Originally published 04/17/2013
Fredrik Logevall wins Pulitzer for history; Tom Reiss and Gilbert King win for biography and non-fiction
Fredrik Logevall, John S. Knight Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for History for his book Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam, published by Random House last year.Embers of War, which the Washington Post called a "product of formidable international research ... lucidly and comprehensively composed," is a study of France's war in Vietnam, from the end of World War II to the eventual French withdrawal in 1954.Though the war was foughtly primarily between the French and their colonial auxiliaries on one side and the Viet Minh on the other, Logevall argues that the conflict was truly international in scope and American policymakers had great influence over French decisions from the very beginning. In particular, he maintains that Franklin D. Roosevelt, long an advocate of decolonization, would have pressured the French to exit Indochina in 1945, had he lived. But with Roosevelt's death and Harry Truman's de-emphasis on decolonialization and his policy of vehement anticommunism in Europe and Asia, the seeds were sown for a long, bloody conflict in Southeast Asia.