Kenneth C. Davis, who writes the Don’t Know Much About series published by HarperCollins, was recently dubbed the “King of Knowing” by Amazon.com. Davis, a sought-after media guest who has appeared on the Today Show, Martha Stewart, Fox & Friends, Bill O’Reilly, NPR, and C-Span’s Booknotes has struck a chord with Americans who want to be educated and entertained. He has also been a commentator for All Things Considered. In 2011, Harper released a newly revised and updated "Anniversary Edition" of his iconic bestseller, Don't Know Much About History.
With an engaging style and offbeat approach that uses humor, anecdotal material, and contemporary references, Davis makes his subjects-often viewed as boring come vividly to life. People Magazine once said, “Reading him is like returning to the classroom of the best teacher you ever had.” He speaks frequently before public library and educational groups about the need to make learning more appealing and has appeared at the American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institute, and the New-York Historical Society.
The success of his Don't Know Much About series has been phenomenal, beginning with Don't Know Much About History. With little fanfare, the book spent 35 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list and continues to rack up impressive sales. More than 1.5 million copies of Don't Know Much About History have been sold. In 2001 Davis added a Don't Know Much About series for children also published by HarperCollins. He frequently appears at schools where he brings a game show-styled quiz that is enormously popular with students, teachers, and parents.
The first book was followed by Don't Know Much About Geography: Everything You Need to Know About the World But Never Learned, Don't Know Much About the Civil War: Everything You Need to Know About America's Greatest Conflict But Never Learned and Don't Know Much About the Universe. Don't Know Much About the Bible has been Davis's best-selling hardcover book to date and was greeted by critical praise in both the secular and religious press. Don't Know Much About Mythology, came out in the fall of 2005, and Don’t Know Much About Anything was published in the summer of 2007. America’s Hidden History breaks away from his usual “question and answer” format to create a collection of six extraordinary stories, each detailing an overlooked episode that was crucial in shaping the nation’s destiny and character. Following up America's Hidden History was 2010's Nation Rising, where Davis explores the next chapter in the country's hidden history, the gritty first half of the 19th century, among the most tumultuous in the nation's short life.
Davis is also a Contributing Editor to USA Weekend, where his "Don't Know Much About" articles appear frequently and are read by millions. In addition, he has written for such national publications as The New York Times, Newsday, The Washington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He was also a featured participant in the Walter Cronkite television documentary, American Presidents: The Most Powerful Man on Earth, and has been prominent in the other television documentaries on A&E, Biography and the Discovery Channel. In December 1999, Davis was prominent in the A&E documentary, The Twelve Apostles: History's Great Revolutionaries and was featured in a documentary about Saint Paul.
Born and educated in public schools in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., Davis attended Concordia College in Bronxville, New York, and Fordham University at Lincoln Center, New York City. He lives in New York City and Vermont with his wife. They have two grown children.
Praise for Don't Know Much About History: Anniversary Edition
"Davis covers U.S. history with a balanced and contemporary voice, shedding light on many legends, myths, and inaccuracies (e.g., Pocahontas did not save Capt. John Smith's life; the first President of the United States was John Hanson of Maryland, elected President under the Articles of Confederation). The book makes for fun reading for history buffs."
-- Library Journal
"There is considerable merit in this book.... It is replete with interesting tidbits of information that can enrich one's general historical knowledge and stoke interest in further reading."
"A book that not only fills in gaps in historical knowledge, but is genuinely entertaining...wonderful!"
-- Orlando Sentinel
"Quirky, sardonic, accurate, rudimentary, and often amusing.... A breezy question-and-answer approach that is far removed from the massive textbooks all of us once lugged around."
-- Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Davis writes with humor, he can turn a fine phrase.... If history were usually taught this way, we wouldn't have to worry about the closing of the American mind."
"If you've always wondered exactly what Boss Tweed bossed and what Tammany Hall was, Davis is your man."
-- Washington Post Book World
"Unquestionably a handy reference book. It's just the thing when your pesky school-age kids try to show you up at homework time."
-- Dallas News
"Fun, engrossing, and significant... History in Davis's hands is loud, coarse, painful, funny, irreverent - and memorable."
-- San Francisco Chronicle