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Bill Clinton at the Church of Baseball

Bill Clinton cheering at a baseball matchDr Chris Birkett’s (1979, PPE) book, Bill Clinton at the Church of Baseball, is being published this November by Mercer University Press.

The book explores a story of heroism and idealism, identity and race, and the power of sports to shape American political culture. It reveals how Bill Clinton (1968, Politics), a sport-obsessed president, summoned the myths and rituals of the national pastime to influence debates on some of the most fiercely contested social and cultural issues of the era.

Middle-aged man with square frame glasses smiling looking at the camera wearing a beige round-necked jumperAfter graduating from Univ in the early eighties, Dr Chris Birkett spent 30 years as a news journalist for the BBC and Sky News (in particular, covering all the US presidential elections from Clinton to Obama) before retraining as a historian and receiving a PhD in US History from King’s College London in 2021. Bill Clinton at the Church of Baseball draws heavily on his experience producing TV and radio news content on US politics for the BBC in the 1990s.

He was previously Executive Editor of Sky News (2006-2013) and Managing Editor of BBC News 24 (1998-2000). He is the only UK journalist to have edited national general election results programmes on both radio (BBC, 1997) and television (Sky News, 2005). He also led election night broadcast coverage of every US presidential election between 1996 and 2012.

Dr Birkett received an International Emmy Award as Executive Producer of Sky News’​ coverage of the London terrorist attacks of July 2005 and a Royal Television Society Award for the historic deal that led to Britain’s first Prime Ministerial Debates in 2010. In 2013, the UK Government asked him to review the capability of its digital communications. He is currently Visiting Lecturer in Journalism at City University of London as well as a historian of baseball and the presidency at King’s College London. Dr Birkett has also been a member of the Univ in the Arts committee since its inception five years ago.

Bill Clinton at the Church of Baseball will soon be available to preorder on Mercer University Press and other online bookshops before its release on 7 November.

Published: 8 June 2023

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