Donald Kagan

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Donald Kagan

Donald Kagan (born May 1, 1932 in Kuršėnai , Lithuania , † August 6, 2021 in Washington, DC ) was an American ancient historian .

Kagan grew up in the New York district of Brooklyn on where his family after his father's death in 1934 emigrated was. He received his PhD from Ohio State University in 1958 and taught at Yale from 1969. Most recently, he was the Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale University . He was a member of the Project for the New American Century .

His specialty was the history of ancient Greece , especially military history . Among other things, Kagan wrote a four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War , which is considered a standard work. In 2003 he published a summary of the work for a wider audience.

In addition, Kagan also appeared politically. One of his sons is Robert Kagan , one of the leading heads of the neoconservatives in the USA, whose political ideas Donald Kagan also represented, although he was rather left-wing liberal until the 1970s . With his son Frederick Kagan, Donald Kagan published the book While America Sleeps in 2000 , in which both advocated a higher defense budget.

Donald Kagan died in August 2021 at the age of 89.

Fonts (selection)


  • The Great Dialogue. A History of Greek Political Thought from Homer to Polybius . Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn. 1986, ISBN 0-313-22380-7 (reprint of the New York 1965 edition).
  • The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War . Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY 1991, ISBN 0-8014-0501-7 (reprinted from New York 1969 edition).
  • The Archidamian War . Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY 1991, ISBN 0-8014-0889-X (reprinted from New York 1974 edition).
  • The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition . Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY 1990, ISBN 0-8014-1367-2 (reprinted from New York 1981 edition).
  • The Fall of the Athenian Empire . Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY 1990, ISBN 0-8014-1935-2 (reprinted from New York 1987 edition).
  • Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy . Touchstone Books, New York 1992, ISBN 0-671-74926-9 (reprinted from New York 1991 edition).
  • On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace . Pimlico Books, London 1997, ISBN 0-7126-7350-4 (reprinted in D. Ed. New York 1995).
  • While America Sleeps. Self-delusion, military weakness, and threat to peace today . St. Martin's Press, New York 2000, ISBN 0-312-20624-0 (with Frederick Kagan).
  • The Western Heritage. The western civilization . Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ 2007, ISBN 978-0-13-195068-9 (reprinted from New York 2003 edition, with Steven Ozment and Frank M. Turner).
  • The Peloponnesian War . Viking Press, New York 2003, ISBN 0-670-03211-5 ( Review . In: The New York Times ).
  • Thucydides. The Reinvention of History . Penguin Books, New York 2010, ISBN 978-0-14-311829-9 (reprint of New York 2009 edition).


  • Studies in the Greek historians . CUP, Cambridge 2009, ISBN 978-0-521-12469-0 (reprint of the Cambridge 1975 edition).
  • with Gregory F. Viggiano: Men of Bronze: Hoplite Warfare in Ancient Greece . Princeton University Press, 2013, ISBN 978-0-691143019 .


  • Charles D. Hamilton (Ed.): Polis and Polemos. Essays on politics, war, and history in ancient Greece; in honor of Donald Kagan . Regina Books, Claremont, Calif. 1997, ISBN 0-941690-76-8 .

Web links


  1. Donald Kagan, leading neo-conservative historian, dead at 89. August 11, 2021, accessed on August 12, 2021 (English).