Englund, Steven 1945-

views updated

Englund, Steven 1945-


Born February 2, 1945. Education: Colgate University, A.B. (magna cum laude), M.A.; Princeton University, Ph.D.; attended University of Cambridge as a Marshall Scholar.


Office—American University of Paris, 31, Ave. Bosquet, 75007 Paris, France. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, historian, educator, and journalist. Time magazine, New York, NY, staff correspondent, 1968-74; University of CaliforniaLos Angeles, lecturer in history, 1977-87; President Carter's Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties, Washington, DC, 1980-81; University de Paris—VIII, Saint Denis, France, chargé de conference, 1985-87; l'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France, 1989—; World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, contract writer, 1997-2000; freelance writer and author, 2000—; American University of Paris, Paris, France, NYU Distinguished Professor of History, 2006—. New York University School of Law, New York, NY, John E. Sexton, Esq., Dean, contract writer; Loyola University, Chicago, IL, Father John Piderit, S.J. President, contract writer; UNAIDS, Geneva, Switzerland.


Pulitzer Prize nominee, c. 1983, for Man Slaughter; Russell Major Award for the Best Book on French History, American Historical Association, 2004, and Best Foreign Book, La Fondation Napoleon, both for Napoleon; Guggenheim fellow, 2007.


(With Edward E. Ford) For the Love of Children: A Realistic Approach to Raising Your Child, Anchor Press/Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1977.

(With Edward E. Ford) Permanent Love: Practical Steps to a Lasting Relationship, Winston Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1979.

(With Larry Ceplair) The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-1960, Anchor Press/Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1980, reprinted, with illustrations, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 2003.

Report of the President's Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties, U.S. Government Printing Office (Washington, DC), 1981.

Man Slaughter, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1983.

Grace of Monaco: An Interpretive Biography, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1984.

Tamar & Amnon (ballet in three movements), based on a poem by F. Garcia-Llorca, music by George Calusdian, choreographed by Martine Van Hamel, produced at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, 1984.

Napoleon: A Political Life, Scribner (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor to books, including Dictionnaire des oeuvres politiques, 2nd edition, edited by Duhamel and Pisier, Universitaires de France, 1989; and Une histoire de la democratie en Europe, edited by Antoine de Baecque, Le Monde Editions, 1991. Contributor to periodicals, including Time, Lear's, New York Times, Oui, Sports Illustrated, Reader's Digest, European Travel & Life, International Herald Tribune, New Woman, Outdoor Life, New York Review of Books, America, Commonweal, Journal of Modern History, Le Monde, Diplomatique Communios, Times Literary Supplement, Annales, Columbia Journalism Review, New York Times Magazine, Le Nouvel Observateur, En Jeu, Christian Century, Politix, and La Review d'histoire moderne et contemporaine.


Steven Englund has worked as a freelance journalist and is the author of books on culture, society, and history. Although the author has a special interest in French history and contemporary French society and has written about both extensively, his books have covered a wide range of historical topics. He is the author, with Larry Ceplair, of TheInquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-1960, first published in 1980 and then reprinted in illustrated paperback in 2003. The book looks at the suppression of political activity within the film industry beginning during the Great Depression on through the 1950s. The authors pay special attention to the tumultuous hearings held by the House Un-American Activities Committee, focusing largely on the waning days of the infamous blacklisting of people suspected of having Communist sympathies. In their final analysis, the authors trace the history of Hollywood's political struggles to the formation of the Screen Writers Guild in 1933.

"The result is a damning account of the Red Menace era where screenwriters were blacklisted, having been falsely accused of indoctrinating cinema with Communist propaganda," wrote Thomas Caldwell of the newer edition of The Inquisition in Hollywood in a review on the Screening the Past Web site. Caldwell also commented: "The Inquisition in Hollywood is a thoroughly comprehensive text that will stand up to scrutiny and be as relevant today as it was when first published over twenty years ago."

Englund received a Pulitzer Prize nomination for his 1983 book Man Slaughter. In the book, the author reports on the 1978 Wisconsin trial of Jen Patri for shooting her estranged husband, Bob Patri, when he came to pick up their two children for visitation. After shooting him, she set fire to their farmhouse, went to a fair, and then returned to confess. During the trial, the defendant claimed to be a battered wife and, in the process, gained strong support from a number of regional women's coalitions. "Initially sympathetic to Mrs. Patri's plight, Steven Englund began to doubt her motives during the course of researching" Man Slaughter, noted Carol Verderese in a review in the New York Times Book Review.

In Grace of Monaco: An Interpretive Biography, the author provides a look at the one-time Hollywood movie star turned princess of the small municipality of Monaco. Englund's biography focuses on her motivations and inner thoughts and feelings. He is especially interested in how she felt about trading the glitter and glitz of Hollywood for the responsibilities of being princess of Monaco.

Englund's 2004 book Napoleon: A Political Life was called "a remarkable work of prodigious research and erudition" by Library Journal contributor Jim Doyle. Jay Freeman, writing in Booklist, referred to the biography as "a valuable addition to our knowledge of one of the most compelling personalities in history."

From the time he was a teenager, Englund has been fascinated by Napoleon Bonaparte, who was a general during the French Revolution and later staged a coup d'état in 1799 to become ruler of France and eventually emperor of France. Noting the author's longtime fascination with his subject, Commonweal contributor James J. Sheehan commented: "At no point does this fascination lead him to pull any punches; he does not try to gloss over Napoleon's egotism and defeats; nor does he hide the cost of Napoleon's ambition and victories. Nevertheless, the author's admiration for his protagonist is always apparent—and no wonder. Napoleon was a leader of quite extraordinary energy, skill, and imagination."

