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: I was pretty . . . Now you have to remember this is in the 1950s by the time I was coming to consciousness about the fact that I had to go on in life and actually make a living. There was lots of propaganda at that time about science and engineering education. Sputnik in 1957 was, of course, a notable point in all that. And I graduated high school in 1959, so I was in an environment that was saturated with that kind of message. And I thought, along with a lot of other young people of my generation, that I would become an engineer. And the reason I went to Stanford as an undergraduate, in fact, was to study electrical engineering. That’s not the way I ended up, but that was my original intention. Recorded on: 7/4/07