Kenneth C. Davis
Historian, Author, Creator of Don't Know Much About® Series of Books and Audios

Kenneth C. Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of Don’t Know Much About® History and America’s Hidden History. He is also the author of many other books and audios for adults and children that have sold approximately 4.6 million print copies worldwide. He has written on such subjects as geography, the Bible, mythology and the Civil War. His most recent book, In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives, has been called “eye-opening” and “compulsively readable,” and was chosen as one of the Best Children’s and Young Adult Books of 2016 by The Washington Post.


As a speaker, Davis has keynoted and lectured at such venues as the Oregon Historical Society, the Pritzker Museum of Military History in Chicago, the Army Heritage Center, the New-York Historical Society, Young Presidents Organization, and frequently at public libraries, such as the Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, MD, The Belfast Free Library, and the Camden Public Library in Maine. He is also often asked to address librarian and teachers groups, and has spoken many times at the National Council for the Social Studies, and to regional Social Studies groups in Maine, Connecticut and New York, among others. He makes frequent virtual visits to schools to discuss history and current events with students and teachers.


His first book, written in 1984 was Two-Bit Culture: The Paperbacking of America, which examined the most consequential books published in paperback and offered a history of paperback publishing in America.


In addition to his books, Davis has written for the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, the Washington Post, and other national publications, including Smithsonian magazine. He is a frequent and sought after media guest who has brought his broad understanding of American History and its connection to current events to Today, CNN, CBS This Morning, Fox & Friends, and C-Span, and has been interviewed by Bill O’Reilly and Neil Cavuto, among many others. He has also made many appearances over the years on national and local radio, including The Diane Rehm Show, Here and Now, All Things Considered, and The Takeaway, as well as New York’s WNYC, Vermont Public Radio, Maine Public Broadcasting, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and Ohio Public Radio.


Davis posts at where a complete list of his books and articles can be found.


Photo credit: © Nina Subin

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In the Shadow of Liberty The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives
Henry Holt and Co.

Through the powerful stories of five enslaved people who were “owned” by four of our greatest presidents, this book helps set the record straight about the role slavery played in the founding of America. From Billy Lee, valet to George Washington, to Alfred Jackson, faithful servant of Andrew Jackson, these dramatic narratives explore our country’s great tragedy—that a nation “conceived in liberty” was also born in shackles. In the Shadow of Liberty is a 2017 Finalist for the Young Adult Library Association (YALSA) Award for Excellence in Nonfiction.

Don’t Know Much About History® Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned

Don’t Know Much About History® revolutionizes the way we, as Americans, learn about and understand our past. From the arrival of Columbus to the election of Barack Obama, Davis takes a new and comprehensive look at nearly 500 years of American history.

Conceived in Liberty, Born in Shackles Kenneth discusses the true story of slavery's role in the nation's founding, American history, and the presidency that you may not have learned in school.
Why We Don’t Know Much About History Why are we, as Americans, so clueless about our own national history? Kenneth examines this problem and offers ideas about how to fix it.
The Hidden History of America at War You may think you know American war history, but do you know who really fights our wars for us?
How Do We Get Our Kids Hooked on History Kenneth provides insights for teachers and parents about how to make history more than just a required subject in school for America's youth.

Take a look at Kenneth C. Davis’ site Don’t Know Much About®

Watch Kenneth on CBS This Morning

Listen to the WAMC interview with Kenneth about In the Shadow of Liberty

Follow Kenneth on Twitter and YouTube.

Praise for In the Shadow of Liberty:

"This well-researched book offers a chronological history of slavery in America and features five enslaved people and the four U.S. presidents who owned them.... A valuable, broad perspective on slavery."

"[A] powerful examination of five enslaved individuals and their presidential owners. . . . In a thoroughly researched and reasoned account, Davis exposes the intricacies of this impossibly tangled web."
Publishers Weekly

"The premise of this work is unique, and Davis has a very readable storytelling style. . . . An important and timely corrective."
Kirkus Reviews

"Davis’s solid research. . . accessible prose, and determination to make these stories known give young readers an important alternative to textbook representations of colonial life."
The Horn Book