Irwin F. Gellman, Ph.D.
...prolific author, respected history scholar, engaging public speaker and successful businessman
Irwin Gellman has had a fascinating career as an author, scholar, speaker and businessman.
Dr. Gellman taught for a decade at Morgan State College in Baltimore and also served as an academic dean. From 2001-2003, he was a Research Fellow at the California State Library. At Chapman University, he held the Allergan Chair of Modern American History from 1999-2000 and was Director of the Center for Cold War Studies from 1997-2000. He was Trustees’ Professor from 1997-2000. He also taught at the University of California, Irvine in 1999 and 2001.
He has given speeches across the United States; has been widely interviewed on radio and television; and has been featured in documentaries about President Eisenhower and the remembrance about the July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing.
A respected author, Dr. Gellman’s first three books offered deep insights about Franklin Roosevelt and his administration. His last three books cover the period between 1946-1961 and highlight the impact of Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and JFK on the politics of that era.
Irwin Gellman’s article, “The St. Louis Tragedy” was the basis for the movie, “The Voyage of the Damned.” His latest book, CAMPAIGN OF THE CENTURY: Kennedy, Nixon, and the Election of 1960 is a major work on that seminal Presidential campaign.
Dr. Gellman served as an advisor to the Miller Center’s Presidential Recording project at the University of Virginia from 1999 to 2002. In Newport Beach, he was active on the Literacy Council of the Newport Beach Public Library from 1995 to 2005.
He lived in Southern California for many years where he owned a successful real estate business that specialized in syndications and property management. He was an active volunteer in numerous non-profits, including the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and the UCI Humanities Associates. He also served on the California State Library Foundation Board from 1995 to 1998.
Irwin Gellman was born in Philadelphia and raised in Baltimore. His bachelors and masters degrees are from the University of Maryland in College Park. He received his doctorate in diplomatic history from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
Irwin and his wife, Joanne, currently live in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
Interview with John Rothmann on KGO-AM on January 5, 2022 (audio only) https://www.kgoradio.com/johnrothmann/
Note: YouTube has several videos of speeches with additions being added on a regular basis.
CAMPAIGN OF THE CENTURY: Kennedy, Nixon, and the Election of 1960 (Yale University Press, 2022)
THE PRESIDENT AND THE APPRENTICE: Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon 1952-1961 (Yale University Press, 2015)
THE CONTENDER: Richard Nixon: The Congress Years 1946-1952 (Simon & Schuster’s Free Press, 1999)
SECRET AFFAIRS: Franklin Roosevelt, Cordell Hull and Sumner Welles (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995; updated with new introduction by Enigmas Books, 2002)
GOOD NEIGHBOR DIPLOMACY: United States’ Policies in Latin America 1933-1945 (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979)
ROOSEVELT AND BATISTA: Good Neighbor Diplomacy in Cuba, 1933-1945 (University of New Mexico Press, 1973)
CAMPAIGN OF THE CENTURY: Kennedy, Nixon, and the Election of 1960
“CAMPAIGN OF THE CENTURY brings much that’s new to this frequently but not always successfully covered topic, and along with Gellman’s earlier books, provides invaluable depth of insight on Richard Nixon at three critical stages of his career. What’s more, Gellman’s steadfast refusal to psychoanalyze the most complex and confounding president of the 20th century—a tendency most writers are helpless to resist—is both surprising and surprisingly refreshing, and that alone would make CAMPAIGN OF THE CENTURY essential reading.”
Steve Nathans Kelly, New York Journal of Books
“Irwin Gellman’s stunning overdue rewrite of the 1960 election puts paid to Theodore White’s celebratory presidential fable. Readers may now decide whether the republic was better served by outcomes written by winners or by truths recovered by a conscientious historian.”
David Levering Lewis, Pulitzer Prize winner for biography and author of The Improbable Wendell Wilkie
“Six decades after the 1960 presidential election, Irwin Gellman is the first historian to peel back the powerful myths shrouding that contest. The engaging and carefully documented story that emerges is startling and fresh . . . An impressively balanced portrait of the strengths and weaknesses of Kennedy, Nixon and their teams.”
