Author Erwin Hargrove Shares Multiple Books

Erwin Hargrove is a retired political scientist at Vanderbilt University and winner of the prestigious Richard E. Neustadt Award.  As a distinguished professor in Political Science, he specializes in the American Presidency and political leadership that provides him the opportunity to write novels on these topics. He began to write novels in 2010, published four of them, and is about to finish his fifth. He has written eight scholarly books and more than 27 articles. In retirement he decided to write a novel and has now written four with two more on the way.

American Journeys: Stories of Three Lives  is a story of three men and their lives from 1930 to 2000. They are respectively a psychiatrist, a historian, and a journalist. They work respectively at Cornell Medical School, Brown University, and the Baltimore Sun. They pursue their professions in times of major institutional changes. Their five wives also tell their stories. This is, in part, a story of a generation.

Danger in Paris: A Mystery started in 1988, Vanderbilt University professor John Page and his wife, Julie, move to Paris to accept a one-year teaching appointment. He decides to take advantage of his European location and do some research into his mother’s life in Paris in the 1920s. He meets an old friend of his mother’s, who refers him to some of their French circle. Excited to find so many good clues into an enduring family mystery, he and Julie meet several of his mother’s friends in Paris. Then he receives a letter that changes everything: “If you know what is good for you, you will stay away and stop any attempt to dig up the past” Spooked but ultimately undaunted, their investigation takes them deeper into his family’s history. They then hear the heartbreaking news that their new friend Claude Picard has been murdered in his Paris apartment. Inspector Jules Lavin of the Surete takes charge of the case. Despite the increased scrutiny, an attempt is made on the life of Picard’s daughter Lily. John risks his life in Algiers as part of the investigation.

When the President of the United States dies unexpectedly, his vice president – Amanda Owens – is thrust onto center stage and must quickly fill his shoes or make the office her own. From the first day, she faces sticky foreign policy situations, income inequality at home, and disparate factions in Congress – challenges that will grow Amanda toward her destiny as The Woman President. With Democrats, Demagogues, and Dictators, in Fiction​, Six smart and imaginative people form a book club to discuss a list of politically significant fiction from the 20th century. They examine the qualities of democrats in portraits of Lincoln by Gore Vidal and William Safire and Stuff Happens, a satirical play about George W. Bush’s war on Iraq in 1982. They analyze books about demagogues, including Robert Penn Warren’s All the Kings Men and Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. They talk about dictators and discuss how Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin are portrayed in Robert Bolt’s State of Revolution and the way Tomas Eloy Martinez represents the Argentine dictator Peron in The Peron Novel. And they debate the characteristics of despots like Stalin from Antoly Rybakov’s Fear, Idi Amin from Giles Foden’s The Last King of Scotland, and Muammar Gaddafi from Yasmina Khadra’s The Dictator’s Last Night. These and more are grist for this fictional book club’s observations, which will provide the reader with interesting food for thought, making this book especially interesting for any serious student of political science or history.

Hargrove once said “I have always written as a scholar with the hope of reaching a larger audience. I owe a great debt to Richard Neustadt, but my work has been more critical of presidential power in response to history. I am inspired to write on the subjects I have chosen by an interest in authority and leadership, and by the purposes and misuses of authority and leadership.”

Erwin Charles Hargrove

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