Timothy Naftali, Nixon Library Director, is Commencement Speaker

Marc S. Posner
Monday, May 23, 2011
Timothy Naftali -- the director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, a part of the National Archives and Records Administration -- will deliver the commencement address on May 26.

Before joining the National Archives, Naftali taught history at a number of universities, including the University of Virginia, where he also served as director of the Presidential Recordings Program at the Miller Center of Public Affairs. There he oversaw a team of researchers who transcribed and annotated meetings and telephone conversations secretly recorded by Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.

Naftali is a prolific writer for both popular and scholarly audiences. His work has appeared on Slate.com, The New York Times, the Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, and other publications, and he has appeared on National Public Radio, the History Channel and C-SPAN. He is the author of four books, including Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism and, with Aleksander Fursenko, One Hell of A Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964. His second book with Fursenko, Khrushchev's Cold War: The Inside Story of an American Adversary, received the Duke of Westminster's Medal for Military Literature in June 2007. His most recent book, George H. W. Bush, appeared in December 2007 as part of The American Presidents series, edited by the late Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz. In October 2010, his article on counterterrorism policy appeared in the book The Presidency of George W. Bush: A First Historical Assessment, edited by Julian E. Zelizer. He is currently working on a study on "Why Terrorists Stop" and a book on the Kennedy presidency.

Naftali was a consultant to the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group, which located and declassified U.S. government records relating to war crimes committed by the Nazi and Imperial Japanese governments during World War II and the disposition of war criminals after the conflict. He was also a consultant on the history of U.S. counterterrorism policy to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (popularly known as the "9/11 Commission").

Naftali received his undergraduate degree in history from Yale University, an M.A. in international economics from the Johns Hopkins University, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University.