Victor Davis Hanson and Richard Pipes: Humanities Medals Awarded by President Bush

Historians in the News

Today, President George W. Bush awarded the prestigious National Humanities Medals for 2007 to Victor Davis Hanson, military historian and author, and Richard Pipes, author and historian, during a ceremony held in the White House East Room. In total, nine distinguished Americans and one cultural foundation were honored for their exemplary contributions to the humanities and were recognized for their scholarship, preservation efforts, philanthropy, and literary works. Other winners include Stephen H. Balch, scholar and advocate; Russell Freedman, author; Roger Hertog, philanthropist; Cynthia Ozick, author; Pauline L. Schultz, curator and author; Henry Leonard Snyder, scholar and innovator; Ruth R. Wisse, scholar and author; and the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art. Immediately following the ceremony, the medalists, their families, and friends joined the President and First Lady Laura Bush for a reception held in their honor.

The National Humanities Medal, first awarded in 1989 as the Charles Frankel Prize, honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens' engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans' access to important resources in the humanities.

The Humanities Medal is the signal award for the humanities. Over the last decade, including this year’s recipients, the National Humanities Medal has been awarded to only 98 individuals and 7 organizations. Among those recognized during this time period are: Bernard Lewis, Judith “Miss Manners” Martin, Madeleine L’Engle, Harvey Mansfield, and John Updike.

Medal recipients do not compete for this award but are specially selected by the President for their life-long achievements in their diverse areas of expertise. Citations and brief biographies for Victor Davis Hanson and Richard Pipes can be found below. A detailed profile of each of the medalists is available at

Victor Davis Hanson, military historian and author, is being recognized “for scholarship on our civilization’s past and present. He has cultivated the fields of history and brought forth an abundant harvest of wisdom for our times.” Hanson is the author of hundreds of articles, book reviews, scholarly papers, and newspaper editorials on matters ranging from Greek, agrarian and military history to foreign affairs, domestic politics, and contemporary culture. Additionally, he has written or edited 16 books. His newest book, A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War, was published by Random House in October 2005 and named one of the New York Times Notable 100 Books of 2006. Currently, Hanson is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor emeritus at California 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 each fall he teaches courses in military history and classical culture.


Richard Pipes, author and historian, is being recognized “for peerless scholarship on Russia and Eastern Europe and for a life in service to freedom’s cause. He has shaped and sharpened our understanding of the eternal contest of liberty and tyranny.” Pipes is an internationally renowned historian of Russia and the Soviet Union. Beginning with his 1954 book The Formation of the Soviet Union: Communism and Nationalism, 1917-1923, he has focused on the endurance of Russia’s autocratic traditions. He is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including Russian Conservatism and Its Critics, Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger, Russia under the Old Regime and The Russian Revolution. During the Cold War era, Pipes was Chairman of the Central Intelligence Agency’s “Team B” which was established to review strategic intelligence estimates and he served as an advisor to President Reagan on Soviet and Eastern European affairs. Currently, Pipes is Baird Professor of History Emeritus at Harvard University where he has been a professor of Russian history for nearly forty years.

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