Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

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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 Russian Farce

by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

Remember when Obama and Hillary cozied up to Putin? And recall when the media rejoiced at surveillance leaks about Team Trump?

The American Left used to lecture the nation about its supposedly paranoid suspicions of Russia. The World War II alliance with Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union had led many leftists to envision a continuing post-war friendship with Russia.

During the subsequent Cold War, American liberals felt that the Right had unnecessarily become paranoid about Soviet Russia, logically culminating in the career of the demagogic Senator Joe McCarthy. Later, in movies such as Seven Days in May, Doctor Strangelove, and The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, Hollywood focused on American neuroses as much as Russian hostility for strained relations.

Read more →

03/27/17

From an Angry Reader:

Victor,

As a fine historian (but poor political scientist) you know quite well that Andrew Jackson was a national hero with a distinguished military career. The Donald is a former casino owner and reality TV show star. It is a long stretch to compare them. Further, a column replete with disjointed and frankly random comments about California infrastructure and Obama, while cryptically arguing against a mysterious and undefinable elite, would surely earn you poor marks. Stunned they published that dribble. You wrote “A War Like No Other”—I expect much better. In any event, and more importantly, the real issues facing America are the undermining of Pax Americana—our world, our institutions, and created for our benefit. These are being threatened by a reckless President who fails to understand that he destroying the West from within (unless, and even more disturbingly, he does). That is the geopolitical column that needs to be written. I hope you do. Thanks in advance. Steve

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Angry Reader Steve Fardy

Steve,

Do you understand how proper adjectives like “Jacksonian” work?

To say Trump is Freudian would not mean his life mirror imaged Sigmund Freud, any more than to describe one as Churchillian or Reaganesque demands perfect correlations. Trump is an outsider like Jackson; and also like him, Trump appeals to working-classes aggrieved at a political class, largely on issues of economic and cultural nationalism. All that is Jacksonian, whatever the disconnect between the actual lives of Trump and Jackson. Trump did not kill someone in a duel, commit bigamy, implement the Trail of Tears, or dare the Chief Justice to enforce his ruling—does that disconnect with Jackson bother you as well? Read more →

From an Angry Reader:

Russia’s political hierarchy and official press greeted Trump’s Inauguration with unreserved glee. An old order had crumbled and, with it, an impediment to Putin’s ambitions. “In 1917, armed supporters of Lenin stormed the Winter Palace and arrested capitalist ministers and overthrew the social political order,” the lead article in the daily Moskovski Komsomolets read. “On January 20, 2017, nobody in Washington planned to storm Congress or the White House and hang prominent members of the old regime from lampposts, but the feeling of the American political élite, especially the liberal part of it, is not different from that of the Russian bourgeoisie one hundred years ago.” Sound familiar? Why not check out the March issue The New Yorker article on Trump-Putin-and-the New Cold War. You may live in the cocooned atmosphere of CA? (I’m assuming from your position at Stanford University), but you oversimplify the matter. Take for instance where I live in a tiny hamlet in NE Texas—listed recently in a state medical guide as the “unhealthiest region of Texas.” My town of approx. 25,000 is 9th out of the 10 most crime-ridden areas of Texas. Texarkana, another city within the NE region of Texas, came in 4th, I believe. I’m surrounded by the white uneducated male and guilt-tripped white uneducated female- with hopefully a few more brain cells than teeth in their head, who repeatedly and loyally vote against themselves in GOP primaries election after election. They deny themselves access to health care, vote in public education budget cuts, (along with the public school teachers who can’t seem to connect the dots to why their work is not rewarded with better pay), and vote in tax breaks for the “elite” corporate/oil and gas CEO’s- while fracking and other forms of pollution wreak havoc across Texas. Just a few examples of how stupid it was for the Rust Belt states to go the way “of Texas.” Rest assured, they cannot afford health care for their chronic medical conditions, but repeatedly vote against it for fear of “socialism.” Why? Long-standing, systemic racial bias that is played out in gerrymandering and voter ID laws, and lack of basic education. So, I doubt sir the general voting population of my state could pronounce “Elitism” much less understand or take the time to pick up a newspaper and read about it. You give them far too much credit, and given the current whoopla over the current administration and its obvious entanglement with Russia, they will gleefully support Trump choosing to remain blind to the bitter end—an end I fear we’re all about to face.

