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Newsweek editor to give lecture at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The first lecture of the 2010 Sears Lecture Series at Purdue University will feature Jon Meacham as he discusses “Economic Leadership in a Time of Crisis: Then and Now.”

Jon Meacham Newsweek Editor

Meacham will open the lecture series with a grand historical overview, examining the limits of presidential influence over the economy, and outlining how presidents from Washington to Roosevelt to the present have confronted the challenges and opportunities of global crises.

The lecture will be at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 in Stewart Center’s Loeb Playhouse. The theme for the 2010 series is Presidential Leadership in Global Economic Crisis. All talks are free and open to the public.

The Sears Lecture Series is sponsored by the Department of History, which is housed in Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts.

Meacham will open the series with a grand historical overview, examining the limits of presidential influence over the economy, and outlining how presidents from Washington to Roosevelt to the present have confronted the challenges and opportunities of global crises.

Editor of Newsweek and author of “Franklin and Winston” and “American Lion,” Jon Meacham was named “one of the most influential editors in the news magazine business” by The New York Times.

Meacham is responsible for all day-to-day editorial operations of Newsweek and has written many cover stories. His bestseller, “Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship,” explored the fascinating relationship between the two leaders who charted the course of victory in World War II. Time magazine declared it “masterful,” and The Washington Post called it “a memorable achievement.”

His most recent New York Times bestseller, “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House” (2008), won the Pulitzer Prize for biography and was cited as an “unlikely portrait of a not always admirable Democrat, but a pivotal president, written with an agile prose that brings the Jackson saga to life.” His previous book, “American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation,” also was a New York Times bestseller.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Global Leader for Tomorrow of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Meacham has appeared on such programs as “The Charlie Rose Show,” “The Today Show,” “The O’Reilly Factor” and “The Colbert Report,” and is a regular guest on “Morning Joe.”

“This series aims to help our audience make sense of America’s situation in the worldwide downturn,” said William Gray, a professor of history and event organizer. “What power do American leaders really have to shape economic outcomes here and abroad? How, in the past, have presidents sought to mitigate the effects of global economic challenges? Is the Obama administration breaking new ground here, or following in the path of its predecessors?”

Sears Lecture Series speakers, topics and dates include:

  • Jon Meacham, editor of “Newsweek,” will present “Economic Leadership in a Time of Crisis: Then and Now” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 in Stewart Center’s Loeb Playhouse.
  • Robert Dallek, emeritus professor of history at UCLA, will present “Obama’s First Year: War, Peace, and the Economy in Historical Perspective” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall.
  • David Painter, associate professor of history at Georgetown University, will present “The Moral Equivalent of War? American Presidents and the Oil Crises of the 1970s” at 7:30 p.m. March 9 in Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall.
  • Amity Shlaes, a senior fellow in economic history at the Council on Foreign Relations, will present “Roosevelt and Obama: Getting to Recovery” at 7:30 p.m. March 23 in Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall.

The biennial series is named for the late Purdue historian Louis Martin Sears, who was a faculty member in the then joint Department of History and Political Science from 1920 until his retirement in 1956. Sears specialized in diplomatic history and biography and was the author of numerous books. The lecture series bearing his name is alternately produced by the history and political science departments in conjunction with Purdue Convocations.

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