William R. Polk Last updated December 26, 2018 Career
Polk taught Middle Eastern history and politics at Harvard from 1955–61, and was then appointed by
President Kennedy to the State Department's Policy Planning Council focusing on the Middle East and North Africa. While there he served as a member of the  Cuban Missile Crisis management team.
In 1961 Polk was a
Guggenheim Fellow in Near Eastern Studies. 
Polk resigned from the federal government to join the
University of Chicago as professor of history in 1965, where he taught for ten years and established its Center for Middle Eastern Studies, serving as Founding Director. 
In 1967 Polk became president of the
Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs, which hosted the 20th Pugwash Conference on nuclear weapons problems, helped organize the “Table Ronde” meeting which laid groundwork for the European Union, and contributed to planning the United Nations Environmental Program. During the 1967 Middle Eastern  Six-Day War he returned to Washington to write a draft peace treaty and to serve as an advisor to McGeorge Bundy, who was President Johnson’s personal representative during that crisis. 
Polk was Vice Chairman of the
W.P. Carey Foundation and a member of the  Council on Foreign Relations. He lives and writes in southern  France and is married to Baroness Elisabeth von Oppenheimer. He has lectured at the  Canadian Institute of International Relations, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and the Institute of World Economy and International Affairs of the Soviet (now Russian) Academy of Sciences, as well at over a hundred universities and colleges.
William Polk was also the foreign policy adviser for Democratic candidate
Dennis Kucinich's presidential campaign. Books Backdrop to Tragedy: The Struggle for Palestine (1957). coauthors William R. Polk, David M. Stamler, and Edmund Asfour. Beacon Press online edition The Opening of South Lebanon, 1788-1840: A Study of the Impact of The West on the Middle East (1963). Harvard University Press The United States and the Arab World (1965). Harvard University Press, 3rd edition 1975: ISBN 0-674-92718-4 Beginnings of Modernization in the Middle East: The Nineteenth Century (1968). University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-67425-8 Passing Brave (1973). Alfred Knopf, ISBN 0-394-47893-2 reprint Panda Press 2013 The Golden Ode by Labid Ibn Rabiah. Translated with an Introduction and Commentary by William R. Polk (1974). University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-46717-1 The Elusive Peace: The Middle East in the Twentieth Century (1979). Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 0-312-24383-9 Neighbors and Strangers: The Fundamentals of Foreign Affairs (1997). University Of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-67329-4 Polk's Folly: An American Family History (2000). Doubleday, ISBN 0-385-49150-6, Anchor paperback ISBN 0-385-49151-4 Understanding Iraq: The Whole Sweep of Iraqi History from Genghis Khan's Mongols to the Ottoman Turks to the British Mandate to the American Occupation (2005). HarperCollins hardcover: ISBN 0-06-076468-6, paperback: ISBN 0-06-076469-4 The Birth of America: From Before Columbus to the Revolution (2006). HarperCollins hardcover: ISBN 0-06-075090-1 Out of Iraq: A Practical Plan for Withdrawal Now (2006). coauthor George McGovern, Simon & Schuster paperback: ISBN 1-4165-3456-3 Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism, and Guerrilla War, from the American Revolution to Iraq (2007). HarperCollins hardcover: ISBN 0-06-123619-5 Understanding Iran: Everything You Need to Know, From Persia to the Islamic Republic, From Cyrus to Ahmadinejad (2009). Palgrave * *Macmillan hardcover: ISBN 978-0-230-61678-3 Personal History: Living in Interesting Times Panda Press 2013 Distant Thunder: Reflections on the Dangers of Our Times Panda Press 2013 Humpty Dumpty: The Fate of Regime Change Panda Press 2013 Blind Man's Buff, a Novel set in Afghanistan Panda Press 2013 Crusade and Jihad, Yale University Press, 2018 External links Homepage of William R. Polk, with articles. "Iraq: A New Leaf" by William R. Polk, from February 18, 1999. New York Review of Books Interview of Polk about his book Polk's Folly by Chicago Public Radio, April 27, 2000, RealAudio format. "A Visit to Iraq" The Calm Before a Second Desert Storm? by William R. Polk, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 2003, pages 24–26. "What is to Be Done in Iraq?" by William R. Polk April 24, 2004. "Thoughts on Torture" guest editorial in Informed Comment, May 26, 2004. "A Time for Leaving" by William R. Polk, American Conservative, January 17, 2005. "The Lessons of Iraq We Refuse to Learn" by William R. Polk History News Network, April 4, 2005. "Could a New Dictatorship Arise in Iraq?" interview of Polk by NPR April 28, 2005 ( RealAudio or WMA audio formats). "Concerning Public Ignorance" What America Needs to Do to Achieve Its Foreign Policy Goals, by William R. Polk History News Network, August 29, 2005. Interview of Polk on writing The Birth of America June 19, 2006. "The Way Out of War" A blueprint for leaving Iraq now November 8, 2006.
This page is based on this
Text is available under the
CC BY-SA 4.0
license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.