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Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam

Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for History.

Date & Time

Sep. 5, 2012
4:00pm – 5:30pm

Location

6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
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Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam

Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam is the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner for History.

The struggle for Vietnam occupies a central place in the history of the twentieth century. Fought over a period of three decades, the conflict drew in all the world’s powers and saw two of them—first France, then the United States—attempt to subdue the revolutionary Vietnamese forces. For France, the defeat marked the effective end of her colonial empire, while for America the war left a gaping wound in the body politic that remains open to this day.

How did it happen? Tapping into newly accessible diplomatic archives in several nations, Fredrik Logevall, John S. Knight Professor of International Studies at Cornell University traces the path that led two Western nations to lose their way in Vietnam in his latest book entitled Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam. Embers of War opens in 1919 at the Versailles Peace Conference and concludes in 1959 with a Viet Cong ambush on a U.S. outpost outside Saigon and the deaths of two American officers, whose names would be the first to be carved on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. In between come years of political, military, and diplomatic maneuvering and miscalculation, as leaders on all sides embark on a series of stumbles that makes an eminently avoidable struggle a bloody and interminable reality.

Joining Logevall on the panel was William I. Hitchcock, professor of history at the University of Virginia and John Prados, senior fellow and project director with the National Security Archive at The George Washington University.

Christian F. Ostermann, director of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program chaired the event.
 


Hosted By

Cold War International History Project

The Cold War International History Project supports the full and prompt release of historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War. Through an award winning Digital Archive, the Project allows scholars, journalists, students, and the interested public to reassess the Cold War and its many contemporary legacies. It is part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.  Read more

Cold War International History Project

The Cold War International History Project supports the full and prompt release of historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War. Through an award winning Digital Archive, the Project allows scholars, journalists, students, and the interested public to reassess the Cold War and its many contemporary legacies. It is part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.  Read more

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