The following excerpt from an article written by Mike Pearson, appeared July 7 in The Blade.
Are historians born or created?
Ask Perrysburg native Douglas Brinkley, and he puts the onus squarely on his parents, whom he credits with dragging him to various historical sites while he was growing up in northwest Ohio.
It took only a few such trips before he was bitten by the history bug.
“My mom was a high school English teacher, and my dad worked for Owens Illinois. We would go around the country in our 24-foot Coachman trailer, so I got to visit a lot of American history sites when I was a boy,” the presidential scribe recalled during a recent chat with The Blade. “[Places like] Harry Truman’s Independence [Missouri) or Martin Luther King Jr.’s Atlanta. We would actually do history tourism, and it influenced me a lot. I would get little booklets and read up on all these moments in American history.”
“By the time I went to the Ohio State University in 1978, I knew I wanted to be a history major, and was already thinking I might want to find a way to be a history professor some day. I had a curiosity and a love for understanding America’s past. While at Ohio State, I got my first article published in a journal, and I got hooked after that.”
Hooked might be an understatement. With more than 20 books to his credit, Mr. Brinkley has written on such subjects as Teddy Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Richard Nixon, Dean Acheson, and Jimmy Carter. He returns home this week for a pair of historical talks: The first on his latest book, American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race, and the second to mark the 225th anniversary of the Battle of Fallen Timbers.