Immersed in Great Affairs

Allan Nevins and the Heroic Age of American History

By Gerald L. Fetner

Subjects: Public Policy
Paperback : 9781438450667, 255 pages, January 2004
Hardcover : 9780791459737, 255 pages, January 2004

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Table of contents



Introduction: Color and Light

1. Progressive-era Values and Influences (1890–1917)

2. Journalism in Its "Higher Walks" (1913–31)

3. Crossroads of American History (1913–27)

4. Biography in the "Victorian Manner" (1927–45)

5. The Temper of Modern Times (1929–39)

6. Capitalism, Power, and the Historian (1934–40)

7. America, "Projected into World Leadership" (1940–68)

8. History, "Broader, Deeper, and More Mature" (1945–71)

Afterword: A "Public Enthusiasm for History"




A biography of the influential journalist and historian Allan Nevins.


Immersed in Great Affairs is the first book-length biography of noted historian and journalist Allan Nevins. In a career that spanned nearly three-quarters of the twentieth century, Nevins won two Pulitzer Prizes, helped draft John F. Kennedy's acceptance speech at the 1960 Democratic National Convention, composed the monumental eight-volume history of the American Civil War, Ordeal of the Union, and associated with, among others, Adlai Stevenson, Walter Lippmann, Arthur Schlesinger Sr., Charles Scribner, Abraham Flexner, and John D. Rockefeller Jr. This book traces his beginnings as a journalist in the early 1900s with the New York Evening Post and the New York World through his years as a contributor to the New York Times Magazine. Nevins not only influenced thoughtful, general readers through his articles, editorials, and reviews, but also made a lasting impression on the writing of American history and nurtured a whole generation of young scholars as DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University. A narrative historian in an age of growing reliance on social science concepts and theories, Nevins remained committed to telling a story and to using history to teach moral lessons.

Gerald L. Fetner received his Ph.D. in American History from Brown University and has taught at Rhode Island College and Salve Regina College. He has held administrative positions at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and the City University of New York, and he is currently Director of Foundation and Government Grants at the Educational Broadcasting Corporation in New York City. He is the author of Ordered Liberty: Legal Reform in the Twentieth Century.