Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Author Archives: Victorhanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

He recently published an historical novel The End of Sparta (2012), a realistic retelling of Epaminondas invasion and liberation of Spartan-control Messenia. In The Father of Us All (2011), he collected earlier essays on warfare ancient and modern. His upcoming history The Savior Generals(2013) analyzes how five generals in the history of the West changed the course of battles against all odds.

He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 and the Bradley Prize in 2008.

Hanson, who was the fifth successive generation to live in the same house on his family’s farm, was a full-time orchard and vineyard grower from 1980-1984, before joining the nearby CSU Fresno campus in 1984 to initiate a classical languages program. In 1991, he was awarded an American Philological Association Excellence in Teaching Award, which is given yearly to the country’s top undergraduate teachers of Greek and Latin. Hanson has been a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California (1992-93), a visiting professor of classics at Stanford University (1991-92), a recipient of the Eric Breindel Award for opinion journalism (2002), an Alexander Onassis Fellow (2001), and was named alumnus of the year of the University of California, Santa Cruz (2002). He was also the visiting Shifrin Professor of Military History at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland (2002-3). He received the Manhattan Institute’s Wriston Lectureship in 2004, and the 2006 Nimitz Lectureship in Military History at UC Berkeley in 2006.

Hanson is the author of hundreds of articles, book reviews, scholarly papers, and newspaper editorials on matters ranging from ancient Greek, agrarian and military history to foreign affairs, domestic politics, and contemporary culture. He has written or edited 17 books, including Warfare and Agriculture in Classical Greece (1983; paperback ed. University of California Press, 1998); The Western Way of War (Alfred Knopf, 1989; 2d paperback ed. University of California Press, 2000); Hoplites: The Ancient Greek Battle Experience (Routledge, 1991; paperback., 1992); The Other Greeks: The Family Farm and the Agrarian Roots of Western Civilization(Free Press, 1995; 2nd paperback ed., University of California Press, 2000);Fields without Dreams: Defending the Agrarian Idea (Free Press, 1996; paperback, Touchstone, 1997; The Bay Area Book reviewers Non-fiction winner for 1996); The Land Was Everything: Letters from an American Farmer (Free Press, 2000; a Los Angeles Times Notable book of the year); The Wars of the Ancient Greeks (Cassell, 1999; paperback, 2001); The Soul of Battle (Free Press, 1999, paperback, Anchor/Vintage, 2000); Carnage and Culture (Doubleday, 2001; Anchor/Vintage, 2002; a New York Times bestseller); An Autumn of War (Anchor/Vintage, 2002); Mexifornia: A State of Becoming (Encounter, 2003),Ripples of Battle (Doubleday, 2003), and Between War and Peace (Random House, 2004).

A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War, was published by Random House in October 2005. It was named one of the New York Times Notable 100 Books of 2006. Hanson coauthored, with John Heath, Who Killed Homer? The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom (Free Press, 1998; paperback, Encounter Press, 2000); with Bruce Thornton and John Heath, Bonfire of the Humanities (ISI Books, 2001); and with Heather MacDonald, and Steven Malanga, The Immigration Solution: A Better Plan Than Today’s (Ivan Dee 2007). He edited a collection of essays on ancient warfare, Makers of Ancient Strategy (Princeton University Press, 2010).

Hanson has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, New York Post, National Review, Washington Times, Commentary, The Washington Post, Claremont Review of Books, American Heritage, New Criterion, Policy Review, Wilson Quarterly, Weekly Standard, Daily Telegraph, and has been interviewed often on National Public Radio, PBS Newshour, Fox News, CNN, and C-Span’s Book TV and In-Depth. He serves on the editorial board of the Military History Quarterly, and City Journal.

Since 2001, Hanson has written a weekly column for National Review Online, and in 2004, began his weekly syndicated column for Tribune Media Services. In 2006, he also began thrice-weekly blog for Pajamas Media, Works and Days.

