Rick Shenkman

Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the History News Network

Rick Shenkman is the founder of George Mason University's popular History News Network, a website that features leading historians' perspective on current events. An associate professor of history at George Mason University, he can regularly be seen on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. He is a New York Times best-selling author of six history books, including Legends, Lies & Cherished Myths of American History and Presidential Ambition: How the Presidents Gained Power, Kept Power and Got Things Done (HarperCollins, 1999). His latest book is Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter (Basic Books, June 2008).

Educated at Vassar and Harvard, Mr. Shenkman is an Emmy award-winning investigative reporter and the former managing editor of KIRO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Seattle. In 1997 he was the host, writer and producer of a prime time series for The Learning Channel inspired by his books on myths. In 2008 he was elected a Fellow of the Society of American Historians. He gives lectures at colleges around the country on several topics, including American myths and presidential politics. He is a member of the board of directors of The Dreyfuss Initiative, the civics project of the actor Richard Dreyfuss.

   

Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter

"A smart, stylish, and witty wrestling match with the most difficult problem a democracy can face."--Rick Perlstein

"The bad news is that Americans are ignorant, shortsighted, and swayed by meaningless phrases; the good news is that things could get better -- if we start speaking honestly about the problem. Rick Shenkman's book is a crucial starting point in that process."--Jon Wiener

"At a moment when Americans are choosing leaders, Rick Shenkman’s brisk, provocative and vigorously argued book implores us to rethink our roles as citizens and improve our political environment. There could not be a better time for this important message."--Michael Beschloss

"With wit, passion and devastating evidence, Shenkman compels us, the praised and petted "American people," to look in the mirror for an explanation of why our elections are travesties of informed, intelligent debate. Lively and crucial, the book reminds us, however we vote, that there's no such animal as "democracy for dummies."--Bernard Weisberger

 

   
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"Provocative ... stimulating and entertaining"--Robert V. Remini The Columbia History of Post-World War II America (ed. by Mark Carnes)
Chapter 12: "Television, Democracy, and Presidential Politics" This chapter traces the interplay of television and politics in the 20th century.

New York Times Bestseller

"Facts go only skin-deep, but they can prickle memorably, which is why books like this, disabusing us of our cherished bunk, are useful and fun." -- New York Times Book Review

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"Twelve well-researched chapters cover subjects from patriotism to saints and scalawags. A book that's sure to stimulate discussion, amuse, and perhaps even anger those who cling to traditional views."--School Library Journal "The historian roams the globe and the pages of history, calling up popular images and replacing them with more prosaic accounts and the reasons the mythic versions evolved in the first place. No person, event, or thing is safe from Shenkman's corrections...."--Booklist "Shenkman and Reiger have done a great job of assembling and presenting the color and romance--the fun and frolic--of American history."--Holman Hamilton, Late Professor of History, University of Kentucky