Jeffrey A. Engel is founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. A Senior Fellow of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, and graduate of Cornell University, he additionally studied at St. Catherine's College, Oxford University, and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in American history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, before serving as a John M. Olin Postdoctoral Fellow in International Security Studies at Yale University.
Having taught American history, international relations, and grand strategy at the University of Wisconsin, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Haverford College, he served until 2012 at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government & Public Service as the Howard and Verlin Kruse ’52 Professor and Director of Programming for the Scowcroft Institute for International Affairs, receiving during that time a Silver Star Award for Teaching and Mentorship, a Distinguished Teaching Award from A&M’s Association of Former Students, and a Texas A&M University System Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award.
Engel has authored or edited thirteen books on American foreign policy, including Cold War at 30,000 Feet: The Anglo-American Fight for Aviation Supremacy (Harvard University Press, 2007), which received the Paul Birdsall Prize from the American Historical Association; Local Consequences of the Global Cold War (Stanford University Press and the Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2008); The China Diary of George H.W. Bush: The Making of a Global President (Princeton University Press, 2008); The Fall of the Berlin Wall: The Revolutionary Legacy of 1989 (Oxford University Press, 2009); with Joseph R. Cerami, Rethinking Leadership and “Whole of Government” National Security Reform(Strategic Studies Institute, 2010); Into the Desert: Reflections on the Gulf War (Oxford University Press, 2012); with Andrew Preston and Mark Lawrence, America in the World: A History in Documents (Princeton University Press, 2014); The Four Freedoms: FDR’s Legacy of Liberty for the United States and the World (Oxford University Press, 2015); with Thomas Knock, When Life Strikes the President: Scandal, Death, and Illness in the White House (Oxford University Press, 2017); When the World Seemed New: George H.W. Bush and the End of the Cold War (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017), which received the Transatlantic Studies Association Book Prize and was a finalist for the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Prize; with Peter Baker, Timothy Naftali, and Jon Meacham, Impeachment: An American History (Random House, 2018); with Tim Sayle, Hal Brands, and William Inboden, The Last Card in the Deck: Inside George W. Bush’s Decision to Surge Troops in Iraq (Cornell University Press, 2019); and with Richard Immerman, Fourteen Points for the Twenty-First Century (University Press of Kentucky, 2020).
A frequent contributor on international and political affairs for media such as CNN, NPR, CNBC, MSNBC and the BBC, his scholarly and popular articles have appeared in such journals as Diplomatic History; Diplomacy & Statecraft; Perspectives on History; Enterprise & Society; The American Interest; The Los Angeles Times; The International Journal; The Washington Post, the Dallas Morning News; the Houston Chronicle; USA Today; and The New York Times. In 2012 he received the Stuart L. Bernath Lecture Prize from the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations, and in 2019 SMU residence life students named him their university-wide HOPE Professor of the Year.
He is currently writing Seeking Monsters to Destroy: How America Goes to War, From Washington to Biden and Beyond (Oxford University Press).