ON HIS OWN TERMS
A Life of Nelson Rockefeller

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Reviews

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The Wall Street Journal

“[A] splendid biography . . . On His Own Terms is a clear-eyed, exhaustively researched account of a significant and fascinating American life.”
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The New Yorker

“[An] enthralling biography . . . Richard Norton Smith has written what will probably stand as a definitive Life. . . . On His Own Terms succeeds as an absorbing, deeply informative portrait of an important, complicated, semi-heroic figure who, in his approach to the limits of government and to government’s relation to the governed, belonged in every sense to another century.”
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The Economist

“Richard Norton Smith spent fourteen years researching this life of Rockefeller. [On His Own Terms] has perception and scholarly authority and is immensely readable.”
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The New York Times

“A compelling read . . . What makes the book fascinating for a contemporary professional is not so much any one thing that [Nelson] Rockefeller achieved, but the portrait of the world he inhabited not so very long ago.”
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AUTHOR &
HISTORIAN

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Richard Norton Smith is a nationally recognized authority on the American presidency and a familiar face to viewers of C-SPAN, as well as The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Following graduation from Harvard in 1975, he worked as a White House intern and a speech writer for Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke.  In 1979 he went to work for Senator Bob Dole, with whom he collaborated on several volumes of autobiography and political humor.

Smith’s first major book, Thomas E. Dewey and His Times, was a finalist for the 1983 Pulitzer Prize. He has also written An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover (1984), The Harvard Century: The Making of a University to a Nation (1986), Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation (1993), The Colonel: The Life and Legend of Robert R. McCormick, which received the prestigious Goldsmith Prize awarded by Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School, and has been described by Hilton Kramer as “the best book ever written about the press.”  In October 2014 Random House published On His Own Terms, a monumental life of Nelson Rockefeller described by Douglas Brinkley as “one of the greatest cradle to grave biographies written in the past 50 years,” and tagged in advance by Amazon as one of the fall’s Twenty Big Books in Biography and Memoir.

Between 1987 and 2001, Mr. Smith served as Director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa; the Dwight D. Eisenhower Center in Abilene, Kansas; the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and the Reagan Center for Public Affairs in Simi Valley, California; the Gerald R. Ford Museum and Library in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, Michigan respectively.

In December, 2001 Mr. Smith became director of the new Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. There he supervised construction of the Institute's $11.3 million permanent home and launched a Presidential Lecture Series and other high profile programs. In October, 2003 he was appointed the first Executive Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, a four building complex in Springfield, Illinois. The Library opened to the public in 2004 and the Museum opened the next year.

Much in demand as a speaker, in 2009 Smith was invited by Congress to be one of two historians addressing it on the two hundred anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.  Earlier, millions of television viewers heard him deliver the final eulogy at Gerald Ford’s Michigan funeral, a role he repeated at Betty Ford’s request when she was laid to rest beside her husband in 2011.  Smith is currently at work on a biography of President Ford. Twice a year he personally leads historical tours (www.presidentsandpatriots.com) emphasizing American presidents and history rarely found in the text books.

Richard Norton Smith

EXPLORE OUR PAST WITH RICHARD

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Discover the advantages of traveling on one of our guided, personally hosted, small group tours. Each of our two annual tours are hosted and led by renowned author and presidential historian Richard Norton Smith.

INVITING
Solo Friendly

Whether you're newly single or, perhaps, your companion just isn't into history as much as you are, solo travelers will find our tours fun and enjoyable, all while discovering new places and meeting new friends. And don't feel like you'd be the odd one out... our tours are comprised of roughly half doubles and half singles. As an added service, should you wish to be matched with another solo traveler, we will be more than happy to try to find you a roommate.

GREAT PEOPLE
Join "the Club"

Our deluxe motor coach tours are designed with your comfort and enjoyment in mind, and our small group setting creates a much more intimate, personal setting when compared with other tours who attempt to fill their motor coaches to capacity. In fact, many of our guests are repeat participants (more than 90 of our guests have joined us on six or more tours!). This, combined with a shared interest in the history being experienced, makes for an unusually relaxed, fun and friendly atmosphere. As a result, many of our patrons have begun calling us "their Travel Club".

