Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

Written with the style of a great novelist and the intrigue of a Cold War thriller, Embers of War is a landmark work that will forever change your understanding of how and why America went to war in Vietnam. Tapping newly accessible diplomatic archives in several nations, Fredrik Logevall traces the path that led two Western nations to tragically lose their way in the jungles of Southeast Asia. He brings to life the bloodiest battles of France’s final years in Indochina—and shows how, from an early point, a succession of American leaders made disastrous policy choices that put America on its own collision course with history.

An epic story of wasted opportunities and deadly miscalculations, Embers of War delves deep into the historical record to provide hard answers to the unanswered questions surrounding the demise of one Western power in Vietnam and the arrival of another. Eye-opening and compulsively readable, Embers of War is a gripping, heralded work that illuminates the hidden history of the French and American experiences in Vietnam.

Fredrik Logevall is John S. Knight Professor of International Studies and professor of history at Cornell University, where he serves as director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.

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Fredrik Logevall: How the U.S. Fumbled into Vietnam

Published on Jan 4, 2014
Fredrik Logevall’s “Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam” won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for history. Here, the Cornell University professor explains how American lurched to war in Vietnam, and why Ho Chi Minh was a more complicated actor than policymakers of the time understood.

Embers of War: Why Were We in Vietnam?


Fredrik Logevall, Author and Professor of International Studies and History at Cornell University, presented “Embers of War: Why Were We in Vietnam?” on Wednesday, February 27. The lecture examined Vietnam in the post-1945 era, and explored the factors that put the US on its collision course with history. The lecture was sponsored by The Schemel Forum.

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