Jonathan Alter

Jonathan Alter graduated from Harvard in 1979, was an editor of the Washington Monthly from 1981 to 1982, and remains a contributing editor. He joined Newsweek in 1983, where he was a senior editor and columnist for 28 years. He joined NBC News as a contributing correspondent in 1996 and appears frequently on the “Today” show, NBC Nightly News, and MSNBC. He is the author of two bestselling books: The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, and The Promise: President Obama, Year One. He is married, has three children, and lives in Montclair, New Jersey.


A Smart Jobs-Creation Idea Both Parties Can Love

Where’s Franklin Roosevelt when we need him? While campaigning amid 25 percent unemployment in 1932, Roosevelt argued for what he called “bold, persistent experimentation.” As he put it: “It is common sense to take one method and try it. If it fails, admit failure frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” This spirit… Read more »

How the World Sees Us

or political reasons, Barack Obama cannot stress it on the campaign trail, but the stakes in 2008 are simple: the restoration of our image in the world and our image of ourselves. Everything else flows from that. Americas prestige in the world is central not for grandiose reasons but strictly pragmatic ones. Every big international… Read more »

The Fireside Chat that Roosevelt Threw Away

On Sunday, March 5, 1933, his first full day in the presidency, Franklin Delano Roosevelt awoke in a creaky narrow bed in the small bedroom of the White House family quarters he had chosen for himself. After his valet, Irvin McDuffie, helped him with the laborious task of putting on his iron leg braces and… Read more »

Beam Me Up, Scotty

This, I knew even then, was deeply unfair to Reston and his career. Over 40 years, he published an astonishing number of major scoops, and his analytical batting average was high. Through most of Scotty: James B. Reston and the Rise and Fall of American Journalism, John F. Stacks judiciously explains Reston’s contributions and shortcomings… Read more »