Harvey Wheeler

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John Harvey Wheeler (October 17, 1918 – September 6, 2004) was an American author, political scientist, and scholar. He was best known as co-author with Eugene Burdick of Fail-Safe, 1962, an early cold war novel that depicted what could easily go wrong in an age on the verge of nuclear war. The novel was made into a movie, directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Henry Fonda, in 1964. In later years, Wheeler was a founding editor of the Journal of Social and Biological Structures, 1982, and an early advocate of online education and the Internet as a democratizing tool. He taught a course in "OnLine Publishing" for Connected Education in the mid-to-late 1980s.

Wheeler attended Subiaco Academy, earned his bachelor's and master's degree from Indiana University, and his PhD from Harvard University. He taught at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University; became full professor of political science at Washington and Lee University, where he wrote "Fail-Safe". In 1960 he became longtime fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara, Calif. While at CSDI he wrote, edited or contributed to a dozen books, including "Democracy in a Revolutionary Era" (1968) and "The Virtual Library" (1987).

He was an authority on Francis Bacon (1561–1626).


  • Lattimore the Scholar, (1953), co-author with George Boas; Baltimore.
  • The Conservative Crisis, (1956), Public Affairs Press, Washington.
  • Fail-Safe, (1962) Eugene Burdick & Harvey Wheeler, McGraw Hill; Re-published, 1999, by Ecco Press, now part of Harper-Collins.
  • Democracy in a Revolutionary Era, (1968) Harvey Wheeler, Encyclopædia Britannica Bicentennial Perspectives; Published separately by Praeger. New York.
  • Democracy in a Revolutionary Era, (1970) Praeger, New York.
  • Beyond the Punitive Society, (1973) editor and contributor, W.H. Freeman, San Francisco.
  • The Structure of Human Reflexion, (1990) Ed and contributor, Peter Lang, New York.


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