The Norman Transcript

February 20, 2013

Top historians, authors to headline Teach In at OU

Transcript Staff
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Pulitzer Prize-winning historians and authors David McCullough and David Kennedy will headline the University of Oklahoma’s “Teach-In on the Great Depression and World War II.”  They will be joined by four additional leading historians who will share their perspectives on this era in American history during a daylong Teach-In on OU’s Norman campus on Monday, March 11.  

McCullough, who will speak at dinner on President Harry Truman, the subject of his 1993 Pulitzer Prize-winning book Truman, has been widely acclaimed as a “master of the art of narrative history” and “a matchless writer.” McCullough’s books have been praised for their scholarship, their understanding of American life, their “vibrant prose” and their insight into individual character. The Library Journal noted, “McCullough’s life of Harry Truman is a Sandburg’s Lincoln for the 1990s…No biography approaches the richness, depth or grace of this one.” Alan Brinkley of The New York Times said, “The principal achievement of this biography – the most thorough account of Truman’s life yet to appear – is its honest and revealing portrait of the ‘ordinary’ man who became an extraordinary historical figure.” Walter Isaacson of Time reviewed, “In this compelling saga of America’s greatest common-man president, McCullough adds luster to an old-fashioned historical approach that is regaining respect: the sweeping narrative, filled with telling details and an appreciation of the role individuals play in shaping the world.”

McCullough also won a Pulitzer Prize for his book John Adams, which remains one of the most critically acclaimed and widely read American biographies of all time. He is a two-time recipient of the National Book Award, and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.

McCullough’s book 1776 was No. 1 on The New York Times national bestseller list. His work has been published in 10 languages, and more than 9 million copies of his books are in print. None of his books has ever been out of print.

Kennedy will speak at the luncheon on “A Tale of Three Cities: How the United States Won World War II.” He is the author of Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945, for which he won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for History and the Francis Parkman Prize, among others. He is professor of history emeritus, a senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, and the co-director of The Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University. Kennedy has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in the history of the 20th-century United States, American political and social thought, American foreign policy, American literature, and the comparative development of democracy in Europe and America.

The Teach-In will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall in Catlett Music Center, 500 W. Boyd St., with the first talk, “John Steinbeck’s America: A Cultural History of the Great Depression and World War II,” by OU history professor David Wrobel, an expert on the Great Depression, followed by a 10:30 a.m. talk in the same location, “Lessons from the Great Depression for Policy Today,” by University of California, Berkeley, professor Christina Romer. The noon luncheon address, “A Tale of Three Cities: How the United States Won World War II,” will be presented by Kennedy in the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom of Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Ave. 

The afternoon sessions, which will be in the Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall in Catlett Music Center, will begin at 2 p.m. and feature H.W. Brands, University of Texas at Austin history professor, who will talk on “The Beginning of the Era That Is Just Now Ending,” followed by a 3 p.m. talk on “The Great Depression and American Constitutionalism” by Noah Feldman, Harvard international law professor. A panel discussion moderated by Kyle Harper and featuring all the day’s speakers.

including McCullough and Kennedy, is scheduled for 4 p.m. The event will conclude with a dinner in the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom of Oklahoma Memorial Union featuring an address by McCullough on “Truman.”

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.