“What is the true state of the once honorable vocation of research and teaching in History? David Kaiser is without question one of the leading scholars of his generation. His sober and totally candid memoir is absorbing reading that clearly and personally illuminates the ever more tragic collapse of authentic higher education in America.”
Arthur Waldron, Lauder Professor of International Relations, The University of Pennsylvania
“David Kaiser’s intriguing autobiography, A Life in History, captures a rare quality these days—the ability to stand for what you believe and base those beliefs on facts, not trendy opinions. If you want to learn how to live your own life, read this book and be inspired to be an upstanding rock in the stream of history.
Morley Winograd, Senior Fellow, Annenberg USC Center for Communications & Leadership Policy.
“David Kaiser’s memoir, A Life in History, is a probing, sometimes searing, look at the professional life of an intellectual during the past half century. In the decades after he entered Harvard in 1965, Kaiser aspired to think, teach, and write in the best way possible, drawing on the assets and fielding
the challenges of the American academy. . . . In these reflections, Kaiser offers a personal answer to how to sustain the life of the mind and to ensure a public presence for bold thinking.”
Anne Rose, Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies, Pennsylvania State University
“David Kaiser is one of the few scholars to leave a lasting impact on the writing of both modern American and European history. His memoir offers a provocative account of how the historical profession and higher education have transformed in the last half-century. . . . Kaiser’s iconoclasm is insightful and entertaining, and it forces readers to think. This memoir will interest those who care about the writing of history. It also offers important ideas for the historical renaissance our society needs in an age of democratic crises.”
Jeremi Suri, Professor, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
“Reading this engrossing book took me back to my undergraduate days four decades ago, when Professor David Kaiser’s brilliance in the classroom captivated me and completely changed my career trajectory. Kaiser’s passion for the teaching and scholarship that energized him over and over again throughout his career makes this in part a beautiful love story. . . This absorbing tale is a window into the inner workings of academia at our nation’s premier institutions.”
James Goldgeier, Professor of International Relations, American University
“The question is why we yak-yak about every blip in the news cycle as just one damn thing after another, when we know that the Trump corruption and our calamities abroad will all be seen in an historical continuum–most likely as episodes of our Late Empire, an exhausted post-colonialism in which the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars will be marked among the final crashes. David Kaiser has a compelling answer to the question here — in the reflections of a neglected historian on the nutty over-specialization of his field and the virtual extinction of History as an undergraduate major. It’s important, as Santayana famously observed.”
Christopher Lydon, host of Open Source, the radio show and original podcast.