Prof. Michael Nelson Discusses New Book on President Trump’s First Year In Office

seated author discussing book on stage
Dr. Dan Cullen and Dr. Michael Nelson (r)

Dr. Michael Nelson, a recognized Presidential scholar and the Fulmer Professor of Political Science at Rhodes College, discussed and signed copies of his new book, Trump’s First Year, Jan. 29 in Buckman Hall on campus. The 220-page book provides a nonpartisan analysis of Donald Trump’s first year as president, starting with his election and transition in 2016, as well as offers an up-to-date assessment of this still unfolding story.

In Trump’s First Year, Nelson provides an analysis grounded in the modern history of the presidency as well as in the larger constitutional and political order. He considers the dramatic election itself, the forming and reforming of the administration, congressional relations, executive actions, bureaucratic politics, judicial appointments and decisions, media relations and public communications, and public opinion. “The power of Trump’s First Year comes from Nelson’s style—controlled, compact, clipped, and matter-of-fact,” according to Yale University Professor Stephen Skowronek. “This is one of those experiences that reveals itself most profoundly when it is allowed to speak for itself. I was thoroughly taken in, and before I knew it, there was no good way out.” Nelson’s book already has been favorably reviewed in The Washington Post and The Guardian.

Among the courses Nelson teaches at Rhodes is Political Science 340-The American Presidency. He also is a senior fellow at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, which is a nonpartisan research center specializing in presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history. Nelson is author of numerous articles and books including Resilient America: Electing Nixon in 1968, Channeling Dissent, and Dividing Government (2014). The book won the Richard E. Neustadt Book Award presented by the American Political Science Association’s Presidency Research Section. 

Trump’s First Year is available in paperback and e-book through the University of Virginia Press at