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 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
Beginning with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a string of presidents used taping equipment with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Their motives ranged from defending themselves against inaccurate news leaks (F.D.R), to help in preparing memoirs and developing political leverage. Along the way, these tapes become an invaluable historical resource, says Dr. Marc Selverstone, an associate professor in presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, and chair of the Center’s Presidential Recordings Program. “They’re an incredible and powerful window into the way power works,” says Dr. Selverstone.
Marc Selverstone The Christian Science Monitor
Miller Center scholar Marc Selverstone recounts for the Washington Post how 50 years ago this week, the Senate reclaimed its power to control US military conflicts.
With the United States now engaged in what observers have described as a “forever war” across multiple theaters, it is time for Congress to reassert itself and conduct rigorous hearings on the scope, rationale and wisdom of these military activities. At the very least, it should revisit the legislation that authorized them more than 15 years ago and establish a positive consensus for their continuation. Endless or not, this war must have the affirmation and support of the American people and their elected representatives. Perhaps this is one lesson of Vietnam we can all agree on.
Marc Selverstone Washington Post
Lynn Novick, who co-directed the 18-part documentary series “The Vietnam War” with Ken Burns, joined English professor Steve Cushman and associate professor Marc Selverstone, chair of the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings Program.
Marc Selverstone UVA Today