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Idealist Lessons on American Leadership

Samuel Zipp describes the lessons Republican presidential candidate Wendell Willkie learned about American engagement in the world and the parallels he sees between 1942 and today.
Samuel Zipp
Daniel Immerwahr
Event Date

About this Event

Globalization is being challenged by nationalists, undercut by trade wars, and battered by the pandemic, while "America First" appeals to the nation’s isolationist impulses. But with economic volatility, inequality, and a warming planet—can the United States afford to step away from the global stage? In 1942, at another moment of global turmoil, Republican presidential candidate Wendell Willkie published a bestselling book explaining a new vision of a small and interconnected world. Brown University historian Samuel Zipp joins the Council to describe the lessons Willkie learned about American engagement in the world during his travels around the globe and the parallels he sees between 1942 and today.

Copies of Samuel Zipp’s latest book, The Idealist: Wendell Willkie's Wartime Quest to Build One World, are available for purchase through our local book partner, The Book Cellar.

About the Speakers
Samuel Zipp
Professor of American and Urban Studies, Brown University
Samuel Zipp serves as the professor of American and urban studies at Brown University and served as a visiting assistant professor of history at both Harvard University and the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Manhattan Projects: The Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal in Cold War New York and the coeditor of Vital Little Plans: The Short Works of Jane Jacobs. Zipp’s articles and reviews have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, American Quarterly, among many others.
Daniel Immerwahr
Professor of History, Northwestern University
Daniel Immerwahr serves as a professor at Northwestern University’s history department, specializing in twentieth-century United States history within a global context. He is the author of two books: Thinking Small, a critical account of grassroots development campaigns launched by the United States at home and abroad, and his most recent, How to Hide an Empire about the United States’ overseas territories. At Northwestern, he teaches courses of US foreign relations, global history, intellectual history, and the history of capitalism. His writings have appeared in Modern Intellectual History, the Journal of the History of Ideas, Dissent, n+1, and The Nation; and previously taught at University of California, Berkeley, Columbia University, Northwestern University, and San Quentin State Prison.