Will Swift, author of The Kennedys Amidst the Gathering Storm and Pat and Dick: The Nixons, An Intimate Portrait of a Marriage
“In CAMPAIGN OF THE CENTURY, the third volume in historian Irwin Gellman’s life of Richard Nixon, the author makes the most documented case yet that, had the 27 electoral votes of Illinois and those of Texas (24) been investigated and given thorough recounts, the election would have swung from Democrat John F. Kennedy to Republican Nixon.”
John Gizzi, Chief political columnist and White House correspondent, Newsmax
“As usual, the indefatigable Irwin Gellman explores heretofore overlooked archival resources in his successful quest to shed new light on the pivotal 1960 election. It will be difficult for any presidential scholar to ignore this important contribution to the history of our controversial 37th president.”
Melvin Small, author of The Presidency of Richard Nixon
“At last, a scholar has gotten the incessantly romanticized 1960 election campaign right. Irv Gellman provides a thoroughly researched, provocative account of an election that may indeed have been ‘stolen.’”
David A. Nichols, author of Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower’s Secret Campaign against Joseph McCarthy
“Theodore White’s Making of the President 1960 cast a powerful spell. Generations of journalists and historians have made the image of gallant Jack and sweaty Dick into conventional wisdom. Now comes Nixon scholar Irwin Gellman to present a more balanced and fact-based view. Digging deep into archives neglected by most historians of the 1960 race, Gellman has written a surprising, illuminating, and fascinating account.”
Evan Thomas, author of Robert Kennedy and Being Nixon
“This book should receive every accolade the publishing industry can give it, including the Pulitzer Prize.”
John Rothmann, talk show host, KGO-AM, San Francisco, CA
THE PRESIDENT AND THE APPRENTICE: Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon 1952-1961
“Gellman…is a prodigious researcher. His new book can be mined for many gems about the American Presidency, US policies in the 1950s, and the evolution of the cold war after Stalin’s death. He also charts the tides, tensions and treacherous of America politics…Future scholars will need to take account of his evidence…Gellman’s decades of parsing written records earn him the right to remind other writers that ‘they are supposed to think critically about their sources.’ ”
Robert Zoellick, former President of the World Bank/US trade rep (Financial Times review)
“Gellman is a prodigious researcher…in a fascinating chapter on Nixon’s health, Gellman breaks new ground in understanding the man.”
Timothy Naftali, The New York Times Book Review
“An important work and one sure to cause controversy.”
“An illuminating new book.”
Jacob Heilbrunn, The National Interest
“Irv Gellman gives us a clear and carefully researched look at Ike as a leader and mentor of Richard Nixon. He provides plenty of new material that provides a fresh look at this important relationship.”
George P. Shultz, author of Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State
“The conclusions and research are irrefutable. Gellman is spot-on about Ike’s management style, his and Nixon’s working relationship, his strengths as a bureaucratic leader, his civil rights record, his handling with Nixon of McCarthy, his impact on domestic policy, his handling of the Sputnik episode, and his dominance of and leadership in foreign policy. Overall, a wonderfully succinct summary of very complex stuff. This will be, hands down, the most important book ever written on Nixon’s vice presidency and his relationship to the president.”
David A. Nichols, author of A Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Revolution
“Irwin Gellman, the world’s premier Nixon scholar, breaks new ground with his fascinating portrait of Nixon’s unprecedented and still unacknowledged activist vice-presidency and his complicated relationship with a brilliant President Eisenhower. Gellman’s narrative is based on his unsurpassed knowledge of a vast array of valuable but often underused source materials.”
Melvin Small, author of The Presidency of Richard Nixon
“THE PRESIDNT AND THE APPRENTICE is an important, illuminating book. There has been a great deal written about Eisenhower and Nixon in recent years, but none of us has done the archival work done by Irv Gellman, or even close.”
Evan Thomas, author of Ike’s Bluff, Robert Kennedy and Being Nixon
“THE PRESIDENT AND THE APPRENTICE is going to change everyone’s v+-iew of how central Nixon was to the emergence of the modern Republican Party.”
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker to the US House of Representatives
“THE PRESIDENT AND THE APPRENTICE fulfills its ambitions so successfully that no future study of the Eisenhower Nixon years can afford to ignore what Gellman has accomplished. His insights illuminate every significant issue from Ike’s election in 1952 to the rise of Nixon as his successor, all with awesome scholarship. This is a major work of history and biography."
