Marc Selverstone

Associate Professor and Chair of the Presidential Recordings Program

Fast Facts

  • Chair of the Presidential Recordings Program
  • Won the Bernath Book Prize for Constructing the Monolith: The United States, Great Britain, and International Communism, 1945-1950.
  • Expertise on John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, the Vietnam War


Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • American Defense and Security
  • Politics
  • The Presidency

Marc Selverstone is an associate professor in Presidential Studies at the Miller Center and chair of the Center’s Presidential Recordings Program. He earned a BA degree in philosophy from Trinity College (CT), a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University, and a PhD in history from Ohio University. A historian of the Cold War, he is the author of Constructing the Monolith: The United States, Great Britain, and International Communism, 1945-1950 (Harvard), which won the Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

As chair of the Recordings Program, Selverstone edits the secret White House tapes of Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon. He is the general editor of The Presidential Recordings Digital Edition, the primary online portal for transcripts of the tapes, published by the University of Virginia Press.

Selverstone’s broader scholarship focuses on presidents and presidential decisionmaking, particularly during the 1960s and 1970s. He has written for journals and edited volumes on the Kennedy presidency, the Cold War, and the American war in Vietnam. He also edits the Miller Center’s “Studies on the Presidency” series (Virginia), and is the editor of A Companion to John F. Kennedy (Wiley-Blackwell). He is currently at work on The Kennedy Withdrawal: Camelot and the American Commitment to Vietnam, under contract with Harvard University Press.


Marc Selverstone News Feed

In December 1968, only weeks after his election, Nixon names Henry Kissinger as his national security advisor. The appointment will prove to be the most consequential of his presidency. The two men barely know each other, but Kissinger moves swiftly and brilliantly to make himself the linchpin – some would say the architect – of Nixon’s enormously ambitious foreign policy agenda. Immediately, and with the new president’s blessing, Kissinger marginalizes both State and Defense, concentrating the making of US foreign policy within the White House. The first challenge: how to force the implacable North Vietnamese leadership back to the negotiating table. By late January ’69, a plan is in place: Operation Menu, a massive and completely secret bombing assault, not on Vietnam but on North Vietnamese army sanctuaries in neighboring (and neutral) Cambodia. Over the next eight years, the U.S. will drop more bomb tonnage on Cambodia than the combined Allied forces dropped in all of World War II. While the bombing remains largely a secret in the U.S., it fails to move the needle on negotiations with the North. By the fall of ’69, the lack of progress has re-energized the anti-war movement, which mobilizes a wave of demonstrations across the country. In response, Nixon takes his case to the country, with the Silent Majority speech, which will come to be remembered as perhaps the most effective address of his presidency.
Marc Selverstone Nixon at War Podcast
Fredrik Logevall, a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian, takes us as close as we have ever been to the real John F. Kennedy in this revealing biography of the iconic, yet still elusive, 35th president. JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917–1956 offers up not only the clearest portrait we have of this enigmatic American icon but a sweeping history of the United States in the middle decades of the 20th century as well. Miller Center Director of Presidential Studies Barbara Perry and professor Marc Selverstone moderate the conversation.
Marc Selverstone Miller Center Presents
Our country is deeply divided. We’ll remain so for some time. The Biden administration will move quickly to get things done. It only has a year to do so, before the mid-term elections move into high gear.
We’ll continue to reel from assaults on both truth and an array of institutions vital to the maintenance of a healthy democracy. Those are not novel concepts. But they — and others, much more in depth and nuanced — have particular resonance, on this inauguration day. They come from Marc Selverstone. The 1980 Staples High School graduate is an associate professor in presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s famed Miller Center of Public Affairs.
Marc Selverstone 06880
Marc Selverstone, a professor in presidential studies at the University of Virginia's Miller Center, confirmed to Newsweek that former presidents do continue to receive briefings after holding office, but it is usually upon their request. Selverstone added that "the privilege also comes at the discretion of the sitting president," although he noted that no modern president has countermanded that privilege.
Marc Selverstone Newsweek
Presidential transitions are among the most sacred, yet precarious moments in the American political lifecycle. The peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another has been a core principle of American democracy for well over 200 years. But transitions are also moments of inherent instability, with one set of officials heading for the exits and another one hitting the on-ramps. While outgoing and incoming administrations have long endeavored to effect smooth handovers, any number of developments, from the personal to the political to the geopolitical, can make it a perilous process.
Marc Selverstone UVA Today
Since 1776, the United States has been at war 93 percent of the time—227 out of 244 years, according to Global Research. Why is that? And what does it mean for the future of our nation, at home and abroad? This half-day public conference will focus on the roots, management, and direction of so-called “endless wars.” During the five sessions, speakers will consider the political, legal, military, cultural, and governance implications of remaining engaged in these indefinite conflicts, and the future prospects of fighting a “forever war."
Marc Selverstone Miller Center Presents