Luke A. Nichter is a Professor of History and James H. Cavanaugh Endowed Chair in Presidential Studies at Chapman University in Orange, California. His area of specialty is the Cold War, the modern presidency, and U.S. political and diplomatic history, with a focus on the "long 1960s" from John F. Kennedy through Watergate. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Norwegian Nobel Institute, an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Massachusetts Historical Society, a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar, a Visiting Scholar at the University of Michigan's Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Oxford's Rothermere American Institute, a Hansard Research Scholar at the London School of Economics, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow.

He is a noted expert on Richard Nixon's 3,432 hours of secret White House tapes. Luke is a New York Times bestselling author or editor of seven books, including Richard Nixon and Europe: The Reshaping of the Postwar Atlantic World (Cambridge University Press), which was based on multilingual archival research in six countries. His most recent book is The Last Brahmin: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and the Making of the Cold War, published by Yale University Press. It is the first full biography of Lodge whose public career spanned from the 1930s to the 1970s also based on extensive multilingual archival research. This work was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Grant for 2017-2018.

Luke’s next book project, also under contract with Yale University Press, is tentatively titled The Making of the President, 1968: Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon, George Wallace, and the Election that Changed America. It will be the first rigorously researched historical account of the subject to have cooperation from all four major sides of the most controversial election in modern U.S. history. Luke has interviewed approximately 85 family members and former staffers, in addition to extensive archival research involving first-time access to a number of key collections that will dramatically change our understanding of the election. This work was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for 2020-2021.

He is the author, with Douglas Brinkley, of the New York Times bestselling The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), with a Mandarin version published by Chinese publisher SDX (Sanlian) Joint Publishing Company in 2019. A sequel volume, The Nixon Tapes: 1973, was published in 2015. Another of Luke's books will appear soon in Mandarin version to be published by Renmin Universty of China Press. The two volumes on the Nixon tapes were the winner of the Arthur S. Link - Warren F. Kuehl Prize for Documentary Editing, awarded by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. Jane Kamensky, Professor of History at Harvard University and Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women, called the volumes among the five best books on the 1970s.

Luke is a former founding Executive Producer of C-SPAN's American History TV, launched during January 2011 in 41 million homes. A feature of the series is "American Artifacts," a weekly program that Luke conceptualized, which lets viewers experience a museum, an archive, or a historic site from behind the scenes something different than what they would ordinarily see as a member of the visiting public. In August 2020, the White House announced his appointment to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, which was created in 1966 as part of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society initiative – transforming the role of the federal government from destroyer to protector of historic, cultural, and tribal sites.

His work has appeared in or has been reported on widely in the media. Luke's website, nixontapes.org, offering free access to the publicly released Nixon tapes as a public service, was featured by CBS Sunday Morning. He has written an authoritative history of White House taping systems, beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, through Richard Nixon in 1973, for the White House Historical Association. Luke has filed over 2,000 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the purpose of opening historically important records to public access — work that has been officially endorsed by the American Historical Association. His petition before Judge Royce Lamberth of the District Court for the District of Columbia unsealed thousands of pages of government records in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Luke earned his Ph.D. in History from Bowling Green State University, and lives in Orange, California and Bowling Green, Ohio.

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Updated: 8/11/2021