Herbert Parmet, author of Richard Nixon and His America
“Irwin Gellman’s superb research and plausible reconstruction of the Eisenhower-Nixon relationship may well revolutionize the meaning of historical revisionism. THE PRESIDENT AND THE APPRENTICE is an unsettling tour de force.”
David Levering-Lewis, author of King: A Biography and W.E.B. Dubois: A Biography, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography
“Irwin Gellman has emerged from years in the archives to tell the fascinating story of President Dwight Eisenhower and his relationship with his vice president, Richard Nixon. Gellman dispels the fog that has long enveloped this subject and casts new light on a critical Cold war presidency. Masterfully written, THE PRESIDENT AND THE APPRENTICE is a must read for anyone who, like me, loves good political history.”
Allen Matusow, author of The Unravelling of America
“Of all the presidential teams, Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon had one of the most puzzling personal relationships, but Irwin Gellman has relentlessly uncovered or reevaluated every piece of documentary evidence to explain how together the modern vice presidency.”
Donald A. Ritchie, author of Reporting from Washington: The History of the Washington Press Corps
“Eisenhower’s reputation has recently received more positive reviews, even from liberals, who praise his restraint in foreign policy and, of course, his warnings about the ‘military-industrial complex.’ His vice president, Nixon, has received no such rehabilitation…Gellman, an independent scholar and writer of four previous books on American presidents, strives mightily here to balance the scales…Although he doesn’t discount Nixon’s character flaws, Gellman asserts that Eisenhower respected Nixon and valued his views on a variety of issues…A worthy effort at reappraisal.”
Jay Freeman, Booklist
“Gellman’s take on Nixon restores real balance to the study of the man, and his important role in American politics. This is a deeply researched book using archival and published material. It shows just how intimate (Eisenhower’s and Nixon’s) relationship was, how much Nixon did for Ike , and indeed how Nixon shaped the modern GOP as Ike’s vice president…Nixon, in short, was central to Ike’s widely respected presidency.”
Geoffrey Wawro, History Book Club
“Received orthodoxies are as boring in history as they are in other fields of constant inquiry…No matter what the received orthodoxy…the field of history only benefits from dissenters consulting the records, marshaling their facts, and making a concerted assault on the ramparts. The process keeps academics on their toes, keeps interpretation from calcifying into cant, and not the smallest thing, very often makes for great reading…Irwin Gellman’s new book is a perfect a case-in-point as the current season is likely to provide.”
Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly
“Thanks to this…tightly written and magnificently researched volume by Irwin F. Gellman, 20 years in the making…Richard Nixon’s eight years as Dwight D. Eisenhower’s vice president are up for reexamination.”
John R. Coyne Jr., The Washington Times
“…introduces the reader to a Nixon few knew about…a truly unique work of history…an unforgettable read.”
John Gizzi, Newsmax
THE CONTENDER: Richard Nixon: The Congress Years, 1946-1952
“A history professor at Chapman College in Orange, California, Gellman…now turns to Nixon. Always interesting, sometimes downright compelling, this is a revisionist biography with a capital R, as Gellman criticizes previous biographers from all parts of the political spectrum…Gellman’s use of primary documents is impressive: there is no question that he has turned up some new evidence…Gellman views the president-to-be as a skilled, often warm congressman who spoke and voted his conscience. Gellman concedes that Nixon was no saint, ‘but neither was an outrageous Red-baiter, nor a crooked fund-raiser, nor a smarmy politician who smeared his opponents.’ Because Gellman’s revision is the key to the book, it will be of special interest to professional historians. The writing is accessible, though, to anybody interested in post-WWII American history.”
“A meticulously researched revisionist account…Basing his conclusions on the recently declassified personal papers, Gellman concludes that the popular image of Nixon as a ruthless liar and conniver who rose to national prominence through irresponsible Red-baiting is actually a myth… “
SECRET AFFAIRS: Franklin Roosevelt, Cordell Hull and Sumner Welles
A diplomatic historian…, Gellman now beckons general readers with a claim to having ‘extended the traditional boundaries of nonfiction, to tell the most fascinating and tragic story of the New Deal years’… “
“…SECRET AFFAIRS is well organized and written; while integrating a range of personalities and contexts. Gellman’s study is never ambiguous. This is an important book which should command the interests of scholars and general public alike.”