C-SPAN
As Seen on TV

Our host, Richard Norton Smith, was C-SPAN's in-house historian, where he was responsible for such long form series as Presidential Libraries: History Uncovered, The Contenders, and Influence and Image: America's First Ladies. C-SPAN viewers may have seen one or more of our tours featured over the past several years. C-SPAN has been along with us on several past trips, and has broadcast segments on their history channel, C-SPAN 3.

MAY & SEPT 2021
Featured Tours


SEPT 2021 MAY 2022 | A THOUSAND YEARS OF SCOTLAND
History, Heather & Highlands


THIS TRIP HAS BEEN MOVED TO MAY 2022 DUE TO TRAVEL COMPLICATIONS FROM COVID | STAY UP-TO-DATE

Join us this September May 2022 for a memorable trip to some of the most beautiful – and historic – country this side of Brigadoon. Starting with two nights in the majestic English Lake District, with its brooding landscapes and literary shrines to poet William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, best known for The Tales of Peter Rabbit. En route to Edinburgh, our home for six nights, we’ll pause in the village of Lockerbie to pay our respects to the victims of Pan Am Flight 103, lost to a terrorist bomb in December 1988.

A wonderful adventure for all ages.

Our Edinburgh home is the Kimpton Charlotte Square, taking its name from the adjacent World Heritage Site and ideally located next to picturesque Old Town. Our itinerary includes a day in the Scottish Highlands, a walking tour of the Old Course at St. Andrews, birthplace of golf, and Glamis Castle, girlhood home of the late Queen Mother. Edinburgh Castle beckons, along with Holyrood House, St. Giles Cathedral and the multi-media extravaganza called Dynamic Earth. We’ve set aside half a day to explore the Royal Yacht Britannia. And another half to tour Scotland’s capital on your own. Visit an art museum or shop the Royal Mile. If you have been to Scotland before, we’ll take you places you haven’t been. And introduce you to a history you cannot beat.

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Discover
Exciting, new places.

MAY 2021 | AMERICA'S MOST SURPRISING STATE
Crossroads of Revolution


NOT AVAILABLE — WE ALREADY WENT ON THIS ADVENTURE | GET NOTIFIED OF NEXT TOUR

Smaller than Vermont, New Jersey can easily be crisscrossed in a matter of days, geography that made it the center of military action in the American Revolution. Decisive victories at Trenton and Princeton proved to be turning points in the war. We’ll stand on the riverbank from which Washington launched his Christmas night crossing of the Delaware. A brutal winter encampment at Morristown, though less well known than Valley Forge, provided an even greater test of morale for Washington and his army. It’s on our itinerary – as is the dueling field, high above the Hudson River, where Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in July 1804.

Explore America's heritage.

From our base in the beautiful college town of Princeton we’ll tour the home and laboratory of another revolutionary, Thomas Edison; the birthplace and gravesite of President Grover Cleveland; the Victorian-era Summer White House of Cape May; and Ellis Island, the legendary gateway to America for millions of immigrants inspired by the nearby Statue of Liberty – the focus of a stunning new museum. Odds are you’ll be as surprised as we were by the historical and scenic riches to be found in America’s most surprising state.

SEPT 2021 | A THOUSAND YEARS OF SCOTLAND
History, Heather & Highlands

Join us this September for a memorable trip to some of the most beautiful – and historic – country this side of Brigadoon. Starting with two nights in the majestic English Lake District, with its brooding landscapes and literary shrines to poet William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, best known for The Tales of Peter Rabbit. En route to Edinburgh, our home for six nights, we’ll pause in the village of Lockerbie to pay our respects to the victims of Pan Am Flight 103, lost to a terrorist bomb in December 1988.

Our Edinburgh home is the Kimpton Charlotte Square, taking its name from the adjacent World Heritage Site and ideally located next to picturesque Old Town. Our itinerary includes a day in the Scottish Highlands, a walking tour of the Old Course at St. Andrews, birthplace of golf, and Glamis Castle, girlhood home of the late Queen Mother. Edinburgh Castle beckons, along with Holyrood House, St. Giles Cathedral and the multi-media extravaganza called Dynamic Earth. We’ve set aside half a day to explore the Royal Yacht Britannia. And another half to tour Scotland’s capital on your own. Visit an art museum or shop the Royal Mile. If you have been to Scotland before, we’ll take you places you haven’t been. And introduce you to a history you cannot beat.

MAY 2021 | America’s Most Surprising State!
Crossroads of Revolution

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