In Memoriam: John David Lewis, 1955-2012


It is with great sadness that the Ayn Rand Institute announces the death on January 3, 2012, of Dr. John David Lewis after an extended battle with cancer.

At the time of his death, Dr. Lewis was visiting associate professor in the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program at Duke University, a position funded by the Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship and by the BB&T Charitable Foundation. He was also adjunct associate professor of business at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After a 25-year career in business, he changed direction and earned his PhD in classics in 2001 at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England.

Dr. Lewis lectured internationally and was well known and respected by his colleagues at Duke. Dr. Lewis authored three books—Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History (Princeton University Press, 2010); Early Greek Lawgivers (Bristol Classical Press, 2007); and Solon the Thinker: Political Thought in Archaic Athens (Duckworth Press, 2006)—as well as many other publications in academia and in the popular press. He was a frequent lecturer at Objectivist and non-Objectivist conferences throughout his career.

Dr. Lewis drew personal inspiration from Ayn Rand’s philosophy—and his work and life reflected his beliefs. He had a unique talent for conveying his knowledge and views, whether in delivering a lecture, writing a book, or in discussion with those around him.

Dr. Lewis’s wife Casey is planning a private memorial service later in 2012. She has requested that anyone wishing to contact her to please do so via email at:

It was Dr. Lewis’s wish that in lieu of customary gestures of condolence, those wishing to honor his memory should send contributions to the John David Lewis Memorial Fund at the Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship and/or the John David Lewis Memorial Fund at the Ayn Rand Institute. ARI’s Kathy Cross will assist those who wish to contribute to either of these funds. Please contact her at 732-242-9408 or by email at

In the passing of Dr. Lewis, the Objectivist movement has lost a true fighter. From all of us fortunate enough to have known him—and John had many personal friends at the Institute—thank you, John, for all your work, for your tireless devotion to the ideas you knew were right, and, most of all, for the inspiring way you lived your life. You are dearly missed.

Ayn Rand Institute

Who Did the Drawing on the Cover of “Nothing Less than Victory”?

Where did the cover of “Nothing Less than Victory” come from? Who did this wonderful drawing?

The answer is: William Tecumseh Sherman, When he was an 18 year-old cadet at West Point Military Academy.
“Theseus Killing the Centaur” is preserved in the West Point Military Museum, West Point, New York.
I appreciate their assistance! Here is the drawing, as found in the museum:

Book Launch!

Princeton University Press (March, 2010)

“John David Lewis has offered a superb appraisal of how ancient and modern wars start and finish. This chronicle of some 2,500 years of Western history is replete with a philosophical analysis of why nations fight, win—and lose. His insights and conclusions are original and fearless—as well as timely and welcome in the confused war-making of the present age.”

—Victor Davis Hanson, author of Carnage and Culture

“This book’s argument is powerful and provocative, and Lewis is a good storyteller and scholar. Ambitious, stimulating, and thoughtful, this book makes a strong case for the value of the strategic offensive, and engages with the kind of problems that everyone should be thinking about today.”

—Barry Strauss, author of The Spartacus War

Other Commentary and Reviews about Nothing Less than Victory:

Michigan War Studies Review

US News and World Report, Washington Book Club

The Objective Standard

Voices for Reason, The Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights

The Page 99 Test

National Review On-Line (Podcast)

Campaign for the American Reader

Times Higher Education

The Liberal Institute (Interview)

Read an excerpt (the Introduction)

Order this book!

More about Nothing Less than Victory