David E. Kaiser

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For the physicist and historian of science, see David Kaiser.
David E. Kaiser
David kaiser.jpg
David Kaiser
Born (1947-06-07) June 7, 1947 (age 69)
Alma mater Harvard University

David E. Kaiser (born June 7, 1947) is an American historian whose published works have covered a broad range of topics, from European warfare to American League baseball. He was a Professor in the Strategy and Policy Department of the United States Naval War College from 1990 until 2012 and has taught at Carnegie Mellon, Williams College, and Harvard University.

Early life[edit]

The son of a diplomat, Kaiser spent his childhood in three capital cities: Washington D.C., Albany, New York, and Dakar, Senegal. He attended Harvard University, graduating with a B.A. in history in 1969. He then spent several years at Harvard University where he gained a PhD in history, in 1976. He served in the Army Reserve from 1970 to 1976.

Published works[edit]

His works include: Economic Diplomacy and the Origins of the Second World War, Postmortem: New Evidence in the Case of Sacco and Vanzetti (with William Young), Politics and War: European Conflict from Philip II to Hitler, and Epic Season: The 1948 American League Pennant Race. His book, American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War, was winner of the 2001 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award (History Category). The Road to Dallas, (2008) examined the evidence in the Kennedy Assassination. In December 2008 he published a collection of his blog entries History Unfolding : Crisis and Rebirth in American Life 2004-2008.

The Road to Dallas[edit]

The Road to Dallas, about the Kennedy assassination, was published by Harvard University Press in 2008. The book accepts the Warren Commission's finding that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman, but posits that he was an opponent of Castro used by mafia leaders who wanted Kennedy and Castro dead.[1] Publishers Weekly's review stated: "While plenty of authors have argued that the Mafia and anti-Castro Cubans were behind the assassination of President Kennedy, few have done so as convincingly as... Kaiser."[2] Kirkus Reviews said that "the narrative’s level of detail, sober style, strict adherence to its double-track theory and plausible argument make it worthy of consideration."[3]

Timothy Naftali review for The Washington Post stated that he did not find Kaiser's arguments to be plausible or persuasive and described The Road to Dallas as "manic and unreadable".[1] In a lengthy review for Washington Decoded, Max Holland stated The Road to Dallas was "the most embarrassing work about the assassination ever printed by a scholarly press".[4]

No End Save Victory[edit]

No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation into War was published by Basic Books in 2014. In the book, Kaiser argued that Franklin D. Roosevelt did not lead the United States into World War II prior to 1941 because the country did not have the arms to do so.[5] In a review for The Washington Post, H. W. Brands wrote: "David Kaiser focuses on the critical months between May 1940 and December 1941. Others have written about this period, but few with his precision and insight."[5] Michael Beschloss of The New York Times described the book as "David Kaiser’s judicious, detailed and soundly researched history of Roosevelt’s tortuous process of first preparing America psychologically, politically and militarily, and then nudging the country into that apocalyptic struggle."[6] Beschloss added, "Kaiser has brought us a careful, nuanced, credible account of the events and complex issues surrounding America’s entry into World War II, which, however historical fashions change, is likely to wear well over the years."[6]

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Alonzo L. Hamby stated: "Mr. Kaiser's important story of internal discussion makes a substantial contribution to knowledge."[7] Hamby also wrote: "What gets largely passed over in his account is the high public drama of the period—the intense interventionist-isolationist debate (including the rhetorical duel between Roosevelt and Charles A. Lindbergh); the crucial commitment-laden visits to Britain and the Soviet Union by the president's close adviser Harry Hopkins ; and FDR's unprecedented campaign for a third term in 1940."[7] Kirkus Reviews described No End Save Victory as "[a]n admiring, richly textured portrait of a leader confronting the unthinkable."[8] It also characterized Kaiser as "an unabashed fan of FDR in this detailed description and analysis of U.S. foreign policy from May 1940 to Pearl Harbor. Repeatedly, he pauses to praise the president."[8]


Kaiser authors a blog History Unfolding, sub-titled, "A historian's comments on current events, foreign and domestic" where he presents his historical perspective on current events.[9]

In April 2009, a viral email comparing Barack Obama to the rise of the Third Reich was wrongly attributed to Kaiser.[10] Kaiser has stated that the email is a forgery.[11] The email does not reflect Kaiser's actual views.[12] Snopes.com traced the email content to an anonymous commenter on Pat Dollard's blog.[13] The New York Times also reported on this in an Op-Ed piece by a Physics/History of Science professor, also named David Kaiser,to whom the essay has also been incorrectly attributed.[14]

External links[edit]

  • Interview with Kaiser on "New Books in History."


  1. ^ a b Naftali, Tim (January 15, 2009). "Book Reviews: The Road to Dallas by D. Kaiser and Brothers in Arms by G. Russo and S. Molton". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy". Publishers Weekly. November 26, 2007. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  3. ^ "The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy". Kirkus Reviews. January 1, 2008. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  4. ^ Holland, Max (April 11, 2008). "Harvard does Dallas". Washington Decoded. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Brands, H.W. (May 9, 2014). "No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation into War by David Kaiser". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 15, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Beschloss, Michael (May 15, 2014). "The march to war: No End Save Victory and Japan 1941". The New York Times. Retrieved September 15, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Hamby, Alonzo L. (May 16, 2014). "Book Review: No End Save Victory by David Kaiser & The Mantle of Command by Nigel Hamilton". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 15, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation Into War". Kirkus Reviews. January 1, 2008. Retrieved September 15, 2014. 
  9. ^ Kaiser, David E. "History Unfolding" (blog). 
  10. ^ Kaiser, David E. (May 2, 2009). "Foreign policy wisdom". History Unfolding (blog). 
  11. ^ Kaiser, David E. (February 27, 2010). "Civilization and self-restraint". History Unfolding (blog). 
  12. ^ Kaiser, David E. (August 30, 2009). "A report from the trenches". History Unfolding (blog). 
  13. ^ "Historic proportions". Snopes.com. April 7, 2009. 
  14. ^ Kaiser, David (November 3, 2012). "I didn't write that". The New York Times.