Sherry Scott MD

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Sort of Angry Reader Sherry Scott, MD

You letter is sadly full of inaccuracies. Please get your facts straight before ranting. Read more →

Law Takes a Holiday

And anarchy follows.
by Victor Davis Hanson//National Review

In the 1934 romantic movie Death Takes a Holiday, Death assumes human form for three days, and the world turns chaotic.

The same thing happens when the law goes on a vacation. Rules are unenforced or politicized. Citizens quickly lose faith in the legal system. Anarchy follows — ensuring that there can be neither prosperity nor security.

The United States is descending into such an abyss, as politics now seem to govern whether existing laws are enforced.

Sociologists in the 1980s found out that when even minor infractions were ignored — such as the breaking of windows, or vendors walking into the street to hawk wares to motorists in a traffic jam — misdemeanors then spiraled into felonies as lawbreakers become emboldened. Read more →

03/22/17

From an Angry Reader:

This was written with the notion that we can have a mutual exchange of ideas.

Thanks,

Tom:

Victor Davis Hanson (sic) commentary (I assume it is Dr. Hanson) is very quiet and unassuming along with his Rodney King, “Why can’t we just get along,” attitude coupled with, ” everybody’s opinion is valid,” is simply irksome at best.  Many people Dr. Hanson have varied skills and have worked in several job capacities.  You assume that the people in the cities are trying to impose their values on the rest of the country and you are correct, we are.

There are some things worth fighting for, worth striving for, and worth dying for–at least our fore bearers (sic) believed as much.  Dr. Hanson shows the same kind of disrespect he commenting (sic) on rather than the tolerance that he supposedly espouses.

Dr. Hanson Stanford has an International Relations department (sic) no?  This a (sic) discipline for which Trump and his team seem to have so little respect. Do you not believe in the proponents of feminism, nor a woman’s right to her own body? What about freedom of speech, the free press, and accountability? Do you know what Clinton and President Trump value? When you know that it is not unlike knowing the difference between engine oil and hydraulic fluid.

Tom Claxton, Teacher

Leask, Saskatchewan, Canada

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Tom Claxton,

Dear Tom Claxton,

I assume that you are a teacher, but your letter is almost incomprehensible; was there something wrong with your electronic submission? Words and punctuation marks seem left out to the point that your meaning is almost impossible to fathom.

Otherwise, you fulfill all the requisites to make our Angry Reader posting: ad hominem attacks; no argument or examples to support your charges; and sarcasm and snark.
Read more →

Monasteries of the Mind

When everything is politicized, people retreat into mental mountaintops — dreams of the past and fantasies of the future.
by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

So long, it’s been good to know ya,
So long, it’s been good to know ya,
So long, it’s been good to know ya.
This dusty old dust is a-gettin’ my home,
And I got to be driftin’ along.
—Woodie Guthrie

 
The rapper Snoop Dogg released a video shooting a mock-up of the president. Rapper Bow Wow wants to “pimp” the first lady. What a difference a few months make. Not long ago rapper Kendrick Lamar issued an album whose cover showed young rappers on the White House lawn celebrating the death of a white judge. He received an invitation to the White House (a cut from his To Pimp a Butterfly album was Barack Obama’s favorite song of the year). When Trump has lost the rapper vote, has he lost America? Read more →

03/21/17

From an Angry Reader:

Sorry so many of the stars disagree with your politics, but it is an alternative fact to state that the envelope mixup was the fault of dense celebrities. The PWC representative, who handed the wrong envelope to Warren Beatty, along with his PWC associate in the wings, the only other person who knew the correct winner but did not immediately stop the proceedings to remedy the matter, were at fault. PWC did accept responsibility. Not something those on the right ever dream of doing. Much easier to blame everything on lefties.
Melinda Valencia
Glastonbury CT

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Melinda Valencia,

I did not blame the disaster on “lefties.” My point was that everyone involved in the Academy Awards, from the actors and directors/producers to the managers of the ceremony itself seemed to focus on politics (http://ew.com/tv/2017/02/26/oscars-trump/), and in such excessive fashion that they forgot that their first duty was to produce a professional awards ceremony—part of the essay’s larger theme that when we cannot manage the basics we resort to pontificating about the abstract.

