Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian

Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian by Richard Aldous (Image from

Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian by Richard Aldous (Image from


Arthur M Schlesinger JR, one of the major historians of the 20th century,  set the bar on shaping the late John F. Kennedy’s legacy.  His start as a historian began with his father a noted Harvard professor who encouraged his son to follow his dreams and goals.

In the years to come Schlesinger forged his own legacy at Harvard and beyond its walls.   He also established a career as a speech writer for different politicians even joined the staff on a few campaigns including Aladi Stevenson’s two presidential campaigns, JFK’s own run, and helped his brother Robert F. Kennedy too.

The author, Richard Aldous, a historian himself, teaches at Bard College.  He focuses in this biography is more the late historian’s professional life than on his family.    Although this is the case, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment reading this biography.  Often I start to feel bogged down by the text half or three quarters of the way through any biography I have read.  Eventually the feeling goes away and I finish most biographies feeling happy I read them.  With Aldous’s biography on Schlesinger I never felt this once. The biography remained just as engaging at the start through to the last period of the text.


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