Anthony Bergen

Senior Literary Editor

Anthony Bergen is a writer and Presidential historian based in Sacramento, California. His historical work has been published by numerous outlets and historical associations including pieces for the New Hampshire Historical Society's Franklin Pierce Bicentennial, ConsiderableThoughts.com and the National Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial celebration. Anthony has also been a contributing joke-writer for several touring stand-up comedians and "The KiddChris Show" on Portland's KUFO FM. Anthony's blog about Presidential history, a featured, staff-recommended site on Tumblr.com and he posts original essays on the Presidents and the Presidency and frequently answers reader questions.

From Anthony;

I love history. To me, history is more than just boldface names and famous dates. History is people and personalities, triumphs and tragedies, thoughts and actions, beginnings and ends. People sometimes wonder what history has to do with what happens today. It has everything to do with today. Everything is history.

I’m not exactly sure what got me fascinated about the Presidents. I remember getting a book about JFK’s assassination when I was in second grade (a book I still have, by the way), which interested me in this person who was President of the United States and then, suddenly, was not. I don’t know if my fascination with the Presidents came before that book, but I do know that it skyrocketed after I received it. I was always a strong reader as a kid, so my library visits would always result in taking home a book on some President. I also enjoyed watching whenever President Reagan was on TV. There was just something majestic about the President, something that made me either want to be President or be friends with the President. I kept reading and collecting Presidential books and even as a youngster, I would make lists of the Presidents and their birth dates or death dates or home states or age at inauguration. I was most interested in their personalities and loved the little, random facts about them — I still love those facts the most, by the way.

As I grew older, my memories become more clear. I remember seeing Michael Dukakis give a speech during the 1988 election here in Sacramento. I was excited to see Bill Clinton’s motorcade zoom by my dad and I as we were stopped in traffic by Secret Service during Clinton’s visit. I was mesmerized by the size and scope of the motorcade and so stoked when I saw President Clinton’s big white hair in the back of his limousine. Later in his term, I was stunned to see Air Force One flying out of McClellan Air Force Base and over my house during another Clinton visit to Sacramento.

When I graduated from high school, I had to work and make money, so I didn’t have the opportunity to go to college. I know that will probably surprise some people and I hope it doesn’t tarnish your thoughts on my Presidential knowledge, but college just wasn’t in the cards for me. I’ve never attended a history class. However, the one thing in my life that I do collect is books. My personal library is quite large and I have about 600 books on Presidents, the Presidency, or American History directly involving the Presidents. I’ve read about 95% of them. I can’t get enough of Presidential history. I have 20 books about Lyndon Johnson and I learn something new in each of them. It is the miracle of history — new facts are always found, new twists are always taken, old stories are retold differently — history never dies. That’s why my goal on here is to keep these stories interesting and alive and introduce them to more-and-more people, if possible. I guess that I self-educated myself in Presidential history, but I don’t think it’s out of the question to consider myself a Presidential Historian. I take pride in my constant studies about not only the individual Presidents, but the actual office of the Presidency, it’s history and it’s evolution. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I feel more than qualified to write and answers questions about the Presidency.

I study the Presidents and the Presidency every single day. I study the individuals and their lives — who they were, what they were like, how they looked, and where they came from. I also study the institution of the Presidency — its powers and limitations, its evolution and role in shaping the United States and the world beyond.

What it comes down to for me every time, though, is people. I am captivated by the people who held the office, how they responded to challenges and what the legacy was that they left behind. The Presidency, to me, is the most unique position in the world. The President is, simultaneously, the most admired and most reviled person in the country. The President is, by default, the most trusted person in the country. The President is, without fail, the most judged person in the country. Everything they do influences us; everything we do is influenced by them. The most amazing thing about it is that we have the opportunity to choose that person. We might always like or agree with the person we get, but that’s our President — he belongs to all of us. That’s what fascinates me about his office and his position. That’s why I write about the Presidents.

On a personal level, I am 30 years old and was born in Sacramento, California, where I spent all of my life before moving to Austin, Texas in July 2010. Ironically, my birthday is Inauguration Day — January 20th. As for work, I’ve spent most of my career working in non-profits, especially programs which provide services to needy families and children. I try to stay politically neutral on Dead Presidents (sometimes I do a good job of it; sometimes I am blatantly biased), but I spent 18 months working in an influential position in the Barack Obama campaign in Northern California. I’ve worked on numerous other political campaigns — mostly local races or ballot initiatives, and I love nothing more than getting out into the community, doing some grassroots organizing, and registering voters. Again, I hope my political beliefs don’t bleed over into my work on Dead Presidents, but I am a Democrat — a very liberal Democrat — but I’m not blind to the failures on every side of the political spectrum.

Besides Dead Presidents, I have a personal blog where I kind of let loose, write about anything that pops into my head, and am often quite offensive and politically incorrect. I have a pretty crude sense of humor that I do my best to curtail here on Dead Presidents, but I don’t see any reason why historians have to be boring and serious all the time. I have a Facebook and a Twitter, but I am terrible when it comes to updating both. I am a regular contributor to AND Magazine, and have also contributed to the New Hampshire Historical Society’s Pierce Bicentennial Celebration, the Lincoln Bicentennial, and have been a longtime writer/contributor to “The KiddChris Show” which is currently heard on KUFO in Portland, Oregon but was previously heard in Sacramento, San Antonio, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.

