Previously, Professor Hanson was a full-time farmer before joining California State University, Fresno in 1984 to initiate a classics program. He also was a visiting professor of classics at Stanford University (1991–92), a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California (1992–93), and he held the visiting Shifrin Chair of Military History at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland (2002–3).
Professor Hanson is the author of some 170 articles, book reviews, and newspaper editorials on Greek, agrarian, and military history and essays on contemporary culture. He has written or edited thirteen books, including Warfare and Agriculture in Classical Greece; The Western Way of War; Hoplites: The Ancient Greek Battle Experience; The Other Greeks: The Family Farm and the Agrarian Roots of Western Civilization; Fields without Dreams: Defending the Agrarian Idea; The Land Was Everything: Letters from an American Farmer; The Wars of the Ancient Greeks; The Soul of Battle; Carnage and Culture; An Autumn of War; Mexifornia: A State of Becoming; and, Ripples of Battle.
He also co-authored, with John Heath, Who Killed Homer? The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom; and, with Bruce Thornton and John Heath, Bonfire of the Humanities.
Hanson has written essays, editorials, and reviews for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the International Herald Tribune, the New York Post, National Review, American Heritage, Policy Review, Commentary, National Review, the Wilson Quarterly, the Weekly Standard, Daily Telegraph, and Washington Times and has been interviewed often on National Public Radio, the PBS Newshour, and C-Span BookTV. Currently he is a weekly columnist for the National Review Online and City Journal, as well as the board of the Claremont Institute.
His many awards include an American Philological Association Excellence in Teaching Award (1991), the Eric Breindel Award for opinion journalism (2002), and he was named alumnus of the year of the University of California, Santa Cruz (2002), and an Alexander Onassis Fellow (2001).
Professor Hanson was educated at the University of California, Santa Cruz (B.A. 1975), the American School of Classical Studies (1978–79) and received his Ph.D. in classics from Stanford University in 1980.