I will digress, for the moment, with my first love in order to nominate two great historians, with whom I would love to engage in conversation, and more importantly, listen avidly to their perspectives about their work and research techniques.
Robert Dallek and Michael Beschloss are great presidential historians. Dallek retired from teaching recently, while still writing and publishing . Beschloss is active in his intellectual pursuits at this point in time, and continues to publish during this period.
My primary reason for choosing Dallek was his monumental work on Kennedy, and the vital perspective on John Kennedy's health, enumerating the many serious issues that Kennedy had to contend with veritably his entire adult life, which reminded me of the same kind of ongoing health issues that Franklin Roosevelt underwent before and during his presidency. Dallek brings to life in unprecedented detail the personal struggles which Kennedy dealt with each and every day.
Beschloss gave me an equally unprecedented perspective on the relationship between Roosevelt and Truman, his successor in 1945. These two men, one born into wealth and the other attempting to carve a living, at least for a time, out of a clothing store he co - owned, ended up on the same political ticket in FDR's final run for the presidency, with Truman being chosen as vice presidential nominee out of nowhere, with Roosevelt and Truman having met, I believe, only three times before the election. Beschloss brilliantly relates to us not only the relationship between the two men, but also the emergence of a total unknown having to fill Roosevelt's shoes after his death, to a president of historical stature, whether one agreed with him or not. The Truman Doctrine is one example of where this unknown took himself.
You will note that I take no side politically - I merely am choosing these two historians for their important work and their wonderful communicative strengths. I think that it would be great fun being in the same room with them.
Labels: Two Great Historians