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The 39th Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lecture Series

An Evening with Douglas Brinkley

Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 7 p.m.
Drake University Knapp Center 


Douglas Brinkley is a bestselling author, presidential historian, conservationist, and educator. He is known in the U.S. and worldwide for work that explores the legacies of American presidents, journalists, and civil rights leaders, and applies historical lessons to modern issues. 

Brinkley is professor of history at Rice University and a fellow at the James Baker III Institute of Public Policy. He can frequently be seen on television and in popular media as a presidential historian for CNN News; contributing editor to Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times Book Review, and American Heritage magazines; and author of numerous bestselling works of nonfiction. 

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 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.

For more information, contact Erica Hartschen, at 515-271-4990 or

Learn more about the Lectureship

The Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lecture Series is made possible by a gift from the late Melva and Martin Bucksbaum, longtime member of Drake's governing board. Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lectureship Committee: Neil Hamilton (chair), Julian Archer, James Autry, Pamela Bass-Bookey, Michael Gartner, Janis Ruan, Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan, and Eleanor Zeff.

Previous Lecturers

  • Billy Collins & Clint Smith
  • Krista Tippett
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy
  • Peter Neufeld
  • Nina Totenberg
  • Tim Gunn
  • Walter Isaacson
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • James Balog
  • Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter
  • Vicente Fox
  • Garrison Keillor
  • Twyla Tharp
  • Dr. Azar Nafisi
  • Dr. Maya Angelou
  • Bill Bryson
  • Thomas R. Pickering
  • Erik Peterson
  • Nicholas Kristof
  • Bob Costas
  • Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
  • David Chipperfield
  • Dr. Jane Goodall
  • Tim Russert
  • Sarah Jones
  • Salman Rushdie
  • Wynton Marsalis
  • Michael Beschloss
  • Earvin 'Magic' Johnson
  • Ken Burns
  • Bill Moyers
  • Martin Marty & Archbishop Rembert Weakland
  • Marian Wright Edelman
  • Senator Paul Simon
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • David McCullough
  • Ben Bradlee
  • Thomas Friedman