William T. Walker, Presidential Studies Quarterly
“Gellman’s research is solid, as is his grasp of both the detail and the outlines of American foreign policy in the 1930s and World War II years.”
Warren F. Kimball, Journal of American History
“…Gellman has combined meticulous research with Washington gossip for a fascinating piece of history.”
“Cordell Hull seemed the safest of bets…just about right, come to think of it, for a really solid burst of revisionist history. This he has now got, and in heaping measure, from Irwin F. Gellman.”
Christopher Hitchens, Times Literary Supplement
*All programs available in “Live” or “Remote” formats
In general, contents of CAMPAIGN OF THE CENTURY can be discussed:
- a-Kennedy’s and Nixon’s relationship before and after the election
- b-J. Edgar Hoover’s relationships with the Kennedys
- c-Nixon’s relationship with Republican leaders and famous personalities of the day
- d-The impact of Catholicism on the election
- e-The non-impact of Black voters on the election
- f-The importance of the Presidential debates
- g-The voting irregularities in Texas and Cook County, IL
- h-The reaction by Eisenhower and other Republican leaders to Nixon’s defeat
The Polarization of American Politics: From Herbert Hoover to Joe Biden
Throughout American history, partisans have fought to see that their candidates were victorious. Sometimes, the battle degenerated to the lowest levels of personal insults and outrageous accusations. This fighting to win has moved to polarization. The struggle to triumph now focuses on ideological differences between what is the so-called the right and the left. Liberals and conservatives and their most extreme spokesmen wage political warfare so that their champions triumph. These struggles have become a major factor in upcoming elections in general and the presidency specifically.
The Diplomacy of the Cold War: From FDR to Joe Biden
The United States during the last eight decades has moved from isolationism to being the globe’s superpower, and its national interests include military, economic and political influence. At the end of World War II, the United States ruled supreme and fought the spread of worldwide communism. With the demise of the Soviet Union and the growth of the Peoples Republic of China and the anarchy in the Middle East, the United States has altered some of its priorities. The United States now has to take into consideration a multitude of considerations from Western Europe to China and Latin America to Africa. Global climate issues have also been made part of the diplomatic equation. How the United States has shifted its emphasis from anti-communism to the present struggle against terrorism is a significant change. How the United States deploys its global resources in the future will determine whether the United States remains the undisputed superpower.
The Civil Rights Struggle in the United States: From Harry Truman to Barack Obama
The post World War II civil rights struggle in the United States began with the political actions that President Harry Truman took. Dwight Eisenhower pushed the momentum further with concrete actions such as the 1957 Civil Rights Act. Lyndon Johnson followed with landmark legislation. Since those laws were passed, the nation has concentrated on enforcing its laws and bringing African Americans into the American mainstream. Why the United States has not ended racism is the unanswered question for which both blacks and whites are to blame.
The United States and Israel: From the Holocaust to the Present
The Third Reich slaughtered six million Jews during its reign of terror. As a direct consequence, the state of Israel was established. Since that beginning, Arabs in the Middle East have advocated the destruction of Israel. The United States throughout this struggle has supported the existence of the Jewish state with diplomatic efforts and military equipment, if necessary. The fighting between Israel and its neighbors erupts periodically with no resolution in the offing. Currently, the White House and the Israelis differ widely on how to counter Iran’s growing prestige and power in the region. The direction of United States-Israeli relations in the future will depend on how the United States maintains its superpower status in the Middle East.
The American Presidency over the Last Hundred Years
Since the election of Woodrow Wilson, the authority of United States presidents has grown in status and power due to the wars that they fought. Wilson led the United States into World War I. Franklin Roosevelt made the New Deal his slogan and also led the Allied forces against the Axis in World War II. Harry Truman reacted to the North Korean invasion of the South and Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon became embroiled in Viet Nam. More recent presidents, George H.W. Bush, William Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, have focused on conflicts in the Middle East. With each one of these conflicts, the American presidency has gained more authority, and that trend seems likely to continue.
The President and the Apprentice
Based on the book, this speech explains the first major revision of how Dwight Eisenhower governed as president. This is also the first study, using the Richard Nixon archives, of how he served as vice president. The Eisenhower-Nixon association is critical to the study of the presidency from 1953 to 1961 in foreign, domestic and political affairs. Without understanding their relationship, such topics as Eisenhower’s brilliant management style, the mentoring of Nixon, the downfall of Joseph McCarthy, the civil rights struggle and American diplomacy in the 1950s remain a partial mystery. This program answers those major questions.
- 92nd Street Y (NY, NY)
- National Archives and Records Administration (DC)
- The Eisenhower Memorial Commission at The City Club (DC)
- The Colony Club (New York, NY)
- Chester County Book Company (PA)
- U.S. Capitol Historical Society (DC)
- The Smithsonian Institution (DC)
- William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library (AR)
- George Bush (41) Presidential Library and Museum (TX)
- Richard Nixon Presidential Library (CA)
- Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library (KS)
- Truman Center at The University of Missouri-Kansas City
- Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum (NY)
- Policy History Conference (OH)
- Policy History Conference (VA)
- BIO Conference (MA)
- The Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College (PA) (3 times)
- Princeton University (NJ)
- University of California, Irvine
- Texas Christian University
- The University of Montana
- Franklin and Marshall College (PA)
- California State University, San Luis Obispo
- Camden City College (NJ)
“Irv Gellman is a marvelous speaker---direct, funny, knows his stuff and knows his audience. He is especially good at puncturing historical myths and bringing clarity and common sense to the wonderful stories he tells.”
Evan Thomas, author of Robert Kennedy, Ike’s Bluff and Being Nixon and former professor at Princeton University
“At a place where the history of the American Revolution is mentioned daily, an inside look at the more recent history of Eisenhower and Nixon definitely stands out. It stood out even more with the dynamic presentation by Irv Gellman. Things we never knew about our 34th President… Amazing.”
Linda Hawley, House Chair, Historic Waynesborough (Paoli, PA)
“I have heard Irwin Gellman speak on two separate occasions: the first at the Metropolitan Republican Club where I introduced him and the second at the Colony Club, both in New York City. His presentations were informative and engaging and I highly recommend him as a speaker.”
Edward Cox, Chairman of the New York State Republican Committee
”Irv was very well received at UC Irvine. His poise, warmth, and knowledge permeated throughout his lecture and our guests were engaged the entire time. Irv also took a substantial amount of questions afterward and was happy to continue engaging with our audience well beyond his schedule time. We really enjoyed that Irv spoke freely, without notes, and was able to have a fluid conversation with our audience.”
Marijana Lekousis, Major Gifts Officer, School of Humanities, University of California, Irvine
“…with great thanks again! Everyone loved the program.”
Helen Houghton, Meeting Planner, The Colony Club (NY, NY)
“The Eisenhower Institute has had the good fortune to work with Professor Gellman on a variety of projects for many years. Most recently, Professor Gellman participated in the Eisenhower Institute’s Author Series at Gettysburg College. His presentation about his recent book, THE PRESIDENT AND THE APPRENTICE, was insightful, interesting and most of all very engaging for the Gettysburg College campus community of faculty students and administrators. Professor Gellman’s scholarly research work has benefitted all those interested in the American presidency. Moreover, Professor Gellman’s thorough research and critical analysis for THE PRESIDENT AND THE APPRENTICE is an exemplary model for our Gettysburg undergraduate students.”
Jeffrey M. Blavatt, Executive Director, Eisenhower Institute, Gettysburg College (PA)
“Superb speaker! Holds you on the edge of your chair with new, fact based insights and dramatic narrative. Eloquent and artful with surprises throughout. A winner. You will congratulate yourself on your new understanding of important events and people in American history.”
Brigadier General Carl Reddel, Executive Director of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, City Club of Washington (DC)
“Irv Gellman is a well-informed, funny, evocative, scholarly speaker whose ability to pose questions in a structured narrative keeps his audience at the ready to hear what he has to say and to ask good questions after the talk. Time moves quickly when he is in front of his audience.”
Dale A. Neuman, Director, Harry S. Truman Center for Governmental Affairs at University of Missouri-Kansas City
Irwin Gellman, Ph.D. is available for speeches, panel discussions, debates and extended residencies through the MasterMedia Speakers Bureau.
Tony Colao, President
MasterMedia Speakers Bureau
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