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John Lewis Gaddis
Born 1941
Cotulla, Texas
Residence United States
Nationality United States
Citizenship United States
Alma mater University of Texas, Austin

John Lewis Gaddis (born 1941 in Cotulla, Texas, U.S.)[1] is a noted historian of the Cold War and grand strategy,[2] who has been hailed as the "Dean of Cold War Historians" by The New York Times.[3] He is the Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History at Yale University.[2] He is also the official biographer of the seminal 20th-century American statesman George F. Kennan.[4] His biography of Kennan won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 2012.[5]


Raised in Cotulla, Texas, Gaddis attended the University of Texas at Austin, receiving his BA in 1963, MA in 1965, and PhD in 1968,[6][7] the latter under the direction of Robert Divine. Gaddis then taught briefly at Indiana University Southeast, before joining Ohio University in 1969.[6] At Ohio, he founded and directed the Contemporary History Institute,[8] and was named a distinguished professor in 1983.[6]

In the 1975–77 academic years, Gaddis was a Visiting Professor of Strategy at the Naval War College. In the 1992–93 academic year, he was the Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at Oxford.[9] He has also held visiting positions at the Naval War College, Princeton University, and the University of Helsinki. He served as president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations in 1992.[10] In 1997, he moved to Yale University to become the Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History. In the 2000–01 academic year, Gaddis was the George Eastman Professor at Oxford, the second scholar (after Robin Winks) to have the honor of being both Eastman and Harmsworth professor.[11] In 2005, he received the National Humanities Medal.[12] He sits on the advisory committee of the Wilson Center's Cold War International History Project,[13] which he helped establish in 1991.[12]

Gaddis is also known for his close relationship with the late George Kennan and his wife, whom Gaddis described as "my companions".[14] He was also fairly close to President George W. Bush, making suggestions to his speech writers,[15] and has been described as an "overt admirer" of the 43rd President.[16] After leaving office, Bush took up painting as a hobby at Gaddis's recommendation.[17]


Gaddis is known for arguing that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's personality and role in history was one of the most important causes of the Cold War. Within the field of U.S. diplomatic history, he is most associated with the concept of post-revisionism, the idea of moving past the revisionist and orthodox interpretations of the origins of the Cold War to embrace what were (in the 1970s) interpretations based upon the then-growing availability of government documents from the United States, Great Britain and other western government archives.[citation needed]

Gaddis is probably the best known historian writing in English about the Cold War.[18] His most famous work is perhaps the highly influential Strategies of Containment (1982; rev. 2005),[19] which analyzes in detail the theory and practice of containment that was employed against the Soviet Union by Cold War American presidents, and his 1983 distillation of post-revisionist scholarship similarly became a major channel for guiding subsequent Cold War research.[20] We Now Know (1997), an analysis of the Cold War through to the Cuban Missile Crisis that incorporated new archival evidence from the Soviet bloc, was likewise predicted as "likely to set the parameters for a whole new generation of scholarship",[21] while also praised as "the first coherent and sustained attempt to write the Cold War's history since it ended."[22] The Cold War (2005), praised by John Ikenberry as a "beautifully written panoramic view of the Cold War, full of illuminations and shrewd judgments,"[23] was described as an examination of the history and effects of the Cold War in a more removed context than had been previously possible,[24] and won Gaddis the 2006 Harry S. Truman Book Prize.[25] Gaddis's 2011 biography of George Kennan garnered multiple prizes, including a Pulitzer.[5]

Awards and distinctionsEdit

Jl gaddis

Former U.S. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush stand with 2005 National Humanities Medal recipient John Lewis Gaddis on November 10, 2005 in the Oval Office at the White House.


Selected publicationsEdit


  • George F. Kennan: An American Life. New York, NY: The Penguin Press. 2011. ISBN 978-1-594-20312-1. 
  • The Cold War: A New History. New York, NY: The Penguin Press. 2005. ISBN 978-1-594-20062-5.  US edition
    The Cold War. London: Allen Lane. 2005. ISBN 978-0-713-99912-9.  UK edition
  • Surprise, Security, and the American Experience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 2004. ISBN 978-0-674-01174-8. 
  • The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 2002. ISBN 978-0-195-06652-4. 
  • (Co-editor with Philip H. Gordon, Ernest R. May and Jonathan Rosenberg). Cold War Statesmen Confront the Bomb: Nuclear Diplomacy Since 1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1999. ISBN 978-0-198-29468-9. 
  • We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1997. ISBN 978-0-198-78070-0. 
  • The United States and the End of the Cold War: Implications, Reconsiderations and Provocations. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 1992. ISBN 978-0-195-05201-5. 
  • The Long Peace: Inquiries into the History of the Cold War. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 1987. ISBN 978-0195043365. 
  • Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security Policy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 1982; revised 2005. ISBN 978-0195174489. 
  • Russia, the Soviet Union and the United States: An Interpretive History. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. 1978; revised 1990. ISBN 978-0-075-57258-9. 
  • The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941–1947. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. 1972; revised 2000. ISBN 978-0-231-12239-9. 

