Donald Kagan

Donald Kagan

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Donald Kagan is an American historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

 at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 specializing in ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, notable for his four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

. 1987-1988 Acting Director of Athletics, Yale University. He was Dean of Yale College from 1989–1992. He formerly taught in the Department of History
Cornell University Department of History
|- valign="top" ! style="border-top: solid 1px #aaaaaa;" | College | style="border-top: solid 1px #aaaaaa;" | Arts and Sciences |- valign="top" ! style="border-top: solid 1px #aaaaaa;" | Department Chair | style="border-top: solid 1px #aaaaaa;" | Barry Strauss...

 at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

. In a review in The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

, critic George Steiner
George Steiner
Francis George Steiner, FBA , is an influential European-born American literary critic, essayist, philosopher, novelist, translator, and educator. He has written extensively about the relationship between language, literature and society, and the impact of the Holocaust...

 said of Kagan's seminal four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War: "The temptation to acclaim Kagan's four volumes as the foremost work of history produced in North America in this century is vivid." Kagan is generally considered among the foremost scholars of Ancient Greek history at present.

Born into a Jewish family from Kuršėnai
Kuršenai
Kuršėnai is the twenty-fifth largest city in Lithuania. According to the 2001 census, it had 14,197 residents.-Famous people:* Stasys Raštikis, Lithuanian army general* Donald Kagan, Yale Classics professor-References:...

, Kagan grew up in the Brownsville
Brownsville, Brooklyn
Brownsville is a residential neighborhood located in eastern Brooklyn, New York City.The total land area is one square mile, and the ZIP code for the neighborhood is 11212....

 section of Brooklyn, New York, where his family emigrated when he was two years old, shortly after the death of his father. He graduated from Brooklyn College
Brooklyn College
Brooklyn College is a senior college of the City University of New York, located in Brooklyn, New York, United States.Established in 1930 by the New York City Board of Higher Education, the College had its beginnings as the Downtown Brooklyn branches of Hunter College and the City College of New...

 in 1954, received an MA from Brown University
Brown University
Brown University is a private, Ivy League university located in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1764 prior to American independence from the British Empire as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations early in the reign of King George III ,...

 in 1955 and a PhD from the Ohio State University
Ohio State University
The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as Ohio State, is a public research university located in Columbus, Ohio. It was originally founded in 1870 as a land-grant university and is currently the third largest university campus in the United States...

 in 1958.

Once a liberal Democrat, Professor Kagan changed his views in 1969 and became one of the original signers to the 1997 Statement of Principles by the neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century
Project for the New American Century
The Project for the New American Century was an American think tank based in Washington, D.C. that lasted from 1997 to 2006. It was co-founded as a non-profit educational organization by neoconservatives William Kristol and Robert Kagan...

. According to Jim Lobe, cited in The Fall of the House of Bush by Craig Unger (p. 39, n.), Kagan's turn away from liberalism occurred in 1969 when Cornell University was pressured into starting a Black Studies program by gun-wielding students seizing a building on campus: "Watching administrators demonstrate all the courage of Neville Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

 had a great impact on me, and I became much more conservative." On the eve of the 2000 presidential elections, Kagan and his son, Frederick Kagan
Frederick Kagan
Frederick W. Kagan is an American resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute , and a former professor of military history at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He graduated from Hamden High School before earning a B.A. in Soviet and East European studies and a Ph.D. in Russian and...

, published While America Sleeps
While America Sleeps
While America Sleeps is a book by historians Donald Kagan and Frederick Kagan, published September 2000. Their thesis was that the United States at the end of the Cold War resembled Britain following World War I. They argue for a policy of strengthening U.S. defense and a willingness to use...

, a call to increase defense spending. The National Endowment for the Humanities
National Endowment for the Humanities
The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent federal agency of the United States established by the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965 dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. The NEH is located at...

 (NEH) awarded Donald Kagan the National Humanities Medal
National Humanities Medal
The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.The award, given by the...

 in 2002, and selected him to deliver the 2005 Jefferson Lecture
Jefferson Lecture
The Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities is an honorary lecture series established in 1972 by the National Endowment for the Humanities . According to the NEH, the Lecture is "the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities."-History of...

