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Obituaries, January/February 2023  -   -  

John Prados, 1951-2022

John Prados, a historian and scholar who specialized in 20th century American wars and was The VVA Veteran’s longtime Vietnam War history expert who contributed many in-depth feature articles to the magazine for more than three decades, died November 29 of cancer. He was 71 years old.

Prados received a BA, two master’s degrees, and a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University, the latter in 1982. His first book, The Soviet Estimate, based on his dissertation, analyzed the Soviet Union’s strategic forces during the Cold War.

As an independent scholar — and later a senior fellow at George Washington University’s National Security Archive — he wrote some two dozen books. The long list includes six that deal directly with the Vietnam War: The Sky Would Fall: Operation Vulture: The U.S. Bombing Mission in Indochina, 1954 (1983); Valley of Decision: The Siege of Khe Sanh, written with Ray W. Stubbe (1991); The Blood Road: The Ho Chi Minh Trail and the Vietnam War (1999); Inside the Pentagon Papers, with VVA’s Margaret Pratt Porter (2004) — based on a 2001 VVA-sponsored symposium in Washington, D.C. — and Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945–1975 (2009).

“Reading the thorough Vietnam War battlefield descriptions and policy analyses John Prados wrote for the magazine, VVA members gained a greater understanding of the Big Picture of the war in which they had participated,” said former VVA Veteran editor Michael Keating. “Many VVA members concluded reading his stories with, ‘Oh, so that’s what we were up to.’”




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