I intend to write about his life, legacy and influence on modern American politics. I am utilizing McGovern’s papers at Princeton and Dakota Wesleyan University, as well as numerous other archives, government documents, journalistic accounts and oral histories. If I have any energy left, I may also try to write an entirely separate account of the 1972 presidential elections, a crucial turning point in modern American politics.

2) A book about Ronald Reagan and his impact on the world. Reagan is a giant in modern American politics. For years, I have wanted to write some sort of account of Reagan that neither lionizes nor demonizes the man, but instead offers a more balanced view of his life and accomplishments. Already, I have accumulated thousands of pages of his presidential papers, as well as numerous accounts of him. Reagan has been a major influence on me personally. Writing a book about him is sort of like scaling Mount Everest. The Reagan chronicler must possess a great deal of patience. This project, therefore, is a long-term commitment.

Representative Publications:

With Peter Holloran, The 1980s: A Social History. Volume 9 of Social History of the United States; Series Editors: Daniel Walkowitz and Daniel Bender (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2008).

David Dellinger: The Life and Times of a Nonviolent Revolutionary (New York: New York University Press, 2006)

“The Anti-Vietnam War Movement, 1965-1975.” Extended encyclopedia entry. Immanuel Ness, ed. The Encyclopedia of American Social Movements (M. E. Sharpe, 2004).

“How New Was the New Left?” in Paul Buhle and John McMillian, eds., The New Left Revisited (Temple University Press, 2003).

The Turning: Vietnam Veterans Against the War (New York: New York University Press, 1999; published in a softcover edition in 2001 and selected by Choice as a Book of the Year in 2001).

“When Did the Sixties Happen? Searching for New Directions,” The Journal of Social History, September 1999.