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Historian Fredrik Logevall: Embers of War

Marcia Franklin talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author Fredrik Logevall, Ph.D.
about the antecedents to the Vietnam War.

Logevall, the Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School and a professor of history at Harvard College, won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in History for his book, “Embers of War.” It examined France’s colonial involvement in Vietnam, and how and why U.S. support of the French led to the Vietnam War.

In its citation, the Pulitzer committee called the work 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 also won the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians.

Franklin talks with Logevall about why he felt it was important for people to know about the pre-history of the Vietnam War, whether the war could have been avoided, and how the decisions made before and during the Vietnam War have affected our country’s foreign policy since then.

The author or editor of nine books, Professor Logevall previously taught at Cornell, where he was the director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, and at the University of California Santa Barbara, where he co-founded the Center for Cold War Studies. He is the past president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. Franklin spoke with him in Idaho Falls, where he gave the keynote speech at the Idaho Humanities Council’s 2016 Eastern Idaho Distinguished Humanities Lecture.

Originally Aired: 04/29/2016

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