SMU Faculty Experts

Jeffrey A. Engel

Director of the Center for Presidential History

Jeffrey A. Engel is founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University and Professor in the Clements Department of History.  A Senior Fellow of the Norwegian Nobel Institute and of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, he graduated magna cum laude from 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 holding 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 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.  In 2012 the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations named him their Bernath Prize lecturer, while in 2019 SMU’s Residence Life students voted him their Hope Professor of the Year.

Engel has authored or edited thirteen books on American foreign policy, including Cold War at 30, 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, 2016); with Thomas Knock, When Life Strikes the White House: Presidents and their Personal Crises (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 2019 Transatlantic Studies Association Prize; with Richard H. Immerman, Fourteen Points for the 21st Century (University of Kentucky Press, in press); with Jon Meacham, Peter Baker, and Timothy Naftali, Impeachment: An American History (Random House, 2018); and with Timothy Sayle, Hal Brands, and Will Inboden, The Last Card: Inside George W. Bush’s Decision to Surge in Iraq (Cornell University Press, 2019). 

At SMU, Engel and his team help produce The Past, the Promise, the Presidency podcast series, now in its third season. A frequent media contributor on international and political affairs on venues including MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, National Public Radio, and the BBC, his scholarly and popular articles have appeared in such journals as Diplomatic History; Diplomacy & Statecraft; American Interest; USAToday; The Los Angeles Times; International Journal; The Dallas Morning News; The Houston Chronicle; Air & Space Magazine; and The Washington Post.

Engel lives in Dallas with his wife (the historian Katherine Carté) and two children, and is currently writing Thinking About Tomorrow:  The 1992 Race for the White House that Defined Our times, to be published by the Liveright Imprint of W.W. Norton & Company, and Seeking Monsters to Destroy: How Americans go to War, to be published by Oxford University Press.

Jeffrey A. Engel in the News

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