Stanford University

News Service


NEWS RELEASE

4/10/00

Diane Manuel, News Service (650) 725-1945; e-mail: dmanuel@leland.stanford.edu

Editors: A photo of Prof. Kennedy also is available to download.

Professor David Kennedy wins Pulitzer Prize for history

David Kennedy, the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, was awarded the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for history on Monday, April 10, for his book Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945.

The 858-page book, 11 years in the writing, is a comprehensive history of the Great Depression, the New Deal and World War II. It is the fourth volume in an Oxford University Press series of American history.

Kennedy was nominated for the 1981 Pulitzer for history for Over Here: The First World War and American Society. He also served on the 1984 Pulitzer history jury that decided there were no titles worthy of nomination.

"Having come close before, it feels better to make it all the way this time," Kennedy said in a telephone interview from his campus home. "I think it was Nixon who said, 'I've won and I've lost, and I can tell you winning feels better.'"

In 1997 Kennedy's colleague in the Stanford History Department, Jack Rakove, won the Pulitzer Prize for history for his book Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution.

Rakove, the Coe Professor of History and American Studies, served on the three-member jury that selected this year's award. He was one of the first people to congratulate Kennedy, popping into his office at noon to ask, "So, did you win?"

"Jack [Rakove] and I joked with each other that we've now established a firm tradition in the History Department that every person who has been seated in the Coe [endowed] chair has won a Pulitzer," Kennedy said. "First there was David Potter, then Donald Fehrenbacher, then I held the chair briefly, and now it's Jack. So the chair is a charm."

Kennedy, a native of Seattle, earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford in 1963. He received his doctorate in American studies from Yale University and joined the Stanford faculty in 1967.

Kennedy teaches courses in 20th-century U.S. history, American political and social thought, American foreign policy, American literature and the comparative development of democracy in Europe and America.

His 1970 book Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger explored the medical, legal, political and religious dimensions of birth control and helped to pioneer the emerging field of women's history. Over Here: The First World War and American Society used the history of American involvement in World War I to analyze the American political system, economy and culture in the early 20th century.

With Thomas A. Bailey, Kennedy was co-author of the seventh edition of The American Pageant, a textbook that is widely used in college courses and Advanced Placement courses in high schools.

"American Pageant has been in print for almost 50 years, and I can only hope the same for Freedom From Fear," Kennedy said.

Stanford is home to three living Pulitzer winners: Rakove (1997); historian Carl Degler (1972); and journalist James Risser (1976, 1979).

 

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