, which the NEH calls "the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities." Kagan's Jefferson Lecture was entitled "In Defense of History"; he argued that history is of primary importance in the study of the humanities.

Kagan is currently Sterling Professor
Sterling Professor
A Sterling Professorship is the highest academic rank at Yale University, awarded to a tenured faculty member considered one of the best in his or her field...

 of Classics and History at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 — a title reserved for only the select few most accomplished academics at Yale. His course "The Origins of War" was one of the university's most popular courses for twenty-five years. He currently teaches "Introduction to Ancient Greek History" and upper level History and Classical Civilization seminars focusing on topics from Thucydides
Thucydides
Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

 to the Lakedaimonian hegemony
Spartan hegemony
The city-state of Sparta was the greatest military land power of classical Greek antiquity. During the classical period, Sparta owned, dominated or influenced the entire Peloponnese. Additionally, the defeat of the Athenians and the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War in 431-404 BCE resulted in...

. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

.

He is the father of Robert Kagan
Robert Kagan
Robert Kagan is an American historian and foreign policy commentator.-Early life and education:Kagan graduated from Yale University in 1980 where he was tapped by Skull and Bones, studied history, and founded the Yale Political Monthly. He later earned an MPP from the John F...

 and Frederick Kagan
Frederick Kagan
Frederick W. Kagan is an American resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute , and a former professor of military history at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He graduated from Hamden High School before earning a B.A. in Soviet and East European studies and a Ph.D. in Russian and...

, both well known writers. Robert Kagan's wife is Victoria Nuland
Victoria Nuland
Victoria Nuland is the spokesperson for the United States Department of State.-Career:In Summer 2011, Nuland became the State Department Spokesperson...

, spokesperson for the United States Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

. Frederick Kagan's wife is Kimberly Kagan
Kimberly Kagan
Kimberly Ellen Kagan is a Jewish-American military historian. She heads the Institute for the Study of War and has taught at West Point, Yale, Georgetown University, and American University. Kagan has published in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Weekly Standard and elsewhere...

, a well known military historian and founder and president of the ISW.

Works

  • Kagan, Donald. (1965). The Great Dialogue: A History of Greek Political Thought from Homer to Polybius. New York: Free Press.
  • Kagan, Donald. (1969). The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-0501-7.
  • Kagan, Donald. (1974). The Archidamian War. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-0889-X.
  • Kagan, Donald. (1981). The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-1367-2.
  • Kagan, Donald. (1987). The Fall of the Athenian Empire. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-1935-2
  • Kagan, Donald. (1991). Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy. New York: The Free Press. ISBN 0-684-86395-2.
  • Kagan, Donald. (1995). On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-42374-8.
  • Kagan, Donald and Kagan, Frederick
    Frederick Kagan
    Frederick W. Kagan is an American resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute , and a former professor of military history at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He graduated from Hamden High School before earning a B.A. in Soviet and East European studies and a Ph.D. in Russian and...

    . (2000). While America Sleeps. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-20624-0.
  • Kagan, Donald, Craig, Albert M.
    Albert M. Craig
    Albert Morton Craig is an American academic, historian, author and professor emeritus in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University.-Early life:...

    , Graham, William A.
    William A. Graham
    William A. Graham may refer to:*William Alexander Graham , American politician; Whig from North Carolina; U.S. Senator, Governor, Secretary of the Navy, Winfield Scott's running mate in 1852 presidential election*William A...

    , Ozment, Steven, and Turner, Frank M. (2000). The Heritage of World Civilizations.
  • Kagan, Donald, Ozment, Steven
    Steven Ozment
    Steven E. Ozment is an American historian of early modern and modern Germany, the European family, and the Protestant Reformation....

    , and Turner, Frank M.. (2003). The Western Heritage
    The Western Heritage
    The Western Heritage is an American history textbook used for the study of Western civilization and European history. It was first published in 1979, and has gone through ten editions. It was written by Donald Kagan, Steven Ozment, and Frank M. Turner...

    . New York: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-182839-8.
  • Kagan, Donald. (2003). The Peloponnesian War. New York: Viking Press. ISBN 0-670-03211-5.
  • Kagan, Donald. (2009). Thucydides: The Reinvention of History. New York: Viking Press. ISBN 0-670-02129-6.

External links