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Gingrich’s authorized biographer talks about forthcoming book

“He is a very interesting political figure of our times,” author Craig Shirley said of presidential contender Newt Gingrich.

“You’re hard pressed to think of somebody who has been so much a part of the national debate for over 30 years without being elected president of the United States. … He is singularly unique. He is sui generis.”

Shirley’s decision to write a book about the former House Speaker — “Citizen Newt,” which is set to be released in the Spring — seems like a brilliant one considering Gingrich’s precipitous rise in the polls, though Shirley couldn’t have known just how superb the timing for release would be when he decided to take on the project while he was penning a book on Reagan.

Shirley’s book, which is billed as the “authorized biography” of Gingrich and for which Gingrich sat for interviews, will focus on Gingrich’s career from when he first ran for Congress in 1973 up through the night of the 1994 midterm elections when the Republicans, under his stewardship, took back the House of Representatives. Shirley talked to The Daily Caller about some the qualities Gingrich exhibited back then, and what he thinks of his subject’s current run for the White House. Continue reading Gingrich’s authorized biographer talks about forthcoming book

Preface from “December 1941”

In 1941 a B-25 Mitchell bomber contained 107,156 rivets, each one inserted by hand. Often a woman’s hand.

That year, there were as many people on the left, such as Lowell Thomas and Al Smith, who were part of the isolationist America First Committee as there were people on the right, such as Charles Lindberg and Herbert Hoover.

The U.S.O. was created in 1941, as was the comic book character, “Captain America.” The first time an organ was played at a baseball game was in Chicago in 1941 and the first television commercial aired was in 1941 to tout Bulova Watches. The “Red Ryder” BB gun was also first introduced.

In 1941, the United States of America went to war with the Axis Powers including Japan, Germany and Italy, changing America radically and forever. Continue reading Preface from “December 1941”

Carl Cannon’s “Morning Note” Featuring “December 1941”

Good morning. It’s Thursday, December 1, 2011, and 70 years ago today, Americans awoke expecting that they had a reasonable chance of escaping the war that seemed to be inexorably enveloping the world. By the end of that fateful day, many in the United States sensed that this hope was fading.

Today is also the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 State of the Union address. It came 10 weeks after he announced the Emancipation Proclamation – and less than three weeks after the midterm congressional elections revealed ambivalence among voters for that policy. Lincoln’s Republican Party added five new senators, but the Democrats picked up 34 seats in the House, along with the governorship of New York.

Lincoln’s Dec. 1, 1862 address did not dwell on partisan politics. He reached, as usual, much higher – and delivered some of the most memorable words of his presidency:

“Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history,” the president said. “In giving freedom to the slave, we ensure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of earth.”

Alas, the rhetoric on the 2012 campaign trail is not so lofty. Among those who seem to realize it are the governors in the Party of Lincoln. Gathering in Orlando, they suggested that one their own would make a fine president, but few are willing to say just yet which Republican governor they actually have in mind. Caitlin Huey-Burns is at the RGA conference and filed this report

Before returning to December 1941, I’d also point you to three other stories by RCP reporters and contributors: Continue reading Carl Cannon’s “Morning Note” Featuring “December 1941”

Matt Lewis Interviews Craig Shirley for the Daily Caller and “Matt Lewis and the News”

Seventy years ago today, America was a very different place politically and culturally. Americans were going to a lot of movies, smoking a lot of cigarettes, and generally looking forward to Christmas. They never expected what was about to come one week later.

Craig Shirley’s new book, “December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World” chronicles each of the 31 days of that historic month, detailing cultural and political events as they unfolded.

Shirley — a noted biographer of Ronald Reagan — spent countless hours accumulating the vast troves of information included in the tome. He culled information from original sources like private diaries, but also found telling bits of information in the public record. For example, he notes a December 1 Idaho Times headline which read: “Nazis See Fall of Moscow Near.” Meanwhile, the Bismarck Tribune reported seventy years ago today that, “‘Wise Statesmanship’ Might Save Situation, Japs Tell Reporters.”

(Listen to a podcast of my full conversation with Craig Shirley here.) Continue reading Matt Lewis Interviews Craig Shirley for the Daily Caller and “Matt Lewis and the News”