Friday, March 21, 2014 at 12:00pm
Frank H. T. Rhodes Hall, 253
Ezra's Round Table/Systems Seminar: Fredrik Logevall (Cornell) - Embers of War: Reconsidering Vietnam
Why did Vietnam become the setting for one of the longest and bloodiest struggles of the entire post-1945 era, and why did two Western powers, first France and then the United States, lose their way there? In this lecture, Fredrik Logevall, professor of History and vice provost for international affairs, will consider these questions anew, drawing from his recent Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam. Logevall will explore the importance of World War II in laying the groundwork for the French Indochina War that followed, and the major role played from an early point by the United States. American leaders, he will suggest, were never blind to the obstacles that stood in the way of victory against Ho Chi Minh's revolutionary forces, yet they failed to heed the lessons from France's disastrous defeat. Instead, they made the momentous choice to build up and defend South Vietnam, thereby launching the U.S. on its own collision course with history.
Fredrik Logevall is the Stephen and Madeline Anbinder Professor of History at Cornell University, where he serves as vice provost for international affairs as well as director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. He is the author or editor of nine books, most recently Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam (Random House, 2012), which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for History, the 2013 Francis Parkman Prize, the 2013 American Library in Paris Book Award, and the 2013 Arthur Ross Book Award from the Council on Foreign Relations. Logevall’s commentary has been featured on CBS, BBC, CNN International, and National Public Radio, and his reviews and essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, and World Affairs, among other publications.