Thomas Knock, History, interviewed about his book Rise of a Prairie Statesman: The Life and Times of George McGovern

New Books Network

Originally Posted: June 19, 2016

51luk8ax3RL._SL160_George McGovern is largely remembered today for his dramatic loss to Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential campaign, yet he enjoyed a long career characterized by many remarkable achievements. In Rise of a Prairie Statesman: The Life and Times of George McGovern (Princeton UP, 2016), the first in a projected two-volume biography of the senator and Democratic Party presidential nominee, Thomas Knock chronicles McGovern’s life and career from his Depression-era upbringing in South Dakota to his 1968 reelection campaign and emergence as a presidential contender. Knock describes McGovern’s transformation from a shy young boy into a confident debater who, after America went to war in 1941, volunteered for service in the Army Air Corps as a B-24 bomber pilot and flew 35 combat missions over Germany and Austria. Upon returning home, he embarked on a path that took him from the ministry to a Ph.D. in history and then the college classroom before he settled upon a career in politics. After serving two terms in the House of Representatives and as Director of Food for Peace in the Kennedy administration, in 1962 McGovern won a seat in the United States Senate, where he emerged as a prescient critic of America’s descent into the Vietnam War. In detailing his opposition to that expanding conflict, Knock not only shows how McGovern emerged as a national leader, but also demonstrates the relevance of his vision to the challenges our nation faces today. LISTEN

Voters may like the past but their minds are on the future

Fox 4

Originally Posted: June 9, 2016

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Campaign rhetoric may dwell on achievements of the past but voters are thinking about the future when they go to into ballot boxes, said SMU Professor Jeffrey Engel, director of SMU’s Center for Presidential History. “When we have an election where one candidate says, ‘I’m talking about the future’ and the other candidate says, ‘I’m talking about the past,’ the future candidate almost always wins,” Engel said.

Dedman College experts comment on Democrats’ internal struggles on display in Nevada

SMU News

Originally Posted: May 19, 2016

Comments below were taken from an SMU news release. READ MORE

DON’T SWEAT NEVADA, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION SHOULD BE FINE
Matthew Wilson

MATTHEW WILSON: Associate professor of Political Science

The Democratic Party was shaken this week when the Nevada State Convention descended into chaos, sparked by disruptive Bernie Sanders supporters. The scenes of anger and reports of death threats prompted some to ask, . “Is the Democratic National Convention suddenly at greater risk of being a disaster than the Republican National Convention?”

“No,” says Wilson. “Because that’s a really high bar.”

“The Democrats have all long underestimated the level of dissatisfaction with their own establishment that exists within the ranks,” Wilson continued. “The real anti-establishment anger has been made obvious on the Republican side with Trump’s campaign, but there’s a lot of that with Sanders’ movement as well and some of that bubbled to the surface this week.”

Wilson predicts the Democrats will orchestrate a “reasonably” smooth convention this summer, but did say there are other causes for concern revealed by the hubub in Nevada.

“The thing we can lose sight of is that Hillary Clinton would be the least popular candidate that either party has ever nominated, which is obscured by the fact that Trump is even more unpopular,” Wilson says. “Clinton is not beloved by the Democratic Party. The big worry is disaffected Sanders supporters could stay home or gravitate toward Trump if he’s able to reach out to them with his populist message.”

And Wilson doesn’t expect Sanders to do anything to allay those fears anytime soon.

“Sanders thrives on the anti-establishment sentiment,” Wilson says. “He thrives on this sense the game is rigged and the party bosses are cheating him, and he doesn’t want to tamp that down. Clearly he doesn’t want violence, but he’s perfectly happy having a certain amount of righteous anger.”

As for the Democratic Party’s handling of the Sanders and the Nevada protests, Wilson thinks the party is doing just fine, with the caveat that maybe they should let Sanders have some of the delegates he’s fighting for since it won’t make up the difference in the end. But Wilson did caution that more acrimony could lie ahead.

“June 7 is the last day of primaries,” Wilson says. “It will be very interesting to see what Bernie Sanders says on June 8.”

