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The Archive Mourns the Loss of John Prados, Senior Fellow and One of Our Founders

December 1, 2022

The Archive is deeply saddened to announce the recent  passing of senior fellow Dr. John Prados, a celebrated military and intelligence historian and one of the founders of the Archive.

A prodigious author and researcher, John leaves behind a whole bookshelf of highly informed, well documented volumes covering military and intelligence history from the battle of Leyte Gulf in World War II, through Dien Bien Phu, the entire Vietnam War, the invasion of Iraq, and so much more. Among his 27 books, several of them translated into French, a highlight was his biography of William Colby, which argues that the CIA director’s accommodating approach to congressional investigations in the 1970s of Agency wrongdoing actually saved the CIA.

John was a self-described “man of the 60s” who swam against many currents. He practically invented the title “independent scholar,” not least because in multiple periods of his life he earned his living less from his books and teaching than from designing war games, another indication of his wide-ranging interests, and reflecting his deep fascination with replaying history—games of strategy that reinforced his scholarly findings about agency and contingency. Things didn’t have to turn out the way they did. Human choice made a difference, while circumstances often ruled.

The Archive remembers John and his many contributions to transparency and national security scholarship in a special web posting to honor his life and work.

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