Kenneth C. Davis is the author of "Don't Know Much About History" and the forthcoming "Don't Know Much About the American Presidents" scheduled for publication on September 18, 2012. You can read more about Kenneth here.
Kenneth C. Davis appears in the following:
Monday, January 21, 2013
Today, as the president takes the oath of office once more, the palpable hope and excitement of Obama's first inauguration has waned. How will President Obama's second inaugural compare to his first, and how does it fit the history of second inaugurals, from Lincoln on forward? Historian and author Kenneth C. Davis explores the history of second inaugurals, and discusses the expectations for President Obama.
Monday, January 21, 2013
The Brian Lehrer Show's coverage of Barack Obama's 2013 inaugural ceremony and address. Featuring analysis from Clarence Page, live from the National Mall in Washington, Jodi Kantor on Obama's second term agenda, and Kenneth C. Davis on the surprising history of inauguration day.
Monday, October 08, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Do you know the first president to write a memoir? Or the one to host the first White House Easter Egg Roll? And if we were to grade each president, would Reagan really come out on top — as many modern Republicans suggest? Kenneth C. Davis knows plenty about the commander-in-chiefs. He's the author the new book, in stores this week, “Don’t Know Much About the American Presidents.”
Monday, August 13, 2012
Historian Kenneth C. Davis takes us on a historical tour of the Olympic Games, and reminds us that the Olympics have always been about politics as much as games.
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
The national anthem commemorates the struggle of our nascent country at war. The lyrics come from a poem Francis Scott Key penned 200 years ago during the War of 1812: "The Defence of Fort McHenry." But does the song reflect the country today, centuries later?
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Just in time for the 4th of July, catch up on your American history with Kenneth C. Davis, author of the "Don't Know Much About" series, including the anniversary edition of Don't Know Much About History.
Listeners: Call in to put your American-history knowledge to the test in our 4th of July quiz! Call us at 212-433-9692.
Monday, June 25, 2012
It's the ultimate summer reading list: the Library of Congress has announced a list of the 88 "Books That Shaped America," an eclectic mix of literature that has contributed to the American conversation over the years.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Two hundred years ago today, the War of 1812 began. The United States was still in its infancy when Congress declared war, but by the time the Americans and British signed the Treaty of Ghent in 1815, the U.S. had emerged from its adolescence into adulthood.
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
If Tuesday's vote doesn't lean in his favor, Scott Walker will join the ranks of only a handful of politicians who've been ousted in recall elections. The Wisconsin vote has grabbed headlines for months, but it turns out that booting a governor from office is a fairly rare event. Ken Davis takes a historical perspective in this audio essay, examining recalls of the past.
Monday, May 28, 2012
It’s Memorial Day, a day that Americans often conflate with Veterans Day. Just to clarify: Memorial Day, once known as Decoration Day, was founded just after the Civil War; Veterans Day, once known as Armistice Day, was founded after World War I. Veterans Day is in November; Memorial Day, of course, is the last Monday in May. Kenneth C. Davis, author "Don't Know Much About History," gives a more comprehensive history of the origins and evolution of Memorial Day.
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Here on The Takeaway, we don't make predictions about the upcoming presidential race. But, as always, history repeats itself. So a look at the past can give a glimpse to the future. We call on our friend, historian Kenneth C. Davis for a little help. He's the author of "Don't Know Much About History". And today he's talking about one-term presidents and what the failure to win re-election means for their legacy.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
As they look towards the general elections, it's clear that President Obama and GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney both face very specific problems. Romney’s problem is one of personality: no candidate in the modern polling era with personal favorability ratings as low as his has ever won the presidency. Obama doesn't have a popularity problem, but he does face some trouble with the economy: no incumbent president has ever won re-election with unemployment rates as high as they are likely to be in November. Carroll Doherty, associate director for Pew Research Center, and Kenneth C. Davis, author of "Don't Know Much About History," explain what is behind these numbers.
Monday, February 27, 2012
On Sunday, during an appearance on ABC News' "This Week," Rick Santorum pushed his socially conservative message to new heights by denouncing the separation of church and state. Specifically, he stated that John F. Kennedy's 1960 speech supporting the split "made [him] want to throw up," and began the turn away from American values. However, some historians assert that the age-old debate over the role of religion in politics is actually quite recent, and only entered public discourse with the rise of the religious right in the late 80s and early 90s.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
In a recent op-ed for The New York Times, writer Timothy Egan makes this observation about the voters turning out for GOP primary contests around the country: "There is no other way to put this without resorting to demographic bluntness: the small fraction of Americans who are trying to pick the Republican nominee are old, white, uniformly Christian and unrepresentative of the nation at large." He goes on to make this observation about the demographic of the Republican primary electorate: "They are much closer to the population of 1890 than of 2012."
Friday, December 30, 2011
Some years just seem to have less impact than others. But 2011 held the Arab Spring, the death of Osama bin Laden, Occupy Wall Street, protests against austerity measures and the ousting of Berlusconi, as well as the end of the Iraq War. Which events of the past year will make it to the history textbooks, and which will be esoteric stories we confuse our grandkids with?
Monday, September 05, 2011
On this Labor Day many are celebrating a free day off from work with barbecues and beach trips. The holiday originally started in 1882 in New York City as a way for early unions to organize for basic workers rights. On the first Labor Day 30,000 union members to a picnic with their families in Union Square Park.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
American students are worse at U.S. history than any other subject. This is not a new fact, but continues to be troubling, particularly for Kenneth Davis, author of "Don't Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned." The New York Times reports that only 12 percent of high school seniors demonstrated "proficiency" in U.S. history and 55 percent scored "below basic" in nationwide testing. In other words: we don't know our own history and haven't improved for the past two decades. Davis takes a closer look at the reasons behind this continued lack of historical knowledge.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Relations between the White House and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remain strained, after a confluence of U.S. policy statements and Israeli response has left the two countries' leaderships at odds on the path towards peace. The diplomatic strife comes mainly from comments the president made in a speech last week saying that land swaps and a general return to pre-1967 borders in the area was the best way forward for Palestinians and Israelis. But what has America's relationship been with these borders for the last 44 years?
Monday, February 21, 2011
Here's how it works: Call in with two truths and one lie about any US President - you'll have to do a little research - and Ken will try to guess which one is made up. Stump him, win a tote bag!