Professor Andrew Preston

Professor of American History
Andrew Preston

I specialize in the history of American foreign relations. More specifically, my teaching and research interests lie in the intersections between the national and the international, the foreign and the domestic, including the influence that domestic politics and culture—particularly religion—have had on the conduct of U.S. foreign policy.

I am currently working on three major projects: I am writing a book on the idea of “national security” in American history, which will be published by Harvard University Press; co-editing (with Lien-Hang Nguyen) Vol. 2 of the forthcoming 3-volume Cambridge History of the Vietnam War; and co-editing (with Brooke Blower) Vol. 3 of the forthcoming 4-volume Cambridge History of America and the World.

I am happy to supervise MPhil and PhD dissertations on most aspects of American political, religious, and foreign relations history in any period since the Civil War.

Please note: I will be on leave in 2020-21 and not accepting any graduate students for that year.

In Part I, Paper 24 ("US History since 1865"). In Part II, Paper 26 ("The American Experience in Vietnam, 1941-1975"). In the MPhil in American History, "Varieties of American Empire" and "Debates in American History and Historiography."

In addition to my scholarly work, my writing has appeared in the Washington Post, The New Republic, London Review of BooksThe Globe & Mail, USA Today, History Today, Boston Globe, New StatesmanPoliticoTLS, and Foreign Affairs, among others. I sit on the editorial boards of Modern American HistoryThe Historical Journal, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, and Diplomacy & Statecraft. I was recently elected as Vice President/President-elect of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) and am currently a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians (OAH). With Beth Bailey, I am also the co-editor of a new book series with Cambridge University Press on "Military, War, and Society in Modern American History."


Tags & Themes

Clare College
Trinity Lane

Cambridge CB2 1TL

Key Publications

Books: Authored

  • American Foreign Relations: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.
  • Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy. New York: Knopf, 2012.
  • The War Council: McGeorge Bundy, the NSC, and Vietnam. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006.

Books: Edited

  • Rethinking American Grand Strategy. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2021 (with Elizabeth Borgwardt and Christopher McKnight Nichols).
  • Outside In: The Transnational Circuitry of U.S. History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017 (with Doug Rossinow).
  • Faithful Republic: Religion and Politics in the 20th Century United States. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015 (with Bruce J. Schulman and Julian E. Zelizer).
  • America in the World: A History in Documents from the War with Spain to the War on Terror. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014 (with Jeffrey A. Engel and Mark Atwood Lawrence).
  • Nixon in the World: U.S. Foreign Relations, 1969-1977. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008 (with Fredrik Logevall).

Articles and Book Chapters

  • "Iraq, Vietnam, and the Meaning of Victory.” In The Last Card: Inside George W. Bush’s Decision to Surge in Iraq, ed. Timothy Andrews Sayle, Jeffrey A. Engel, Hal Brands, and William Inboden. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2019.
  • "The Irony of Protest: Vietnam and the Path to Permanent War." In Reframing 1968: American Politics, Protest and Identity, ed. Martin Halliwell and Nick Witham. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018: 59-80.
  • "Franklin D. Roosevelt and America's Empire of Anti-Imperialism." In Rhetorics of Empire: Imperial Discourse and the Language of Colonial Conflict after 1900, ed. Martin Thomas and Richard Toye. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017: 75-90.
  • "Containment: A Consensual or Contested Foreign Policy?" In The Liberal Consensus Reconsidered: American Politics and Society in the Postwar Era, ed. Iwan Morgan and Robert Mason. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2017: 148-166.
  • "America's Pacific Power in a Global Age." In The Sea in History, Vol. 4: The Modern World, ed. N.A.M. Rodger. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell & Brewer, 2017: 616-627.
  • "The Religious Turn in Diplomatic History." In Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations, 3rd edition, ed. Frank Costigliola and Michael J. Hogan. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016: 284-303.
  • “America’s World Mission in the Age of Obama.” In Faith in the New Millennium: The Future of Religion and American Politics, ed. Matthew Avery Sutton and Darren Dochuk. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016: 180-196.
  • “Mann, the United States, and the World.” Reviews in American History 43:3 (September 2015): 401-410.
  • “Kennedy, the Cold War, and the National Security State.” In The Cambridge Companion to John F. Kennedy, ed. Andrew P. Hoberek. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015: 89-102.
  • “Beyond the Water’s Edge: Foreign Policy and Electoral Politics.” In America at the Ballot Box: Elections and Political History, ed. Gareth Davies and Julian E. Zelizer. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015: 219-237.
  • “To Make the World Saved: American Religion and the Great War.” Diplomatic History 38:4 (September 2014): 813-825. [Reprinted in Beyond 1917: The United States and the Global Legacies of the Great War, ed. Thomas W. Zeiler, David K. Ekbladh, and Benjamin C. Montoya. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017]
  • “Monsters Everywhere: A Genealogy of National Security.” Diplomatic History 38:3 (June 2014): 477-500.