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Arthur Schlesinger, Historian of Power, Dies at 89


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http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/28/washingt...IMYF3HYXWYMFHlg

"By DOUGLAS MARTIN

Published: February 28, 2007

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., the historian whose more than 20 books shaped discussions for two generations about America’s past, and who himself was a provocative, unabashedly liberal partisan, most notably in serving in the Kennedy White House, died last night in Manhattan. He was 89.

The cause was a heart attack, said Mr. Schlesinger’s son Stephen. He died at New York Downtown Hospital after being stricken in a restaurant.

Twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Mr. Schlesinger exhaustively examined the administrations of two prominent presidents, Andrew Jackson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, against a vast background of regional and economic rivalries. He strongly argued that strong individuals like Jackson and Roosevelt could bend history.

The notes he took for President John F. Kennedy to use in writing his own history, became, after the president’s assassination, grist for Mr. Schlesinger’s own “A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House,” winner of both the Pulitzer and a National Book Award in 1966.

His 1978 book on the president’s brother, “Robert Kennedy and His Times,” lauded the subject as the most politically creative man of his time, but acknowledged that Robert had played a larger role in trying to overthrow Castro than the author had acknowledged in “A Thousand Days.”

Mr. Schlesinger worked on both brothers’ presidential campaigns, and some critics suggested he had trouble separating history from sentiment. Gore Vidal called “A Thousand Days” a political novel, and many noted that the book ignored the president’s sexual wanderings. Others were unhappy he told so much, particularly taking the unusual step of claiming that the president was unhappy with his secretary of state, Dean Rusk.

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Long article. Just a brief excerpt above.

It's NYTimes, so read it while it's free.

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