Hanson was educated at the University of California, Santa Cruz (BA, Classics, 1975, ‘highest honors’ Classics, ‘college honors’, Cowell College), the American School of Classical Studies, Athens (regular member, 1978-79) and received his Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford University in 1980. He divides his time between his forty-acre tree and vine farm near Selma, California, where he was born in 1953, and the Stanford campus.

The NFL House of Cards

By Victor Davis Hanson
National Review

The Corner

The problem with the NFL is not just Donald Trump, but the greater dilemma that the league’s reason to be has become predicated on a labyrinth of lies.

The majority of the viewing audience is not young, hip, and loyal as hyped, but, even if fading, still largely reflects the majorities in red-state America that have no patience with gratuitous insults to the National Anthem and flag. The NFL apparently never grasped the political truism that you never insult your base and core supporters; sympathetic CNN talking heads and the solidarity of progressive political activists will not turn around sagging revenues, but will only contribute to them. Read more →

Allegations of Foreign Election Tampering Have Always Rung Hollow

by Victor Davis Hanson
National Review

Blaming foreign influence on an election loss has become a habitual practice for unsuccessful presidential candidates, but such allegations have never rung true.

On her current book tour, Hillary Clinton is still blaming the Russians (among others) for her unexpected defeat in last year’s presidential election. She remains sold on a conspiracy theory that Donald Trump successfully colluded with Russian president Vladimir Putin to rig the election in Trump’s favor. Read more →

From an Angry Reader:

Dear VDH,

I faithfully read and enjoy your many commentaries on current events. But surely, as a historian, you should realize that Dred Scott was rightly decided, as I thought even in my youth. Even my reliably left-leaning constitutional-law professor colleague, who was shocked by my condemnation of Wickard v. Filburn, agrees with me on this.

Christopher Boorse


Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Sort of Angry Reader Christopher Boorse,

Your “left-leaning constitutional-law professor colleague” I fear is sorely mistaken. If one accepts the narrow, amoral proposition that humans can be enslaved, and that chattel slaves are thus mere property of their masters to hunt down as they please, and as, American native-born, they still do not have rights and constitutional protections of citizenship, then I suppose Chief Roger B. Taney’s decision was consistently logical.

But I do not accept any of those legal or moral assumptions, and so cannot accept that slavery can be either legal or moral, or that humans can become the mere property of other humans, or that those born in the United States to others born in the United States are not citizens with legal protections.

The Dred Scott ruling represented the legal gymnastics of an ethically bankrupt mind—and was seen as such within a few years. Taney could easily have overturned Southern-state statutes, by ruling that slavery was an innate denial of the protections offered by the Bill of Rights for those born in the United States, or a violation of the spirit of the Declaration of Independence or that in legal proceedings and punishment slavery violated the cruel and unusual punishment prohibition clause. But he did not and so rightly suffered history’s condemnation.

Victor Hanson

What If South Korea Acted Like North Korea?

By Victor Davis Hanson
National Review

If it threatened to destroy its neighbor — China — the neighbor would act.

Think of the Korean Peninsula turned upside down.

Imagine if there were a South Korean dictatorship that had been in power, as a client of the United States since 1953. Read more →

Diversity Can Spell Trouble

By Victor Davis Hanson
Defining Ideas

United States Map graphically all people and the words "E Pluribus Unum"

Image credit: Barbara Kelley

America is experiencing a diversity and inclusion conundrum—which, in historical terms, has not necessarily been a good thing. Communities are tearing themselves apart over the statues of long-dead Confederate generals. Controversy rages over which slogan—“Black Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter”—is truly racist. Antifa street thugs clash with white supremacists in a major American city. Americans argue over whether the USC equine mascot “Traveler” is racist, given the resemblance of the horse’s name to Robert E. Lee’s mount “Traveller.” Amid all this turmoil, we forget that diversity was always considered a liability in the history of nations—not an asset. Read more →

Beware of Narratives and Misinformation

by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review


Narratives surrounding the DNC hack & Antifa reveal media bias and government bureaucracy at their worst.


