Marc Selverstone

Fast Facts

  • Director of presidential studies
  • Co-chair, 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 the Miller Center's director of presidential studies, co-chair of the Center’s Presidential Recordings Program, and professor of presidential studies. 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 co-chair of the Presidential 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 decision-making, 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). His most recent book is The Kennedy Withdrawal: Camelot and the American Commitment to Vietnam (Harvard University Press).


Marc Selverstone News Feed

Historians Chester Pach, Jessica M. Chapman, Tizoc Chavez, Jessica Elkind, and Phillip E. Catton review Marc Selverstone's newest book, "The Kennedy Withdrawal: Camelot and the
American Commitment in Vietnam."
Marc Selverstone Passport: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review
Marc Selverstone ’84 knows why President John F. Kennedy continues to captivate the hearts and minds of Americans, 60 years after his assassination.
Marc Selverstone Trinity College
Proposals for removing U.S. troops from Vietnam put Kennedy's top advisors at odds with one another.
The death of a chief executive—sudden or expected, while still in office or decades later—is always a moment of national reckoning and reflection. Marc Selverstone, chair of the Miller Center's Presidential Recordings Program, moderates an expert discussion of Mourning the Presidents: Loss and Legacy in American Culture, a new book published by the Miller Center’s Studies on the Presidency Series with UVA Press.
Marc Selverstone Miller Center Presents
Marc J. Selverstone in his new book The Kennedy Withdrawal, offers an inside look at presidential decisionmaking in this limited period of the Vietnam War and makes clear that portrayals of Kennedy as a dove are overdrawn. Through the use of the presidential tapes, alongside declassified documents, memoirs, and oral histories, he lifts the veil on this legend of Camelot. He argues that Kennedy’s withdrawal was in fact a cagey strategy for keeping the United States involved in the fight— a strategy the country adopted decades later in Afghanistan.
Marc Selverstone Council for Global Cooperation
Those questions go to the heart of another recent book about the Cold War, The Kennedy Withdrawal: Camelot and the American Commitment to Vietnam, by University of Virginia historian Marc J. Selverstone, who argues that even presidents who might realize the potential hazard of overreacting can nonetheless be pulled in. In his book, Selverstone dissects one of the last enduring shibboleths of the Cold War: the Camelot myth that President John F. Kennedy would have avoided the quagmire of Vietnam had he lived.
Marc Selverstone Foreign Policy