A Life of Service

Alvin S. Felzenberg is a presidential historian, political commentator, and former public official. He holds a Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University and has lectured at the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Princeton, Johns Hopkins and George Washington Universities. In 2006, Felzenberg was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Felzenberg has served in two presidential administrations, as official spokesman for the 9-11 Commission, on the majority senior staff of several House of Representatives committees, and as New Jersey’s Assistant Secretary of State. He is author of A Man and His Presidents: The Political Odyssey of William F. Buckley, Jr., 2017, The Leaders We Deserved…Rethinking the Presidential Rating Game, 2008, and Governor Tom Kean: From the NJ Statehouse to the 9-11 Commission, and of the forthcoming, “Thomas Jefferson,” in The American Presidents, Iain Dale, editor, among other publications. His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, the Weekly Standard, The Christian Science Monitor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Boston Globe and other periodicals and as a guest on major public affairs broadcasts. Felzenberg is a former columnist with U.S. News and World Report. He divides his time between Washington, DC and Palm Beach, Florida.

Selected reviews

A Man and His Presidents
"...made ideas as important as the rivaling personalities, even the parties themselves."

In high school, I searched drugstores for each new issue of National Review. It was that important. For me, William F. Buckley, Jr. was the door-opener to intellectual politics. He made ideas as important as the rivaling personalities, even the parties themselves. I’ll always be grateful for the wildly adventurous thinker who welcomed me into serious political debate. I thank Alvin Felzenberg and A Man and His Presidents for bringing it all back.

Chris Matthews
Host of MSNBC's Hardball
A Man and His Presidents
"Buckley changed America and helped give birth to modern conservatism; this is a riveting account."
Cass Sunstein
A Man and His Presidents
"Gracefully written and richly informative"

Gracefully written and richly informative…An accomplished and admiring biography … of a man toiling joyfully to define and elevate a political movement.

Damon Link
New York Times
"[A] well-delineated portrait of an impassioned conservative."
Kirkus Reviews
The Leaders We Deserved (And a Few We Didn't)
"Reshuffles [presidents'] reputations in surprising ways."

See that twenty dollar bill in your wallet? If Al Felzenberg has  his way, Andrew Jackson will no longer be decorating it. His book looks at every president from George Washington to ‘W’, and reshuffles their reputations in surprising ways.

Richard Brookhiser
Biographer of Washington, Hamilton, and other “founders"
The Leaders We Deserved (And a Few We Didn't)
"A fresh look at [presidents] we need to know better"

Alvin Felzenberg puts Lincoln and several other presidents in the full context of their times and ours, shedding much new light on those we thought we knew well, and taking a fresh look at some we need to know better. The sections on Abraham Lincoln, the most elusive of all presidents, adds much to the field of Lincoln studies and should not be missed.

Harold Holzer
Lincoln scholar
Governor Tom Kean
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