Professor Andrew Preston

Professor of American History

I specialize in the history of American foreign relations, primarily since 1898. More specifically, my teaching and research interests lie in three main areas: the ideas and concepts that motivate and shape America's behavior in the world at both the elite and popular levels; the mechanics of foreign policymaking in Washington; and the intersections between the national and the international, the foreign and the domestic, including the influence of domestic politics and culture—particularly religion—on the conduct of U.S. foreign policy.

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

Please note: I will be on research leave and so am not accepting any new MPhil or PhD students for 2024-25.

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; and on many aspects of international/transnational history since 1900.

Please note: I will be on research leave and so am not accepting any new MPhil or PhD students for 2024-25.

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 "War and Society in Modern American History."

In addition to my scholarly work, I'm a frequent contributor to the Toronto Globe & Mail, and I've also written for the Washington Post, The New Republic, London Review of Books, USA Today, History Today, Boston Globe, New Statesman, Foreign Affairs, and the TLS, among others. I sit on the editorial boards of the journals Modern American HistoryThe Historical Journal, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, and Diplomacy & Statecraft; sit on the Scholarly Advisory Board of the Gilder Lehrman Institute; and am a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians (OAH).

In 2020-21, I was President of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR).

With Beth Bailey and Kara Vuic, I'm the co-editor of a book series with Cambridge University Press, "Military, War, and Society in Modern American History."


Tags & Themes

Clare College
Memorial Court
Queen's Road


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

  • The Cambridge History of the Vietnam War, Volume 2: Escalation and Stalemate, 1963-1968. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2024 (general editor Lien-Hang T. Nguyen).
  • America in the World: A History in Documents since 1898, Revised and Updated. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2023 (with Jeffrey A. Engel and Mark Atwood Lawrence). Originally published as America in the World: A History in Documents from the War with Spain to the War on Terror: Princeton, 2014.
  • Rethinking American Grand Strategy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021 (with Elizabeth Borgwardt and Christopher McKnight Nichols).
  • The Cambridge History of America and the World, Volume 3: 1900-1945. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021 (with Brooke L. Blower; general editor Mark Philip Bradley).
  • 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).
  • Nixon in the World: U.S. Foreign Relations, 1969-1977. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008 (with Fredrik Logevall).

Recent Articles and Book Chapters

  • "The Emperor Is Dead—Long Live the Empire: The Enduring Legacy of the Imperial Presidency," Modern American History, vol. 6 (July 2023): 259-264.
  • "The Limits of Brotherhood: Race, Religion, and World Order in American Ecumenical Protestantism," American Historical Review, vol. 127 (September 2022): 1222-1251.
  • "From Dong Dang to Da Nang: The Past, Present, and Future of America’s Thirty Years War for Asia," Diplomatic History, vol. 46 (January 2022): 1-34.
  • "The Fearful Giant: National Insecurity and U.S. Foreign Policy,” in Ideology in U.S. Foreign Relations: New Histories, ed. Christopher McKnight Nichols and David Milne. New York: Columbia University Press, 2022: 169-84.
  • "An American Crusade: The Religious Liberty of Jews in Russia and the Soviet Union," in Religion and Politics Beyond the Culture Wars: New Directions in a Divided America, ed. Darren Dochuk. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2021: 154-177.
  • "Standards for a Righteous and Civilized World: Religion and America’s Emergence as a Global Power," in Christianity and International Law: An Introduction, ed. John Haskell and Pamela Slotte. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021: 223-245.
  • "National Security as Grand Strategy: Edward Mead Earle and the Burdens of World Power," in Rethinking American Grand Strategy, ed. Elizabeth Borgwardt, Christopher McKnight Nichols, and Andrew Preston. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021: 237-252.
  • "America’s Global Imperium," in The Oxford World History of Empire, ed. Peter Fibiger Bang, C. A. Bayly, and Walter Scheidel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021: 1217-1248.
  • "The State of the Future: The Revival of Social Democracy and Liberal Governance,” in Fourteen Points for the Twenty-First Century: A Renewed Appeal for Cooperative Internationalism, ed. Richard H. Immerman and Jeffrey A. Engel. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2020: 42-66.
  • "Munich and the Unexpected Rise of American Power," in The Munich Crisis, Politics and the People: International, Transnational and Comparative Perspectives, ed. Julie Gottlieb, Daniel Hucker, and Richard Toye. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020: 133-152.
  • "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.
  • "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.