Son of the famous broadcaster David Brinkley, Alan came to Princeton from the Landon School in Washington, D.C. He graduated with honors in the Woodrow Wilson School and launched his academic career with his senior thesis on Huey Long that led to his National Book Award-winning book Voices of Protest. He lived with Jim Frierson, Mark Wine, and Nick Hammond senior year in Patton and belonged to Cap and Gown.
After earning a Ph.D. in history at Harvard in 1979, he taught there until 1989. He taught at Princeton for a year and then joined the faculty at Columbia, where he remained for his career and served as provost for five years. One of the pre-eminent historians of our generation, his specialty was 20th-century American political history from New Deal liberalism to the 21st century. Alan was a popular commentator on culture and politics, a Pulitzer Prize finalist — for his biography of Henry Luce, The Publisher — and author of two widely used American history textbooks. He held the Harmsworth Professorship at Oxford University and the Pitt Professorship at Cambridge University.
Alan is survived by his wife, Evangeline, whom he married in 1989, and their daughter, Elly.
He was a loyal classmate and friend to many in 1971. The class extends its deepest sympathies to Evangeline, Elly, other family, and his many friends and admirers.