PROVIDING HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE TO ‘YEAR OF THE OUTSIDER’ IN POLITICS

Jeffrey A. EngelJEFFREY ENGEL: Director of the SMU Center for Presidential History

It’s not uncommon for politicians running for the presidency to flash their outsider status and promise to, “Clean up Washington,” but normally they’re at least long-time, card-carrying members of the party they’re running to represent.

Not so this year, courtesy Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Engel says historians might have to look back 200 years to find a similar scenario.

“Ronald Reagan, in some ways, was an outsider and Jimmy Carter was, in some ways, an outsider, but you might have to look back 100 years ago to find a nominee like Trump who, if you had asked six years ago, would have been a member of the opposite party,” Engel says.

Despite the recent chaotic protests at the Democrats’ Nevada State Convention, Engel thinks the Democratic National Convention will still be more unified than the Republican National Convention this summer.

“Alliances are not made between friends,” Engel says. “Alliances are made in opposition to common enemies, and Sanders and the Democrats are a great example of this. Sanders has had some questions or political reasons to identify as an independent instead of a Democrat, but he sure as heck won’t identify as a Republican.”

An appreciation for SMU’s Jeremy Adams, who helped us understand the past

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: May 11, 2016

Professor Jeremy Yvon leMercier duQuesnay Adams — the words roll off the tongue as if steeped in history, and surely they were.

The late professor of medieval European history at Southern Methodist University was himself a historical figure. Born in New Orleans to an old family of that old city wedded to another of New England, he grew up in Columbus and Cincinnati, the latter the venerable river city of Ohio with its own long history — both Native American for millennia and U.S. dating back to the 18th century. He knew all of this.

His father, Philip Rhys Adams, a name redolent of both Anglo and Dutch American history, was the distinguished director of the Cincinnati Art Museum and, during his long tenure, managed to acquire antiquities from many parts of the world both for the museum he adored and for his family. His son, Jeremy, handled and considered objects from the civilizations of the ancient Near East, from Egypt, Greece and Rome, and from the various landless migratory peoples who came from the steppes and the deserts of Central Asia to create a new, enriched Europe. READ MORE

The Dallas Man Who Inspired Yellow Submarine’s Jeremy Hillary Boob Has Died

Dallas Observer

Originally Posted: May 4, 2016

Jeremy DuQuesnay Adams didn’t live a life in music, but for the world at large it will be the thing he’ll always be remembered for. Adams, a longtime professor at SMU, was a brilliant scholar who dedicate his life to education and writing. But in 1968, he became a part of music history when he was immortalized as the inspiration for a major character in the Beatles’ animated film, Yellow Submarine. READ MORE

SMU Mourns Loss of Professor Jeremy duQuesnay Adams

SMU NEWS

Originally Posted: May 4, 2016

Distinguished SMU Professor of History Jeremy duQuesnay Adams, beloved by generations of students, honored by colleagues worldwide and the inspiration for a character in the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, died May 2, 2016 at the age of 82.

A memorial service is scheduled for Friday, May 6, at 11:00 a.m. in Perkins Chapel at SMU.

More than 40 years ago, Adams and his wife, Bonnie Wheeler of SMU’s Department of English, came to SMU, where they invented SMU’s interdisciplinary Medieval Studies Program with colleagues across the University and the Dallas area. Through the years, Adams’ courses on medieval history played a central role in the expansion and growing reputation of this program, which now offers a popular undergraduate minor and major and a master’s degree. Adams also taught at and directed SMU study-abroad programs in France and Spain and, most frequently, in the SMU-in-Oxford program in England. READ MORE

In Memoriam — Jeremy DuQuesnay Adams, Professor of History and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor

Adams2Dedman College is deeply saddened by the loss of Jeremy DuQuesnay Adams, Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor of History. Professor Adams passed away on May 2, 2016. A highly regarded scholar of medieval history, Professor Adams was a beloved teacher who influenced generations of students.

Professor Adams’ faculty profile lists his scholarly achievements; a recent article in the Dallas Observer highlights a lesser known aspect of his life.

He will be deeply missed.

Jeffrey Engel, Center for Presidential History, Is Sounding Presidential Important?

Presidential Historian Jeffrey Engel looks at the outcomes of Tuesday’s (April 26) primaries and notes the differences in the tones of victory speeches by Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

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