Geographic Connection to Pennsylvania: Harrisburg, Dauphin County
Newt Gingrich, a former Speaker of the House, is the author of Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War.
Born in Harrisburg on June 17, 1943, Newt Gingrich is best known as a Georgia Congressman and as Speaker of the House of Representatives. His most influential book, Contract with America, is a detailed account of the legislative proposal with which he led the Republican Party to victory in 1994, gaining the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in decades. Gingrich is also noted for his historical novels, Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War and 1945, and for his co-authored studies of economic, social, and strategic problems facing our country. Today, Gingrich resides in Virginia with his third wife and since retiring from Congress and works as a member of several academic institutions and political organizations, including the American Enterprise Institute.
Newton Leroy Gingrich was born on June 17, 1943, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Kathleen "Kit" Daugherty and Newton McPhearson. Around the time Newt was born, Kit and Newton divorced; his mother and grandparents raised him. In 1946, Kit married Major Bob Gingrich who, shortly after the marriage, adopted Newt and changed his name to Gingrich. He attended grade school at Fort Riley in Kansas, although he returned to Pennsylvania often in the summers to stay with his aunt and uncle. As a young teenager, he became friends with Paul Walker, the editor of the Harrisburg Home Star. Shortly thereafter, he began writing short articles for the paper and helping to collect ads. He also began working for the WHP radio station, where he did radio shows and read commentary. Newt attended junior-high school in France and Germany before moving to Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, to attend high school.
At the age of 19, during his freshman year at Emory University, Newt married Jackie Battley. He graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor's degree in history and went on to receive his Master's and Doctorate in modern European history from Tulane University. For the next eight years, he taught history and environmental studies at West Georgia College.
After the births of his two daughters, Kathy and Jackie, Gingrich ran for Congress for the first time in 1974—and lost. Not giving up, he ran again in 1976 but was again unsuccessful. Finally, in 1978, Gingrich became a congressman for Georgia. The first years of his campaigning were hard on his marriage, resulting in a divorce in January of 1981. In August of that same year he married his second wife, Marianne Ginther.
Gingrich went on to serve 20 years in Congress for the Sixth District of Georgia, battling Dukes of Hazzard co-star Ben "Cooter" Jones for the seat in 1994. He was elected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives that year, where he served until 1999. After 18 years of marriage, he then divorced Marianne and married Callista Bisek, a congressional aide.
Newt Gingrich is best known for his role in the "Contract with America," the legislative program upon which the Republicans campaigned in their successful effort to gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994, for the first time in 40 years. Nine of the ten legislative proposals contained in the Contract were passed in the Congress that followed the 1994 elections.
His service as Speaker of the House was the highlight of Gingrich's political career. However, in January of 1999, Gingrich resigned from his position as Speaker after the Republican Party did poorly in the 1998 midterm elections.
During and after his time as Speaker of the House, Gingrich has written seven books, including Contract with America, his published account of the Republican's 1994 platform and winning campaign. His most recent books include Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War, which speculates on what could have happened if General Lee had been victorious in the battle of Gettysburg. Gingrich has also recently written Saving Lives & Saving Money, a book that explains how to create a better healthcare system for America.
Named Time magazine's "Man of the Year" in 1995 as a result of Republican successes in the House, Gingrich has remained a popular speaker, lecturing on such topics as safety in America, healthcare, and leadership. The Newt Gingrich homepage explains that his audiences find him to be not only an educational but also an inspirational speaker.
Today, Newt Gingrich lives in Virginia, just outside Washington, DC, with his third wife Callista. He is a member of various boards and organizations, such as the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He is also CEO of the Gingrich Group, a communications and consulting firm specializing in transformational change; a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC; an Editorial Board Member of the Johns Hopkins University journal, Biosecurity and Bioterrorism; a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California; the Honorary Chairman of the NanoBusiness Alliance; and an Advisory Board Member for the Museum of the Rockies. Gingrich is also a political news analyst for the Fox News Channel.
Contract with America: The Bold Plan to Change the Nation. New York: Times Books, 1994.
Lessons Learned the Hard Way: A Personal Report. New York: HarperCollins, 1995.
Restoring the Dream: The Bold New Plan by House Republicans. New York: Times Books, 1995.
To Renew America. New York: Times Books, 1995.
Books With other writers
Saving Lives & Saving Money. (with Dana Pavey and Anne Woodbury) Washington: Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, 2003.
1945. (with William Forstchen) Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1996.
Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War. (with William Forstchen) New York: Thomas Dune Books, 2003.