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Presidential Historian visits Grand Rapids

Posted on April 12, 2007

Award-winning presidential historian H. W. Brands will visit Grand Rapids to discuss his next book, tentatively titled "Franklin D. Roosevelt: His Life and Times." The author of books on Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, and now Franklin Roosevelt, Brands is writing an authentic history of the United States in biography.

The event is hosted by Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum.

Brands will speak Thursday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum auditorium in downtown Grand Rapids.

“Brands is one of America’s greatest biographers,” said Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies. “His books are engaging, well researched, and insightful. Moreover, he is a first-rate speaker -- energetic, passionate, accessible to students. It’s little wonder this upcoming visit will be the fifth time the Hauenstein Center has hosted him.”

Brands has written 20 books, coauthored or edited five others, and published dozens of articles and scores of reviews. His writings have received critical and popular acclaim. "The First American" was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the "Los Angeles Times" Prize, as well as a "New York Times" bestseller. "The Age of Gold" was a "Washington Post" Best Book of 2002 and a "San Francisco Chronicle" bestseller. "Andrew Jackson" was a "Chicago Tribune" Best Book of 2005 and a "Washington Post" bestseller. 

He is a member of various honorary societies, including the Society of American Historians and the Philosophical Society of Texas. He is a regular guest on national radio and television programs, and is frequently interviewed by the American and foreign press. His writings have been published in several countries and translated into German, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

Brands attended Stanford University where he studied history and mathematics. He earned graduate degrees in mathematics and history, and a doctorate in history from the University of Texas at Austin. He served as a member of the history faculty at Texas A&M University for 17 years.

For more information, contact the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at (616) 331-2770, or visit, or call GVSU News and Information Services at (616) 331-2221.

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