David M. Kennedy is the Donald J. McLachian Professor of History at Stanford University. His scholarship is notable for its integration of economic analysis with social history and political history. Kennedy has written over ten books; his first, Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger (1970), won the John Gilmary Shea Prize in 1970 and the Bancroft Prize in 1971. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Over Here: The First World War and American Society (1980) and won the Pulitzer in 2000 for his 1999 book Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. Other awards include the Francis Parkman Prize, the Ambassador's Prize and the California Gold Medal for Literature, all of which he received in the year 2000. Kennedy was educated at Stanford and Yale. The author of many articles, he has also penned a textbook, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, now in its thirteenth edition. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
David Kennedy: My name’s David Kennedy. And I’m the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History at Stanford University. I grew up in Seattle, Washington. I don’t think of it so much as where I came from exactly as when I came from. I was born in 1941. My childhood was deeply shaped by World War II as a kind of ambient thing. Seattle was a big ship and port for the Pacific War, so war stuff was all around when I was a kid. And Seattle became a boom town. Growing up in a very active but still quite provincial city out on the far western shores of the United States was a very peculiar experience. I see that now looking back from later in life. Of course I took it for granted at the time. But I think it made me, among other things, acutely aware of, or curious about what was this larger society of which poor, remote Seattle was not a part?
Recorded on: 7/4/07