Donald Kagan–On The Origins Of War–Videos

Posted on March 26, 2010. Filed under: Blogroll, Books, Communications, Economics, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Monetary Policy, People, Philosophy, Politics, Rants, Raves, Resources, Science, Strategy, Taxes, Technology, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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Background Articles and Videos

Donald Kagan

Donald Kagan (born 1932) is an American historian at Yale specializing in ancient Greece, notable for his four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War. He was Dean of Yale College from 1989–1992. He formerly taught in the Department of History at Cornell University. In a review in The New Yorker, critic George Steiner 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 in Lithuania, Kagan grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York, where his family emigrated shortly after the death of his father. He graduated from Brooklyn College, then received an MA from Brown University and a PhD from the Ohio State University in 1958.[1]

Once a liberal Democrat, Professor Kagan changed his views by the 1970s and became one of the original signers to the 1997 Statement of Principles by the neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century.[2] 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 the late sixties when Cornell University was pressured into starting a Black studies program by protesting students: “Watching administrators demonstrate all the courage of Neville Chamberlain 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, published While America Sleeps, a call to increase defense spending. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded Donald Kagan the National Humanities Medal in 2002, and selected him to deliver the 2005 Jefferson Lecture, which the NEH calls “the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.”[3] Kagan’s Jefferson Lecture was entitled “In Defense of History”;[4] he argued that history is of primary importance in the study of the humanities.[5][6]

Kagan is currently Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale University — 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 to Spartan Hegemony. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Another son, Robert Kagan, is also active in conservative politics and foreign relations.

War and Democracy in Ancient and Contemporary Middle East


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Donald Kagan–Ancient Greek History–Open Yale Course–Videos

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