Florida Atlantic University - University Communications

Best-Selling Author to Keynote Alan B. Larkin Symposium on the American Presidency

Best-selling author David Halberstam (at right) will address the headline-making combination of war, media and the presidency as the featured guest speaker at the inaugural Alan B. Larkin Symposium on the American Presidency Feb. 15-16. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author will kick off a two-day symposium exploring the public/private roles of America’s commanders-in-chief during wartime and how the mass media have portrayed the wars and those who waged them.

Halberstam will speak on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 4 p.m., at the Carole and Barry Kaye Auditorium in the University Center on the Boca Raton campus. His keynote address is titled “Selling War in a Media Age: The Presidency and Public Opinion in the American Century.” His well-known and compelling books include examinations of the Vietnam War during the Kennedy era, the Korean War and the state of America in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks under the Bush administration.

On Friday, Feb. 16, a full schedule of presentations and discussions will begin at 9 a.m. in the Live Oak Pavilion. The sessions, featuring noted historians, professors and political analysts from across the country, will cover topics such as the Cold War, Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative and selling the Iraq wars.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer such a high level of speakers for our inaugural Alan B. Larkin Symposium,” said Stephen Engle, chair of the department of history. “We have every expectation that the symposium will become the central event in the study of the American presidency in the historical field, attracting and featuring the nation's foremost authorities on the American presidency."

The symposium is part of a generous endowment to the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters history department by the family of Alan B. Larkin. Larkin, a magazine publisher who died in 2002, had a true passion for American history, particularly the American presidency. During his lifetime, Larkin collected original signed letters from every U.S. president from George Washington to George W. Bush. The Larkin family hopes the symposium will explore different components of the American executive branch of government and its significance to the political culture of the United States, as well as expand FAU’s public profile both locally and nationally.

For more information on the two-day symposium, visit www.fau.edu/larkin or call the history department at ext. 7-3840. All lectures and presentations are free and open to the public.

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