18th April 2012: John Lewis Gaddis Receives Biography Pulitzer Prize

John Lewis Gaddis


Congratulations to Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis who received the Biography Pulitzer for George F. Kennan: An American Life (New York: Penguin Books, 2011). Gaddis spent over 5 years writing and almost 30 years researching the diplomat and grand strategist’s life, influences and impact. The chapters on Kennan’s ‘Long Telegram‘ and ‘X’ article are a real education in policy work. You can read the recent H-Diplo discussion of Gaddis’s book here.  Louis Menand’s New Yorker review is here. I’ll miss Gaddis’s talk on Kennan at the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations annual conference. Gaddis’s books on the Cold War and history have given me some informative insights as I work on my PhD about counterterrorism studies and strategic culture.


Here’s a 2012 video of Gaddis discussing George F. Kennan: An American Life:



Photo: Strauss Center/Flickr.

29th November 2010: Cablegate

Germany’s Der Spiegel has launched a series on Wikileaks’ release of 250,000 US diplomatic cables, dubbled ‘cablegate’.

Wikileaks reveals a darkly realist view of the world, likened to a “foreign policy meltdown“.

The New York Times has articles on the ‘decision to publish’ and a selection of diplomatic documents as part of its State’s Secret series.

This will keep colleagues at the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations busy for months.

24th November 2010: Counterterrorism Studies Syllabi

Hedley Bull and Richard K. Betts each observed that one signal of a subfield’s growth is the number of new courses developed around a topic or theme.

Part of my ‘sampling frame’ includes the syllabi of counterterrorism studies courses after September 11. I started with the American Political Science Association, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the International Studies Association.

I then found some counterterrorism-related resources at TeachingTerror.net (syllabi) and the University of Maryland’s START Consortium (syllabi).

First impressions: (i) despite Academic Board delays counterrerrorism became a ‘hot topic’ after September 11; and (ii) discussion of ‘strategic culture’ can occur in courses on comparative politics, international relations theory, American foreign policy, and issues-based courses.

29th October 2010: Weekend Reading

Dealbook Special Section (Fall 2010): Private equity experienced a bubble in 2005-07 reminiscent of the 1980s. This special section examines how private equity survived the 2007-09 global financial crisis; the role of inflection points; and the regulatory games ahead. I keep an eye on stuff like this as a reminder of graduate school classes in organisational strategy.

Diplomatic History: This is the ‘house’ journal (A-ranked ERA) of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. I keep an eye on it for two reasons: (1) it often covers some interesting, relatively unknown incidents in American political history (some that may interest Russ Kick); and (2) the articles illustrate how to do archival and historical research, using the kind of sources that you won’t find online.

The Social Network: Aaron Sorkin‘s script (PDF) for David Fincher‘s film takes me back to the 1995-2000 dotcom bubble. I wrote a graduate school paper on the experience, here.