National Wilderness Conference Keynote Speaker: Douglas Brinkley, CBS News history commentator

Douglas Brinkley is a Professor of History at Rice University, bestselling author, and presidential historian for CBS News. CNN has described him as "a man who knows more about the presidency than just about any human being alive." He serves as a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, Audubon, and American Heritage. A frequent contributor to The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic Monthly, he is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Century Association, and the Society of American Historians. In a recent profile, the Chicago Tribune deemed him "America's new past master."

In May 2012 Cronkite, the definitive biography of the CBS News anchorman, was published by HarperCollins. It was selected as one of The Washington Post's best books of 2012. Chris Matthews, writing in The New York Times, called Cronkite "evidence that a job can be done just about perfectly." Other award-winning biographies include Wheels for the World: Henry Ford and the Making of America and Rosa Parks: A Life.

He is also finishing the third volume of his U.S. environmental history series, tentatively titled Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the American Conservation Movement. The first two volumes-The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America and The Quiet World: Saving Alaska's Wilderness Kingdom, 1879 to 1960-were published in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Both were major bestsellers.

No less than eight of Brinkley's books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. Likewise, each of his most recent publications have been New York Times bestsellers: Voices of Valor: D-Day: June 6, 1944 (2004), Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War (2004), The Boys of Pointe du Hoc: Ronald Reagan, D-Day and the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion (2005), The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2006), The Reagan Diaries (2007), The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America (2009), The Quiet World: Saving Alaska's Wilderness Kingdom, 1879-1960 (2011), and Cronkite (2012).

Brinkley completed his bachelor's degree at Ohio State University and received his doctorate in U.S. Diplomatic History from Georgetown University in 1989. He then spent years at the U.S. Naval Academy and Princeton University teaching history. While a professor at Hofstra University, Dr. Brinkley spearheaded the American Odyssey course, in which he took students on numerous cross-country treks to visit historic sites and meet seminal figures in politics and literature. Dr. Brinkley's 1994 book, The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey chronicled his first experience teaching this innovative on-the-road class, which became the progenitor to C-SPAN's Yellow School Bus.

Before coming to Rice, Dr. Brinkley served as Professor of History and Director of the Roosevelt Center at Tulane University in New Orleans. From 1994 until 2005, he was Distinguished Professor of History and Director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans.

On the literary front, Dr. Brinkley has edited Jack Kerouac's diaries, Hunter S. Thompson's letters, Theodore Dreiser's travelogue, and Woody Guthrie's previously unpublished novel, House of Earth (co-edited with Johnny Depp). Brinkley wrote the pioneering biography Rosa Parks (2005), based on extensive interviews with the so-called "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement."

He won the Benjamin Franklin Award for The American Heritage History of the United States (1998) and the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Naval History Prize for Driven Patriot (1993). He was awarded the Business Week Book of the Year Award for Wheels of the World: Henry Ford, His Country, and a Century of Progress. He has received numerous honorary doctorates from top schools including Trinity College in Connecticut, Westfield University, Hofstra University, and the University of Maine for his work as an Americanist. He lives in Austin and Houston, Texas, with his wife and three children.

Brinkley will be speaking at the National Wilderness Conference on Saturday, October 18th as part of the following: Wilderness: An American Icon with keynote speakers Doug Scott, historian; Douglas Brinkley, CBS News history commentator; Karen Nyberg, astronaut (invited)