Michael Kammen, Historian of U.S. Psyche, Dies at 77

tags: obituaries, historians




Michael Kammen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian whose scholarly aim was no less than the illumination of the collective American psyche, died on Nov. 29 in Ithaca, N.Y. He was 77.

His death was announced by Cornell University, where he was the Newton C. Farr professor emeritus of American history and culture. His family said he had been in declining health in recent years, according to a university spokesman.

Professor Kammen (pronounced KAY-man) received the 1973 Pulitzer for history for “People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization,” published the previous year. That book sought to describe the national character from the country’s earliest days to the 20th century.

Underpinned by exhaustive research and abundant documentation, Professor Kammen’s books, essays and criticism — he was a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review and other publications — were noteworthy for remaining accessible to the general reader....



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