Articles and chaptersEdit


See alsoEdit



  1. Alden Branch, Mark. "Days of Duck and Cover". Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Yale Department of History » John Gaddis". Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  3. Priscilla Johnson McMillan (25 May 1997). "Cold Warmonger". Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  4. Douglas Brinkley (17 February 2004). "Celebrating a Policy Seer And His Cold War Insight". Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
    Profile of Kennan on his 100th birthday, includes several paragraphs detailing his relationship with Gaddis.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "The 2012 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Biography or Autobiography". Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Historians will debate Cold War". 23 January 1989.,3213392. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  7. "Princeton University Library Finding Aids: 'John Lewis Gaddis Papers on George F. Kennan, 1982-1989', Collection Creator Biography". Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  8. "Honorary Alumni: John Lewis Gaddis". p. 6. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History". Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Past Presidents". Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  11. "Winks honored by Oxford, National Parks". 1999. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 "Awards & Honors: 2005 National Humanities Medalist John Lewis Gaddis". Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  13. "CWIHP Advisory Committee". Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  14. Costigliola 2011.
  15. Gaddis 2008.
    Hartung 2003 criticizes Gaddis for holding a "relatively positive assessment" of post-9/11 Bush foreign policy.
  16. Jonathan Haslam (17 April 2012). "George F Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis - review". Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  17. Baker, Dorie (April 26, 2013). "Yale professor's advice to former U.S. president: Paint". YaleNews. Yale University. Archived from the original on May 9, 2013. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  18. Painter 2006, p. 527.
  19. Leffler 1999, p. 503, which describes Strategies of Containment as "one of the most influential books ever written on post-World War II international relations."
  20. Hogan 1987, p. 494.
  21. Leffler 1999, p. 502.
  22. Ascherson 1997.
  23. Ikenberry 2006.
  24. Michael C. Boyer (22 January 2006). "A world divided: A leading historian evaluates the causes and ultimate collapse of the Cold War". Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 "John Lewis Gaddis Wins 2006 Harry S. Truman Book Award". 16 April 2006. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  26. "New-York Historical Society Awards Its Annual American History Book Prize to John Lewis Gaddis for George F. Kennan: An American Life". 16 February 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  27. "All Past National Book Critics Circle Award Winners and Finalists". Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  28. "Eastman Professors at the University of Oxford". Retrieved 12 May 2013. 
  29. 29.0 29.1 "Fulbright Alumni » Notable Fulbrighters". Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  30. "Gaddis Named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences". $3. May 1995. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  31. "Alphabetical Index of Active AAAS Members as of 11 November 2011". Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  32. "Notable Achievements of Members". 1995. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  33. "Ohio University Historian Selected as Woodrow Wilson Fellow". $3. April 1995. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  34. "John Lewis Gaddis: 1986 Fellow, U.S. History". Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  35. "Distinguished Professors (Current-1959)". $3. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  36. "The Bancroft Prizes: Previous Awards". Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  37. Gaddis 1974, p. 14, for "Best First Work of History".
  38. "Author and historian John Lewis Gaddis to give lecture April 21". 11 April 2005. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 


Ascherson, Neal (1997). "Khrushchev's Secret". pp. 26–28. 
Costigliola, Frank (2011). "Is This George Kennan?". pp. 4–8. 
Hartung, William D. (2003). "Bush as Strategist". p. 6. JSTOR 3183579. 
Hogan, Michael J. (1987). "The Search for a Synthesis: Economic Diplomacy in the Cold War". pp. 493–498. JSTOR 2702050. 
Ikenberry, G. John. "Book reviews: The Cold War: A New History by John Lewis Gaddis". p. 187. JSTOR 20031922. 
Leffler, Melvyn P. (1999). The Cold War: What Do 'We Now Know'?. 104. 501–524. JSTOR 2650378. 
Painter, David S. (2006). "A Partial History of the Cold War". pp. 527–534. Digital object identifier:10.1080/14682740600979295. 

External linksEdit



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