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Bringing Back McKinley

Michael Lind, National Interest

OF ALL American presidents, William McKinley suffers the most from the gap between his historical significance and his public reputation. The twenty-fifth president of the United States, he was elected in 1896 and assassinated by an anarchist, Leon Czolgosz, in 1901, six months into his second term in office. Few presidencies have been as consequential.  In domestic politics, his election in 1896 and reelection in 1900 marked the decisive defeat of the Jeffersonian agrarian populism of William Jennings Bryan in favor of the Hamiltonian vision of an urban-industrial society organized on the basis of corporate capitalism.  Read more.

To most Americans William McKinley Jr. (1843-1901) is a colorless cipher, a name without a face. We remember the Maine, but not the man who oversaw the Spanish-American War. No conspiracy theories attach themselves to his assassination. Modern visitors to his hometown of Canton, Ohio, are more likely destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame than the Napoleonic mausoleum built as a shrine to our 25th president. Trailing the parade of (mostly) bearded seat warmers who occupied the White House between the heroic Lincoln and the swashbuckling Theodore Roosevelt, McKinley is seen as the Un-Roosevelt, a frock-coated ... Read  more.

The 'President McKinley' Mystery

Richard Norton Smith, Wall Street Journal

At the turn of the 20th century, America emerged as a global power. The United States annexed Hawaii and the Philippines, liberated Cuba from Spanish rule, laid the way for the Panama Canal and began to pursue its own form of quasi-benevolent imperialism. In the public imagination, the figure most prominently associated with this burst of national energy is Theodore Roosevelt. “T.R.” charged up San Juan Hill (actually, Kettle Hill) at the head of his Rough Riders, dispatched a naval fleet around the world when he was president and wound up as a face on Mount Rushmore. William McKinley, the president who actually was responsible for America’s new role in the world, is largely overlooked or forgotten.  Read more.

The First Modern President

Evan Thomas, New York Times

Available In Bookstores and Amazon!
Architect of the American Century

President McKinley

            Through nearly 45 years in Washington, Robert Merry has distinguished himself as a political and governmental reporter for national newspapers, as a newsroom manager, as a publishing CEO, as a political commentator, and as an author of books on American history and foreign policy. A Washington State native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Washington, where he edited the campus daily and won two noted journalism awards. .

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about me

            The outlines of my career came into a dim focus as early as my third-grade year, when I developed a passion for history. I grew up in Gig Harbor, Washington, on the shores of Puget Sound. But my third year of school was spent in Charlottesville, Virginia, where my dad began pursuing a PhD in literature at the University of Virginia.

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A Country of Vast Designs

My Books

Where They Stand

President McKinley

Sands of Empire

Taking On the World

Architect of the American Century

The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians

James K. Polk, The Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent

Missionary Zeal, American Foreign Policy,

and th Hazards of Global Ambition

Joseph and Stewart Alsop - 

Guardians of the American Century


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About Me
My Books
Publishing Executive.  Author.  Historian.  Commentator.
Published Articles

Robert Merry as Wall Street Journal reporter:


“Enterprise reporting in the White House…is essentially explanatory and assessment journalism. One of the best at it in earlier years was Congressional Quarterly executive editor Bob Merry, then reporting for the Wall Street Journal. Merry had a knack for anticipating events, reflecting on history and placing the White House in perspective in the context of both.”


Inside the Beltway: A Guide to Washington Reporting

Iowa State University Press, 1991

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