Personally, I am a big fan of stand-up comedy (Louis CK, George Carlin, Jim Norton, Patrice O’Neal, David Cross, Jim Jeffries, Bill Burr, Richard Pryor), enjoy a wide variety of music that is heavily dominated by hip-hop (especially 90’s rap), try to always be in the middle of a book, and enjoy basketball (Sacramento Kings), football (Oakland Raiders), and soccer.

So, that’s me in a nutshell, but I want everyone to know how grateful I am for your support on Dead Presidents. Your questions are always fun to answer and I am always bummed when that inbox is empty. I’ve been storing all this history about the Presidents for years and never had an outlet or an audience for it, so I’m so pleased to have such loyal readers who are just as interested in this type of history as I am. So, in closing, thank you for reading and participating, and I hope you enjoy it at least half as much as I do.


As of September 15, 2017, Anthony's 52 articles like "Артисты-самоубийцы" have totaled 6.1M views and shares.

Anthony's 52 most recent articles:

APR 28 2016
AND Magazine
Columns

Honoring Cesar Chavez

A National Monument for a Civil Rights hero
"No one seemed to care... But Cesar cared"

AUG 20 2015
Wise Alf
Entertainment

Артисты-самоубийцы

Что заставляет талантливых людей лишать себя жизни

JAN 12 2015
AND Magazine
Columns

Selma

About a Movement, not a man
"While the film got a few things wrong, it also did so much that is righteous."

NOV 21 2014
AND Magazine
Literature

More Than Just A Number

41, 43, and a Presidential Love Story
"It is literally a book which has no equal."

APR 05 2014
AND Magazine
Music

Suicidal Artists

What makes such greatness self-destruct
"Kurt Cobain could not bear living, but because of how he died, he will live forever"

JAN 16 2014
AND Magazine
Literature

Center of the World

Simon Winchester's "Atlantic"
"A biography of an ocean supplemented by the autobiographical impressions of an ocean-lover."

JAN 15 2014
AND Magazine
Literature

Deep-sea living

Exploring the bottom of the ocean with SEALAB
"The aquanauts add a human aspect and make a story about science into a story of human achievement"

JAN 14 2014
AND Magazine
Literature

Present day piracy

The Strange World of Somali Pirates
"Yes, there are still pirates today."

OCT 07 2013
AND Magazine
Columns

Sincerely, Ronald Reagan

A President's Private Correspondence With America
"Ronald Reagan was one of the best pure writers of all American Presidents."

JUN 21 2013
AND Magazine
Columns

Photographing The President

National Geographic captures presidential photographers
"The President, and the office he holds, is a symbol for power and freedom, and symbols are fueled by imagery."

MAR 07 2013
AND Magazine
Columns

?Viva La Revolucion?

Chavez, Che, Castro and the Life of a Revolution
"What did Hugo Chavez ever actually do to the United States other than be obnoxious?"

MAR 07 2013
AND Magazine
Columns

Sede Vacante

Historic Happenings At The Vatican
"We could be on the verge of something incredible happening that truly changes the world"

OCT 24 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

Original Avenger

H.W. Brands reveals the Greatness of Ulysses S. Grant
"A magnificent book that once again leaves me wondering how Brands is so thorough and prolific"

OCT 21 2012
AND Magazine
Columns

A True public servant

George McGovern (1922-2012)
"An American who represented the best of what our country can be"

SEP 30 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

Beautiful violence

A Literary Experience from Daniel Woodrell
"Simultaneously dark and vivid, bleak and evocative, haunting and familiar, articulate and reductive."

SEP 22 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

John quincy adams

Harlow Giles Unger on America's Advocate for Liberty
"This book is fast-pace and supremely readable"

AUG 23 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

Dream team

Jack McCallum's Chronicle of the Greatest Team of All-Time
"It's a joy to relive that greatness."

AUG 02 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

ike the great

Overseas Crises and Ill Health Were No Match for Eisenhower
"Eisenhower...had perhaps better political instincts than any American politician of his time."

JUL 29 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

protecting jackie

Secret Service Agent Clint Hill's Remarkable Story
""Mrs. Kennedy and Me" is a benefit to the historical record, but it is also a deeply personal story"

JUL 21 2012
AND Magazine
Entertainment

1,000 raw nights

WWE Reaches a Programming Milestone
"I willingly suspend my disbelief in order to enjoy entertaining performers tell stories"

JUL 09 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

when reagan was shot

Del Wilber and the definitive book on the Reagan shooting.
"This book is a masterpiece."

JUN 28 2012
AND Magazine
The Independent

hail to the other chief

Chief Justice John Roberts Becomes A National Leader
"Chief Justice Roberts stepped into the divide, built a bridge, and has begun to lead."

