Robert Watson is an award-winning author who has published over 40 books and 200 scholarly articles and essays on topics in political, military, and social history, as well as two multi-edition, multi-volume encyclopedia sets on the presidents and first ladies. Some of his recent books include Affairs of State
(2012), America’s First Crisis
(2014), The Nazi Titanic
(2016), The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn
(2017), George Washington’s Final Battle
(2021), When Washington Burned
(2023) and American’s First Plague
(2023), as well as the forthcoming (2024) book Rebels at the Gates
. Watson’s books have won numerous awards including the Independent Publishers’ Gold Medal in History and Silver Medal in History, Commodore John Barry Book Award, John Lyman Book Award, Global Book Award, etc., have been featured on C-SPAN’s Book TV and at prominent literary festivals around the country, and are available in both audiobook and international translation; three of his books have been featured as TV shows.
A frequent media commentator, Watson has been interviewed thousands of times by news outlets around the world, including CNN, MSNBC, USA Today
, The New York Times
, NPR, and the BBC, and has appeared on Hardball
, The Daily Show
, C-SPAN’s American History TV
, The Washington Journal
, etc. He was a longtime Sunday columnist for the Sun-Sentinel
newspaper and political analyst for WPTV 5 (NBC) and a regular guest on such outlets as WPBT 2 (PBS), WIOD 610 AM, WFTL 850 AM, RTE 1 Ireland, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He has served as a researcher and on-screen expert for several historical documentaries for the Discovery, Science, National Geographic, History, Fuse, Super Channel, and other TV networks, including three seasons of an international award-winning series on the Nazis.
Dr. Watson co-convened several national conferences, co-founded the annual Truman Legacy Symposium for the Truman Presidential Library, and served on the boards of numerous academic associations, community organizations, and the Harry S. Truman Foundation, Calvin Coolidge Foundation, and George McGovern Center for Leadership. Watson also served as the editor of the scholarly journal White House Studies
, the assistant editor and book review editor of The Social Science Journal
, and the “Presidency Series” editor for the State University of New York Press. He has been a visiting scholar or lecturer with many leading historic sites, including the Truman Presidential Library, Gerald Ford Presidential Museum, Illinois Holocaust Museum, West Point, National Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Pentagon, Museum of the American Revolution, American Revolution Institute, Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History, National Museum of the US Navy, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Society of the Cincinnati, James Madison’s Montpelier, Fraunces Tavern Museum, Gettysburg National Battlefield, National Civil War Museum, US Capitol Historical Society, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Museum of Jewish Heritage in NYC, American Civil War Museum, Andersonville National Historic Site, and the Truman Little White House, to name a few. He is also one of a select group of historians invited every few years to rank the presidents.
As a community leader, Professor Watson has hosted many voter registration drives, mock elections and civic education programs for schools, and workshops for social studies teachers, and served as a judge for History Day contests, pronouncer for spelling bees, and moderator for political debates and community town halls. He co-founded three non-profits dedicated to civic engagement, political reform, and fact-checking political ads, has hosted for three decades a distinguished lecture series devoted to social justice and civility, whereby he has interviewed roughly 200 nationally-known leaders in politics, the law, diplomacy, and the arts for the public and television, and, with his teenage son, organized an annual writing contest for five years for students in Florida called “Let’s Write Together.” Watson has delivered over 2,500 lectures to libraries, museums, historic sites, community groups, and corporate conventions around the world, is a popular lecturer with One Day University, Curiosity Stream, and aboard luxury cruise ships, and has led “study tours” to historic sites around the U.S. and internationally.
Watson is the recipient of many awards for his contributions to the study of the presidency, election commentary, community service, civics programs for schools, and efforts in the community and on campus to combat anti-Semitism and incivility. He has been named “Professor of the Year” four times and has won all three campus-wide faculty awards—service, research, and teaching—several times at both Florida Atlantic University and Lynn University.
Robert was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, attended public schools in nearby Hershey, and was educated at Virginia Tech, where he lettered on the football and track teams. Winning 10 state championships in three different sports, he was inducted into two sports halls of fame. Watson currently holds the titles Distinguished Professor of American History, Avron Fogelman Research Professor, and Assistant Director of the Center for Citizenship and Civility at Lynn University. He is the proud father of Alexander and Isabella.