I don’t know what “the right” has to do with an Oscars’ ceremony. In the future, if Hollywood and its auxiliaries will focus on the procedures and protocols and less on virtue signaling to their audiences about contemporary politics, there will be less chance of a monumental and embarrassing flub. After all, it is not difficult to select a winner, type the name on a piece of paper, put it into an envelope, and hand to a presenter. High schools do it all the time without causing mayhem on the stage.

Sincerely, Victor Davis Hanson

Moving Forward: The Need For Innovations In Technology And Strategy

by Kiron K. Skinner // Strategika

Poster Join the AAF Now

Image credit: Image credit: Poster Collection, US 2699, Hoover Institution Archives.

Two broad sets of U.S. military strategies during the second half of the twentieth century combined ideas, innovation, and technology in ways that offset Soviet conventional (and later nuclear) superiority in arms and military forces. These strategies also contributed to the overall state of cold war, as opposed to hot war, between the two superpowers. Today, the Pentagon is hard at work on a framework to achieve military dominance over a far more diverse set of adversaries. The defining features of this strategy are automation and artificial intelligence, and the core challenge is to determine whether international peace and stability are being enhanced or put at risk by them.

Read the full article here

http://www.hoover.org/research/moving-forward-need-innovations-technology-and-strategy

 

NOTE: Strategika is an online journal produced by the Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict at the Hoover Institution. Victor Davis Hanson chairs the Military History Working Group with counsel from Bruce S. Thornton and David L. Berkey, along with collaboration from the group’s distinguished scholars, military historians, analysts, journalists, and military officers.

Academy Untoward 2

From an Angry Reader:

After reading your discombobulated thoughts on Academy Awards, Mayor Bloomberg, et al., I now know why newspapers have traditionally been used as toilet tissue.

M. Buendia

Breinigsville PA

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader M. Buendia,

Are such angry letters mass produced in some central clearing house? No argument: CHECK; typical personal smear: CHECK; incoherence: CHECK.
All I needed from you is a simple refutation that 1) the Academy Awards were not Trump Bashing and did prove incompetent in not being able to identify the best picture awardee; 2) that Mayor Bloomberg talked of utopian solutions but could not remove snow from city streets promptly after a blizzard. Instead, your argument is that the newspaper is rightly used as toilet paper, but in your case not until you (firstly I assume) read it.

Sincerely,

Victor Davis Hanson

Academy Untoward

03/17/17
From an Angry Reader:

Mr. Hanson. Don’t know what Acadamy awards you were watching but my husband and I watched the whole show.  There was no bashing of Mr Trump at all during the entire show.  Jimmy Kimmel did some jokes but light weight.  So please we are tired of all the lies ..

Thank you

Hallie Bosetti

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Hallie Bosetti,

As I have noted in the past, there are typical characteristics of all angry progressive letters: 1) an inability simply to tell the truth and chronic distortion; 2) a resort to ad hominem attacks without argumentation; and 3) an inability to write coherently.

You do not disappoint.

1) In fact, I watched some of the Oscars and you are quite wrong that “there was no bashing of Mr. Trump at all during the entire show.”

Below I quote the synopsis from Entertainment Weekly, a standard, nonpartisan journal that covers Hollywood.

Read carefully please their account of the Academy Awards (http://ew.com/tv/2017/02/26/oscars-trump/)  Here is a sampling following their headline “Oscars Attack Trump: Celebs Unleashed on Hollywood’s big night

The first salvo against Donald Trump was fired only a few minutes into the Oscars — and then they just kept on coming. In what might be an unprecedented numbers of jokes, allusions, and sincere articulations inspired by a single person during an awards telecast, Hollywood’s most luminous tackled Trump and his policies during the the 89th annual Academy Awards. From host Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue, to the acceptance speeches, to those blue ribbons on tuxedo lapels, there were direct and indirect references to the 45th president throughout the ceremony.

2) Why do you resort to attacks like “we are tired of all the lies” in lieu of an argument? Such desperation only undermines your modest efforts.

3) Academy is not spelled Acadamy.

Sincerely,

Victor Davis Hanson

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