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Alumnus Wins Pulitzer Prize for History of Vietnam War Fredrik Logevall Fredrik Logevall

June 11, 2013

Fredrik Logevall (PhD 1993, History), the John S. Knight Professor of International Studies at Cornell and director of that university’s Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, has won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for History for Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam (Random House, 2012). On July 1, Logevall will become Cornell’s vice provost for international relations.

As an author, you dream about something like this, but you don’t dare think it will really happen to you,” Logevall said on learning of his award.

The Pulitzer citation calls Embers of War, which covers the years from 1919 to 1959, “a balanced, deeply researched history of how, as French colonial rule faltered, a succession of American leaders moved step by step down a road toward full-blown war.” The book was listed as one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.

Logevall’s earlier books include Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam (University of California Press, 1999), which won three prizes and began life as a dissertation written under the direction of Gaddis Smith and Paul Kennedy; Nixon in the World: American Foreign Relations 1969-1977 (Oxford University Press, 2008, with Andrew Preston); and America’s Cold War: The Politics of Insecurity (Belknap/Harvard, 2009, with Campbell Craig). He is also co-editor (with Christopher Goscha) of University of California Press book series “From Indochina to Vietnam: Revolution and War in a Global Perspective.”

Logevall says his PhD training at Yale was instrumental in shaping him as a historian. “Yale was a superb place in the early 1990s to study diplomatic and international history. We had a critical mass of people working in these fields — faculty and graduate students — and it was great fun, not to mention hugely beneficial, to be in that environment.”

A specialist on U.S. foreign relations, Logevall teaches the history of U.S. diplomacy and foreign relations, the international history of the Cold War, and the Vietnam War. He joined the Cornell faculty in 2004 after teaching at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he co-founded the Center for Cold War Studies. In 2006-07 he was the Leverhulme Professor of History at the University of Nottingham and Mellon Senior Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge in the UK. Logevall is also an associate of the London School of Economics IDEAS Cold War Studies Programme.