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Publishing Executive.  Author.  Historian.  Commentator.

Decade of Disunion

How Massachusetts and South Carolina
Led the Way to Civil War, 1849-1861
Available In Bookstores and Amazon
September 23, 2024!
Decade-of-Disunion_final COVER.jpg
about me

            Through nearly 45 years in Washington, Robert Merry 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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            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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About Me
My Books

Decade of Disunion

How Massachusetts and South Carolina Led

the Way to Civil War, 1849-1861

A Country of Vast Designs

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

President McKinley

Architect of the American Century

Sands of Empire

Missionary Zeal, American Foreign Policy,

and th Hazards of Global Ambition

Where They Stand

The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians

Taking On the World

Joseph and Stewart Alsop - 

Guardians of the American Century


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My Books
Published Articles
Featured reviewS

Decade of Disunion: How Massachusetts and South Carolina Led the Way to Civil War, 1849-1861​


"A sweeping and invaluable history of the long prelude to the Civil War....Merry employs consistently thorough and crisp prose, combining his best attributes as a journalist and historian....An essential volume for serious students of U.S. history, especially Civil War buffs."

KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)


“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

Where They Stand


“No one can accuse Robert Merry of thinking small. On top of a long and distinguished career in high-level Washington journalism…, he is the author of a fine biography of Joseph and Stewart Alsop, a cautionary tract on ‘missionary zeal’ in American foreign policy, and a well-received volume on James K. Polk and the war with Mexico. Borrowing from the title of the latter book, one might describe him as a writer “of vast designs.” 

Ohio University professor Alonzo L. Hamby, writing in The National Interest

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