About David

As a lawyer, I argued before juries, judges, the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  Now, I write history and historical novels, always looking for the people behind the stories, and for the stories that have been missed or misunderstood.

My 2015 book on James Madison — Madison’s Gift:  Five Partnerships That Built America – unspools Madison’s rare talent for working productively with others who were as different as Hamilton, Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, and his wife Dolley.  Those partnerships were essential to producing the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers, and the successful end of the War of 1812.  The book won the the William H. Prescott Award of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America.

I examined Aaron Burr in  American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America — not so much how he almost stole the presidency from Thomas Jefferson in 1800 or how he killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel four years later.  I featured his even more fantastic Western expedition of 1806-07, which threatened to destroy the nation and landed Burr on trial for treason, in the shadow of the gallows.

My first book, The Summer of 1787:  The Men Who Invented the Constitutionfocused on the political horse-trading and grimy compromises that produced the U.S. Constitution, as well as the brilliant and forgotten men who hammered out that charter.

Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy grew from my personal experience defending a Senate impeachment trial.  The book explores not only the festering wounds of the Civil War, which President Andrew Johnson made worse, but also the staggering levels of corruption that ultimately kept Johnson in office after an impeachment contest that had no winners.

My first novel, The Lincoln Deception , explores the secrets behind the John Wilkes Booth conspiracy. Jumping off from a true account of a deathbed disclosure in 1900 by the man who prosecuted Booth’s co-conspirators, the fictional Dr. Jamie Fraser seeks the truth about the Lincoln assassination, working with Speed Cook, the last black man to play big league baseball in the 1880s.  Publishers Weekly called it “an impressive debut novel.”

The Paris Deception reunites Fraser and Cook at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, trying to free Cook’s son from military injustice and prevent the catastrophic renewal of the war.  The Washington Post called it “another terrific Fraser and Cook mystery.”

The Babe Ruth Deceptionbrings Fraser and Cook back to New York in 1920 and 1921 — when the Babe has reinvented baseball with a barrage of home runs. Our heroes fight gangsters  to protect the legendary slugger survive the gang violence of Prohibition and the notorious Black Sox scandal.

My writing has included reporting for the Staten Island Advance, a decade of monthly Supreme Court columns for the American Bar Association Journal, and pieces in the Washington Post, its Sunday Magazine, and on Bloomberg View, History News Networkand American Heritage

From 2011 to 2018, I served as president of the Washington Independent Review of Books, which posts new reviews and book-related content daily.


After many years as a trial and appellate lawyer, David O. Stewart became a bestselling writer of history and historical fiction.  His histories have explored the writing of the Constitution, the gifts of James Madison, the outrageous western expedition and treason trial of the mysterious Aaron Burr, and the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.  His histories have won the Washington Writing Award for best book of the year, the History Prize of the Society of the Cincinnati, and the William H. Prescott Award of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America.

His first novel, The Lincoln Deception, about the John Wilkes Booth Conspiracy, was called the best historical novel of 2013 by Bloomberg View.   Sequels include The Paris Deception, set at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, and The Babe Ruth Deception, which follows the Babe’s first two years with the Yankees.

Literary agent: 

Carol Mann
Carol Mann Agency, New York City

A novel written by my son, Matt Stewart, The French Revolution, was long-listed for the 2011 Indies Choice awards and was listed as a Best Book of 2010 by the San Francisco Chronicle.