6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

The Anti-American Politics of John Le Carré

The 2018 Wm. Roger Louis Lecture 
The Wm. Roger Louis Lecture honors the founding co-chair and steadfast supporter of the Washington History Seminar. Wm. Roger Louis is the Kerr Chair in English History and Culture at University of Texas at Austin. A former president of the National History Center, Professor Louis is a Global Fellow with the Wilson Center.

A whiff of anti-Americanism is noticeable in John le Carré’s novels from the mid-1970s onwards. In more recent years, since the end of the Cold War, the smell has become more pungent. Some of his least sympathetic characters are Americans, or Britons who defer to American power. Far from relaxing in his old age, John le Carré has become angrier; and increasingly, it seems, he blames America for the parlous state of the world.

Adam Sisman is the author of Boswell’s Presumptuous Task, winner of the US National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, and the biographer of John Le Carré, as well as the historians A. J. P. Taylor and Hugh Trevor-Roper. He has edited Trevor-Roper’s letters, and two volumes of letters by Patrick Leigh Fermor. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Honorary Fellow of the University of St Andrews.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.