Southeastern News

Southeastern history professor authors new book on former Speaker Jim Wright

Dr. J. Brooks Flippen

Dr. J. Brooks Flippen

DURANT, Okla. – In the past, professor-author J. Brooks Flippen has tackled such subjects as Richard Nixon and the environment and Jimmy Carter and the Religious Right.

His latest foray into politic writing (“Speaker Jim Wright: Power, Scandal, and the Birth of Modern Politics’’) delves into the life and times of the late congressman from Fort Worth, Texas, who served as U.S. Speaker of the House in the late 1980s.

Flippen, who is a professor of history at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, is also a Fulbright Scholar who is currently fulfilling those duties teaching at South China Normal University in Guangzhou.

Published in April by the University of Texas Press, “Speaker Jim Wright’’ (552 pages, $35) offers a chronology of Wright’s life, directly addressing his days as a child of the Great Depression, a decorated World War II airman, and rise to political power, which culminated with his election as Speaker in 1986 and crash landed with his resignation amid an ethics controversy in 1989.

Wright retired to his hometown of Fort Worth, where he died in 2015 at age 92.

In conjunction with the release of the book, Flippen recently wrote a column on Wright  for The Washington Post —  “One man’s downfall explains the mess in Congress today – The politics that toppled Jim Wright has only gotten worse, grinding Congress to a halt.’’

Flippen specializes in modern American political/environmental history and is the author of three other books: “Conservative Conservationist: Russell E. Train and the Emergence of American Environmentalism,” “Nixon and the Environment,” and “Jimmy Carter, the Politics of Family and the Rise of the Religious Right.’’

He joined the Southeastern faculty in 1995 and holds degrees from Washington and Lee University, the University of Richmond, and the University of Maryland.