U.S. intelligence agencies said Russia was responsible for hacking Democratic National Committee e-mail accounts, leading to the publication of about 20,000 stolen e-mails on WikiLeaks.


But that finding was reportedly based largely on the DNC’s strange outsourcing of the investigation to a private cybersecurity firm. Rarely does the victim of a crime first hire a private investigator whose findings later form the basis of government conclusions.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is many things. But so far he has not been caught lying about the origin of the leaked documents that came into his hands. He has insisted for well over a year that the Russians did not provide him with the DNC e-mails.


When it was discovered that the e-mails had been compromised, then–DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz weirdly refused to allow forensic detectives from the FBI to examine the DNC server to probe the evidence of the theft. Why did the FBI accept that refusal? Read more →

A Little DACA Honesty

The Corner- The one and only.  // National Review

By Victor Davis Hanson

It is surreal to look at more than a dozen clips of Barack Obama in non-campaign mode prior to 2012 assuring the country (“I am not king”) that he simply could not usurp the power of the Congress and by fiat illegally issue blanket amnesties in precisely the fashion he would in 2012 — presumably on the assumption that new polls worded along the lines of “would you deport small children brought by their parents to the country as infants” showed a majority of Americans would not.


So, on the basis of both short-term gain in 2012 and long-term progressive interest in creating a new demographic reality in swing states in the southwest, Obama eagerly did exactly what he had said that he could not legally do — and not with reluctance, but with the self-righteous zeal of a convert, and in condemnation of anyone morally suspect enough to have agreed with his position prior to his reelection campaign. Such is identity politics. Read more →


From An Angry Reader:

Angry Reader Sam Davidson


I enjoy reading your articles in the National Review. I never understood why this country has statues that honor people that took up arms against the United States. I do not think there are any statues honoring Lord Cornwallis, General Santa Ana, Ludendorf, Tojo, or Hitler. The Confederates were lucky President Johnson was a Southerner and every officer over the rank of captain wasn’t shot. In my opinion this isn’t about slavery or state’s rights, it is about treason.

Best Wishes,

Sam Davidson


Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Kinda Angry Reader Sam Davidson,

To answer you, question why are Confederate statues somewhat different from those of a few monsters you list? Read more →


From An Angry Reader:

Angry Reader Wes Bridgeman

Dear Mr. Hanson,

My father, Lt. Col. William Bridgeman (Retired), sent me the attached links and quotes that I would like to bring to your attention. This features the words of the figures themselves (Forrest and Lincoln), and I will let them speak for themselves.

Please consider a correction to your recent statements regarding Forrest, whereas he is factually innocent of “founding the KKK.” Forrest was actually a leader in civil rights, despite current dogma.

Thank you in advance,

Wes Bridgeman


Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Wes Bridgeman,

Forrest claimed that he had changed after the war (at a time when he was sick, bankrupt, and in need of commercial opportunities), but I address the issue at length in the chapter on Shiloh in Ripples of Battle; you might revisit that book and my section on Forrest and the Klan and I think you will find that he did in fact, at least stealthily, spearhead its origins.

Thank you,

Victor Hanson

Throwing Away the Russian Card

By Victor Davis Hanson
National Review

The love-hate relation with Putin, from the Obama-era red reset button to the current collusion hysteria, has been a disaster.

“They [the North Koreans] will eat grass but will not stop their program as long as they do not feel safe.”— Vladimir Putin, Beijing, China, September 5, 2017

China has put the U.S. into an existential dilemma. Its surrogate North Korea — whose nuclear arsenal is certainly in large part a product of Chinese technology and commercial ties — by any standard of international standing is a failed, fourth-world state. North Korean population, industry, culture, and politics would otherwise warrant very little attention.

Read more →

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