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Melvyn P. Leffler

Co-Chair, History and Public Policy Program Advisory Board


    January 1, 2020 — December 31, 2021

    Professional affiliation

    Professor Emeritus of American History at The University of Virginia

    Wilson Center Projects

    "George W. Bush and American Foreign Policy"

    Full Biography

    Melvyn P. Leffler is the Co-Chair of the History and Public Policy Program Advisory Board and Emeritus Professor of American History at The University of Virginia. He is the author of several books on the Cold War and on U.S. relations with Europe, including For the Soul of Mankind (2007), which won the George Louis Beer Prize from the American Historical Association, and A Preponderance of Power (1993), which won the Bancroft, Hoover, and Ferrell Prizes. In 2010, he and Odd Arne Westad co-edited the three volume Cambridge History of the Cold War. Along with Jeff Legro and Will Hitchcock, he is co-editor of Shaper Nations: Strategies for a Changing World (Harvard University Press, 2016). Most recently, he published Safeguarding Democratic Nationalism: U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security, 1920-2015 (Princeton, 2017). He has served as president of the Society for the History of American Foreign Relations, Harmsworth Professor at Oxford University, and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at The University of Virginia. He is now writing about the foreign policies of the George W. Bush administration

    Major Publications

    • When Walls Come Down: Strategic Planning in Uncertain Times, co-edited with Jeff Legro.  Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2011.
    • Cambridge History of the Cold War, co-edited with Odd Arne Westad, 3 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
    • To Lead the World: American Strategy After the Bush Doctrine, co-edited with  Jeffrey Legro.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
    • For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War.  New York: Hill and Wang, 2007.
    • The Cold War: An International History, co-edited with David Painter.  2nd edition,   London: Routledge, 2005.
    • The Specter of Communism: The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1917- 1953.  New York: Hill & Wang, 1994.
    • A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War.  Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992.
    • The Elusive Quest: America’s Pursuit of European Stability and French Security, 1919- 1933. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1979.
    • General Editor:  Shapers of International History  ( a new series of short biographies, published by Potomac books.  Two volumes have appeared; another will be out in 2012.  About ten more have been contracted).

    Previous Terms

    Fellow, May 1, 2011 - April 30, 2012

    Fellow, International Security Studies Program, The American Military and the Evolution of National Security Policy, 1945 - 1952