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September 16, 2008

Emmy-award winning historian, renowned author to speak at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Award-winning presidential historian and best-selling author Michael Beschloss will speak Oct. 1 at Purdue University.

Beschloss, author of eight books, including New York Times best-seller "Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989," will speak at 8 p.m. in Stewart Center's Loeb Playhouse. His talk, titled "Presidential Courage & the Upcoming 2008 Elections," is part of Purdue Libraries' Distinguished Lecture Series and is free and open to the public. There will be a book sale and book signing of "Presidential Courage" following the lecture.

"We've been very fortunate to be able to have some of the great authors whose works have created quite a following for our lecture series," said James L. Mullins, dean of Purdue Libraries. "We are glad to bring in an authority on presidential history to discuss such a timely topic during this election season."

Beschloss, whom Newsweek magazine has called the nation's leading presidential historian, won an Emmy Award in 2005 for his role in creating the Discovery Channel series "Decisions that Shook the World," of which he was the host.

He has published eight books. His latest is "Presidential Courage," published in May. Other titles include: "Taking Charge," Beschloss' first volume on President Lyndon Johnson's newly released secret tapes; "Kennedy and Roosevelt: The Uneasy Alliance"; "Mayday: Eisenhower, Khrushchev and the U-2 Affair"; and "The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960-1963." He also co-wrote "At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War."

Beschloss serves as NBC News presidential historian and is the first person to hold such a position at a major network. Besides "Meet the Press," he appears regularly on "Today" and NBC programs. He also appears regularly on PBS's "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."

Beschloss holds honorary doctorates from Williams College, St. Mary's College in Maryland, and Lafayette College. He has received the state of Illinois' Order of Lincoln, and the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award from Independence, Mo. The Chicago native also is a trustee of the White House Historical Association, National Archives Foundation and the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs.

The lecture is supported by a gift to Purdue Libraries from the estate of Anna M. Akeley. The Office of the Provost is co-sponsor, and Purdue Libraries also received support from the university's departments of History and Political Science, and the Purdue Alumni Association.

Previous series speakers include former child soldier Ishmael Beah, international best-selling author Amy Tan, whose books include "The Joy Luck Club," NASA historian and Neil Armstrong biographer James R. Hansen and Patricia Albjerg Graham, a Purdue graduate who is now a Harvard professor of the history of education.

Writer: Jim Bush, (765) 494-2077,

Source: James L. Mullins, (765) 494-2900,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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