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

Marc Selverstone talks about President Johnson’s August 1964 calls about the Gulf of Tonkin and Congressional resolution.
Marc Selverstone C-SPAN Radio
This basic question about the Vietnam War, which author and Vietnam veteran Karl Marlantes asks within the first two minutes of the eponymous Ken Burns-Lynn Novick film, frames much of the succeeding 18 hours of the landmark documentary that premiered on PBS in September 2017. In an effort to answer it, Burns and Novick weave together powerful personal testimony, rare visual imagery, and revealing primary sources to narrate the trajectory of America’s involvement in a conflict that, in one form or another, spanned almost the entirety of the Cold War.
Marc Selverstone H-Diplo
With help from the Nixon White House tapes, Marc Selverstone, of the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs, discloses the president's true intentions in ending the war in Vietnam, and Admiral Pete Bondi recalls the chaos on the ground as North Vietnamese troops systematically overtook the southern provinces almost three years later.
Marc Selverstone MPR News
The Vietnam War pulled America apart, dividing our country into factions. Forty years after the fall of Saigon, the War is still contentious, amongst citizens, policy-makers, and scholars. And yet, memories of the Vietnam War unite us. In a new eight-part special series, With Good Reason explores the unresolved tensions in our understanding of the war and the perspectives and people it forever changed.
Marc Selverstone With Good Reason
Marc Selverstone is featured in "Presidents at War," a two-night History Channel event. This landmark series tells the story of World War II through the experiences of eight remarkable men. Men who, like sixteen million other Americans, bravely serve their country during its darkest hour, and then go on to further service as the nation’s Commanders-in-Chief. Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. This is the story of how their war experiences change them, how they emerge from conflict as leaders and how the crucible of war shapes the decisions they make when they reach the White House.
Marc Selverstone History Channel
I went to the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia to speak to two historians about the significance of the last week of August in 1968. Marc Selverstone and Guian McKee answered my questions, beginning with this: What was the atmosphere like? What were Americans thinking? What were Democrats and Republicans thinking? Guian McKee answers first.
Marc Selverstone The Score