JUN 10 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

silver and black

John Madden and His Badass Oakland Raiders
"While I missed out on the Raiders of the 1970's, Peter Richmond has given me the next best thing."

JUN 02 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

House of frustration

Robert Draper Goes Inside The 112th Congress
"I'm scared for my country if these are the best 435 people we have to represent us."

MAY 28 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

a spot on the sun

The Story of the Transit of Venus Across the Sun
"Don't miss out on the last chance to see this event in our lifetime"

MAY 16 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

the light bulb

Jonah Lehrer and the Science Behind Creativity
"It's almost unfair, really, that someone like Lehrer can be so smart and ALSO be a fantastic writer"

MAY 09 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

executive brotherhood

Rising above Politics to Protect the Presidency
"History is not one thing. History is everything."

APR 30 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

The california kid

Urijah Faber Lays Down the 'Laws of the Ring'
"Faber is one of the most exciting fighters in the history of mixed martial arts"

APR 28 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

Dr. augusten

Augusten Burroughs enters the realm of self-help
"Burroughs is always, candidly, shockingly, frighteningly honest"

APR 15 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

The evil that men do

John Wilkes Booth and the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
"There is no sure foundation set on blood, No certain life achieved by another's death."

MAR 24 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

A Fighting first couple

The Madisons and the War of 1812
"Howard evokes a stirring image of President Madison returning to the national capital in ruins"

MAR 22 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

Shade it black

The story of a soldier from a Mortuary Affairs unit
"The mortuary affairs unit did tremendously important work that helped give families closure"

MAR 20 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

frigid-air

The dangerous game of Alaskan aviation
"If there is any frontier still remaining in the United States it is likely located in Alaska"

FEB 12 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

Imagining history

Jeff Greenfield Looks At What Could Have Been
"When this genre is done well, it helps readers perceive what was and what could have been."

FEB 01 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

Old Man eloquent

Life After the White House for John Quincy Adams
"If the older generation were the Founding Fathers, perhaps JQA was the Founding Son"

JAN 31 2012
AND Magazine
Literature

American Ass Kickers

SEAL Team Six and the Death of Osama bin Laden
"Pfarrer lifts the curtain on the SEALs without shining a spotlight on the individual cast members"

JAN 12 2012
AND Magazine
Culture

What have i done?

Nixon's Perilous Final Hours in the White House
"Richard Nixon was born 99 years ago this month, this is how his Presidency ended"

DEC 16 2011
AND Magazine
Columns

stop the presses

How Dewey Didn't Defeat Truman In 1948
"Pietrusza is the undisputed champion of chronicling American political campaigns"

DEC 06 2011
AND Magazine
Literature

mourning the president

How The Nation Pays Respects To Fallen Leaders
"It's a must-read for enthusiasts of Presidential or American History"

NOV 28 2011
AND Magazine
The Independent

Presidential Advice

Does one assist another?
"Is there any benefit to consulting previous leaders of the free world? Of course..."

NOV 27 2011
AND Magazine
Unassigned Category

The Dead Presidents

Just what you think.
"Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings, and collections on the Presidency"

NOV 22 2011
AND Magazine
Culture

tradition of excellence

A Sports Story Representing America at its Best
"Yes, it's a story about sports, but even more, it is a story about people."

NOV 20 2011
AND Magazine
Culture

Crossover

A Democrat makes the case for a Republican
"Jon Huntsman can't win the race for the GOP nomination, but he would easily win a race for President"

NOV 10 2011
AND Magazine
The Independent

Perry's "oops" moment

How bad was it?
"It was so bad..."

NOV 09 2011
AND Magazine
Columns

25 years of def jam

Hip Hop's most revered record label
"It's almost overwhelming that this book is also such a visual treat."

NOV 04 2011
AND Magazine
Literature

Commander and general

Lincoln vs. McClellan in the Civil War
"The Civil War was never about just one issue, and Waugh broadens the study"

NOV 03 2011
AND Magazine
Literature

martyred president

James Garfield and the "Destiny of the Republic"
"The portrait that Millard paints in Destiny of the Republic is that of almost a saintly figure."

OCT 08 2011
AND Magazine
Entertainment

I wasn't saved to run

Fred Shuttlesworth 1922-2011
"Steve Jobs wasn't the only American visionary who died on October 5, 2011"

SEP 18 2011
AND Magazine
Music

Tupac shakur

An impact still felt 15 years after his death
"When my generation found heroes, they either fell back to earth quickly, or they died."

SEP 10 2011
AND Magazine
Culture

We Remember

When we were united
""I'll remember thinking, 'That's my President', about a guy I never voted for and didn't agree with""

SEP 03 2011
AND Magazine
Culture

Deadly peacemaker

How A National Tragedy Became An Unlikely Matchmaker
"As President Tyler reached the deck, the silence turned to anguished screams and confusion."

AUG 28 2011
AND Magazine
Literature

the overlooked founder

James Monroe's Revolutionary Life and Popular Presidency
"I was flabbergasted to learn just how much I underestimated James Monroe"

Visit Anthony's sponsor: