Bradley, Richard 1961–
BRADLEY, Richard 1961–
PERSONAL: Born December 14, 1961, in Chicago, IL. Education: Illinois State University, B.S., 1988; University of Illinois, Chicago, M.A., 1992, Ph.D., 1997.
ADDRESSES: Office—Department of History, Central Methodist University, 411 Central Methodist Square, Fayette, MO 65248. E-mail—rbradley@central methodist.edu.
CAREER: Educator. Illinois State University, Normal, instructor in speech communications, 1993–94; Sociological Quarterly, managing editor, 1996–98; Alcorn State University, Lorman, MS, assistant professor of history, 1998–99; Central Methodist University, Fayette, MO, assistant professor of history and political science, 1999–.
MEMBER: Phi Alpha Theta, Omicron Delta Kappa.
American Political Mythology from Kennedy to Nixon (Volume 3 of "Modern American History" series), Peter Lang (New York, NY), 2000.
Contributor to encyclopedias; contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including Cultural Studies.
SIDELIGHTS: Richard Bradley's American Political Mythology from Kennedy to Nixon covers presidential myths at play in the presidencies of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon. For example, with regard to Kennedy, explained Norbert Wiley in Contemporary Sociology, Bradley discusses three major themes, "Kennedy's martyrdom for the cause of civil rights, his mythification in the conspiratorial haze that followed, and his projection into the kingdom of Camelot." According to Wiley, "There is plenty of blarney in all three themes, but this is the nature of mythification."
The Kennedy myth is an example of what Bradley describes as "idealized generalizations about the world that motivate action." Bradley, who calls Kennedy the "good king," writes that Johnson, who was considered by many to be the "usurper to the throne," is cast as the "bad king," until that title was more recently passed on. As Andrew E. Busch noted in Presidential Studies Quarterly, "by the time Nixon resigned in disgrace, he had supplanted Johnson as the ultimate bad king. Bradley demonstrates the degree to which monarchical language was used by historians, journalists, politicians, and in popular culture in all three cases and contends that the radical transformation of American politics and society in that period cannot be understood without reference to the collapse of the myth of the president as good king."
Of American Political Mythology from Kennedy to Nixon Busch concluded, "The strength of this work lies in an interesting thesis and a number of largely forgotten points that Bradley illuminates." Wiley maintained that "one can question some of Bradley's interpretations, but he has given us a brilliant work of historical semiotics. His method could be used for other studies, such as the way September 11 mythologized George W. Bush, or the blue dress, Bill Clinton. And, it is also a welcome addition to the theory and method of semiotics."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Sociology, January, 2003, Norbert Wiley, review of American Political Mythology from Kennedy to Nixon, p. 57.
History: Review of New Books, spring, 2001, Joe P. Dunn, review of American Political Mythology from Kennedy to Nixon, p. 102.
Presidential Studies Quarterly, December, 2002, Andrew E. Busch, review of American Political Mythology from Kennedy to Nixon, p. 815.