Home A. Scott Berg to speak at Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum

A. Scott Berg to speak at Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum


The woodrow wilson Presidential Library and Museum will host Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer A. Scott Berg will be the guest speaker at its 2013 Annual Luncheon at noon Friday, Nov. 8 at the stonewall jackson hotel.

scottberg_hBerg was born in Connecticut in 1949 and moved with his family to Los Angeles eight years later. His father, the late Richard Berg, a promising writer at the height of television’s first golden age counted Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame as one of his many friends. Scott grew up surrounded by writers.

But his mom, Barbara, was a sidetracked historian. At 19 she took a brief time-out from college to raise four boys, and then reenrolled a quarter of a century later and earned her bachelor and master’s degree from UCLA. By then she had instilled in Berg a love of history to match her husband’s dedication to literature. With parents like these, he could have wound up writing historical novels, but instead he found his calling writing some of the most revealing biographies around: a National Book Award-winning biography of Fitzgerald and Hemmingway’s editor, Max Perkins, Max Perkins: Editor of Genius (1978); the epic life of immigrant film producer Samuel Goldwyn, Goldwyn: A Biography (1989): and the Pulitzer-winning story of aviator Charles Lindbergh, Lindbergh (1998). That’s not counting, Kate Remembered (2003), Berg’s “biographical memoir” of his late friend Katherine Hepburn.

After over a decade of research and writing, Mr. Berg has completed his newest biography. Released September 10 of this year, the book titled Wilson is a fresh look at one of America’s most important and influential Presidents, woodrow wilson. Filled with new insight and detail, Wilson is not only a magnificent biography of a great and often misunderstood President whose ideas and ideals promise to endure for centuries to come, but a riveting narrative that spans seven crucial decades of American history, and above all a deeply emotional exploration of the entirety of Woodrow Wilson’s life – his dreams, his accomplishments, his affairs of the heart, and his all-too-human failings. Drawing on two recently discovered caches of papers belonging to Wilson’s physician, Cary Grayson, and to Jessie Wilson Sayre, the second of Wilson’s three daughters, Berg was able to add countless details, and even several previously unknown events, that deepen Wilson’s character and cast new light on his entire life, particularly his sometimes tumultuous emotional life and his periods of precarious health, especially his final years ofincapacity. The result is an intimate portrait of a President, written from a particularly contemporary point of view.

Perhaps ironically, as Berg argues, Wilson’s presidency parallels in many ways that of the nation’s first African-American president; a country divided by ideology, region, and class; storm clouds on the international horizon that threaten an ambitious domestic agenda; and a desire to guide progressive social and economic legislation through a gridlocked congress. Both Obama and Congress could draw vital lessons from Wilson, Berg maintains, namely the importance of meeting regularly, sustained dialogue, and the necessity of putting aside partisan differences in the face of a grave threat, whether it be a foreign enemy or the national debt.

Berg, a Princeton University graduate who has also served on Princeton University’s Board of Trustees (woodrow wilson attended, taught, and was President of Princton), began researching his biography of woodrow wilson in 2000. He currently lives in Los Angeles and has said of Wilson, “I have an image of him in my mind that is unlike any picture I have seen anywhere else, based on material at Princeton and 35 years of researching and thinking about him”.

This year’s luncheon marks the 53rd anniversary of the Foundation’s first Annual Luncheon, at which President Dwight E. Eisenhower spoke. The luncheon program was started by Emily Pancake Smith, a founding Trustee and long-time President of the woodrow wilson Birthplace Foundation. Those interested in attending or with questions about the event should contact Elizabeth Shortt, Membership and Special Events, at 540-885-0897, ext 113 or e-mail [email protected].



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