30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Dr. John Prados

Senior Fellow
Focus: 
Vietnam; US intelligence and covert operations; presidential decision-making; US military policy

John Prados heads the Archive’s Intelligence Documentation and Vietnam Projects, assists on other subjects, and is a Senior Fellow on national security affairs, including foreign affairs, intelligence, and military matters. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science (International Relations) from Columbia University and has authored many books, most recently Storm Over Leyte: The Philippine Invasion and the Destruction of the Japanese Navy (NAL/Caliber). Other recent works include Operation Vulture: America’s Dien Bien Phu (e-book), The US Special Forces: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press); The Family Jewels: The CIA, Secrecy, and Presidential Power (University of Texas Press 2013, paperback 2014); A Streetcar Named Pleiku: Vietnam 1965 (e-book); Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun (NAL/Caliber, 2012, paperback 2013), and Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War (University Press of Kansas, 2009, paperback 2012), winner of the Henry Adams Prize in American History. Other books in print include Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA (Ivan R. Dee Publisher, 2006, paperback 2009); Normandy Crucible: The Decisive Battle That Shaped World War II in Europe (NAL/Caliber, 2011, paperback 2012), How the Cold War Ended: Debating and Doing History (Potomac, 2010, simultaneous hardcover and paperback) as well as In Country: Remembering the Vietnam War (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012). Prados is the author of nearly thirty books in all, along with many articles and papers.

His research centers on subjects including the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Vietnam war, and analysis of international relations, plus diplomatic and military history more generally. Additional works include William Colby and the CIA: The Secret Wars of a Controversial Spymaster (UPKansas), The Hidden History of the Vietnam War and Presidents’ Secret Wars (Ivan Dee); Inside the Pentagon Papers (with Margaret Pratt Porter, Kansas); and Hoodwinked: The Documents that Reveal How Bush Sold Us a War (New Press, 2004).

Among his books, Unwinnable War, Keepers of the Keys (on the National Security Council) and Combined Fleet Decoded (on intelligence in the Pacific in World War II) were each nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Combined Fleet Decoded was the winner of the annual book prize of the New York Military Affairs Symposium, and along with his book Valley of Decision: The Siege of Khe Sanh (with Ray W. Stubbe) was named a Notable Naval Book of the Year by the United States Naval Institute. His The Soviet Estimate was awarded the book prize of the Consortium for the Study of Intelligence. Prados’s papers appear in many other works. He is a contributing editor for MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, and was for a long time a contributing writer for The VVA Veteran, publication of the Vietnam Veterans of America. His articles have featured in Vanity Fair, Scientific American, Naval History, the Journal of American History,Diplomatic History, Intelligence and National Security, Naval Institute Proceedings, The Journal of National Security Law & Policy,The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of East-West Studies,Survival, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. His book reviews have appeared widely. Prados speaks on these and other issues in many fora. He can be reached at nsarchiv@gwu.edu, or on his website.