Professor Odd Arne Westad

Former Distinguished Professor in International History (1998-2015)


Odd Arne Westad is an expert on the history of the Cold War era and on contemporary international affairs. He was born in Norway in 1960. He studied history, philosophy and modern languages at the University of Oslo and received his PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Professor Westad served for seven years as Director of Research at the Norwegian Nobel Institute, and has held visiting fellowships at Cambridge University and New York University.

Professor Westad joined LSE in 1998 and served as Head of the LSE’s International History Department from 2004 to 2007. While at LSE, he also co-founded LSE IDEAS, a centre for international affairs, diplomacy and strategy.

He left the LSE in 2015 to join Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government as S.T. Lee Professor of U.S.-Asia Relations. He continues to lecture widely on China's foreign affairs, on Western interventions in Africa and Asia, and on foreign policy strategy.

Westad's 2005 book, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times, received the Bancroft Prize, the Michael Harrington Award, and the Akira Iriye International History Book Award. It has been translated into fifteen languages.

The Cambridge History of the Cold War, a three volume history edited jointly with Melvyn P. Leffler, was published in the spring of 2010. Seven years in the making, the Cambridge History has 75 chapters written by top scholars from 18 different countries. Cambridge University Press describes it as "a comprehensive, international history of the conflict that dominated world politics in the twentieth century… [which] signifies a transformation of the field from a national - primarily American - to a broader international approach."

His most recent book, Restless Empire: China and the World since 1750, explores China’s foreign affairs since the mid-Qing dynasty. In a review, Jonathan Spence called the book “thorough, fast-moving, and consistently clear.  It gives an excellent introduction to the vagaries of China’s foreign relations over the last 250 years.” The book won the Asia Society's book award for 2013.

Professor Arne Westad has authored many books, articles, chapters and paper. This is a list of his recent books:


Roberts, J. M. and Westad, O.A., The Penguin History of the World 6th edition, Penguin Books Ltd, London, UK, 2013.


Restless empire: China and the world since 1750. The Bodley Head, London, UK, 2012.


Westad, OA; Leffler, MP (eds.) The Cambridge History of the Cold War. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK., 3 volumes, 2010.


J.M. Roberts, The New Penguin History of the World, 5th edition. Revised and updated by OA Westad. Penguin, 2008.


Westad, OA; Quinn-Judge, S (eds.). The Third Indochina War: Conflict between China, Vietnam and Cambodia, 1972-79. Routledge, 2006.


The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.


Westad, OA; Hanhimaki, J (eds.). The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts. Oxford University Press, 2003.


Decisive Encounters: The Chinese Civil War, 1946-1950. Stanford University Press, 2003.


Westad, OA; C.Y. Moon, G.H.Kang (eds.). Ending the Cold War in Korea: Theoretical and Historical Perspectives. Seoul: Yonsei University Press, 2001.


Westad, OA (ed.). Reviewing the Cold War: Approaches, Interpretations, Theory. Frank Cass, 2000.


Brothers in Arms: The Rise and Fall of the Sino-Soviet Alliance, 1945-1963. Stanford University Press/Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1999.


Westad, OA; Chen J; Tonnesson, S; Nguyen Vu Tung; and Hershberg, J (eds.). 77 Conversations between Chinese and Foreign Leaders on the Indochina War, 1964-1977. Washington, DC: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1998.


Westad, OA; Sven G. Holtsmark, and Iver B. Neumann (eds.). The Soviet Union in Eastern Europe, 1945-89. Palgrave Macmillan, 1994.


Cold War and Revolution: Soviet-American Rivalry and the Origins of the Chinese Civil War, 1944-1946. Columbia University Press; Reprint edition (August 1993).


Westad, OAand Geir Lundestad (eds.). Beyond the Cold War: New Dimensions in International Relations. A Scandinavian University Press Publication, 1993.