Englund, who has taught courses about Napoleon at the University of Paris, provides an in-depth look at the leader as a unique force and personality whose political significance affected almost all of Europe. "Most contemporary works focus on Napoleon's battlefield prowess and broad impact on European warfare and landscape; Englund, however, takes a different tack," noted James P. Herson, Jr., in Parameters. "While he acknowledges the unique military feats of one of history's greatest captains, he deftly weaves the military exploits of Napoleon and the Grande Armee within a fascinating and rich political tapestry that fleshes out Bonaparte's goals, relationships, and personal biases."

In his book, Englund writes of Napoleon as beginning his career as a Corsican patriot who disliked France but became committed to the French Revolution, admiring the idea and seeing an opportunity at the same time. Overall, Englund charts Napoleon's rise and fall from his Corsican boyhood to his final exile and death, examining such aspects of his rule as his political use of patriotism, or "nation-talk," which helped him maintain unprecedented power over the popular imagination of the French. The author also includes a chapter analyzing the Napoleonic legend over the course of two centuries, including Napoleon's reputation in modern-day France.

Writing in the Canadian Army Journal, Paul Gillies noted that the book is "divided into four, separate, chronologically-situated books that cover Napoleon's early years, his military and political rise during the French Revolution, the pinnacle period of his career in which he becomes First Consul and eventually Emperor, and his eventual downfall and death. To achieve this, Englund provides us with a quasibiography of Napoleon, including small snippets of his personal and military exploits in order to aid us in understanding the man behind the throne." The book's first chapter, about the young Napoleon, is followed by a chapter titled "The Making of a Patriot" and another called "The Unmaking of the Patriot." The author then describes Napoleon as he acted both in love and war. He writes of Napoleon's apprenticeship to statecraft during times in Italy and Egypt and then explores his rise to power and how he used that power. Chapter twelve looks at the cracks that began to appear in Napoleon's empire over the years 1808 to 1810, followed by two chapters examining the next two years as the empire began to unravel and then collapse over the years 1812 to 1814.

"I highly recommend this book for all would-be politicians and/or practitioners of military art," wrote John T. Kuehn in the Military Review. "The book shows the heights and depths a rare, exceptional human being can achieve." Noting that Englund "has a firm command of the literature, and particularly the French literature, surrounding Napoleon," a Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that the author "keeps a complex narrative on course, doing a fine job of showing just why so many Europeans … revered" Napoleon.



American Film, May, 1980, Richard Corliss, review of The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-1960, p. 62; July-August, 1984, Elliott Sirkin, review of Grace of Monaco: An Interpretive Biography, p. 43.

Booklist, November 15, 2003, Jay Freeman, review of Napoleon: A Political Life, p. 568.

Chatelaine, June, 1984, Judith Timson, review of Grace of Monaco, p. 4.

Choice, October, 2004, T.M. Keefe, review of Napoleon, p. 361.

Commonweal, November 4, 1983, Kevin M. Doyle, review of Man Slaughter, p. 593; April 23, 2004, James J. Sheehan, "The Last Warrior King," review of Napoleon, p. 25.

Film Quarterly, winter, 1980, Andries Deinum, review of The Inquisition in Hollywood, p. 60.

Harvard Law Review, December, 1983, review of Man Slaughter, p. 622.

Historian, fall, 2006, Owen Connelly, review of Napoleon, p. 622.

Journal of Modern History, June, 2007, David P. Jordan, review of Napoleon, p. 438.

Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2003, review of Napoleon, p. 1298.

Library Journal, March 1, 1980, Marshall Deutelbaum, review of The Inquisition in Hollywood, p. 631; August, 1983, review of Man Slaughter, p. 1498; May 15, 1984, review of Grace of Monaco, p. 978; November 15, 2003, Jim Doyle, review of Napoleon, p. 75.

Military Review, November-December, 2005, John T. Kuehn, review of Napoleon, p. 93.

Ms. Magazine, December, 1983, Elsa Dixler, review of Man Slaughter, p. 38.

Nation, September 17, 1983, Ann Jones, review of Man Slaughter, p. 212.

New Left Review, September-October, 2005, Tami Sarfatti, review of Napoleon, p. 137.

New Republic, May 31, 1980, Walter Goodman, review of The Inquisition in Hollywood, p. 31; May 17, 2004, David A. Bell, "Just Like Us," review of Napoleon, p. 34.

Newsweek, August 29, 1983, Gene Lyons, review of Man Slaughter, p. 63.

New York Review of Books, February 16, 1984, Diane Johnson, review of Man Slaughter, p. 38.

New York Times Book Review, January 22, 1984, Carol Verderese, review of Man Slaughter, p. 23; May 27, 1984, review of Grace of Monaco, p. 13; February 29, 2004, Paula Friedman, "Books in Brief: Nonfiction," review of Napoleon, p. 20.

Parameters, winter, 2004, James P. Herson, Jr., review of Napoleon, p. 154.

Publishers Weekly, June 10, 1983, review of Man Slaughter, p. 54; March 23, 1984, review of Grace of Monaco, p. 62; July 5, 1985, review of Grace of Monaco, p. 66; October 27, 2003, review of Napoleon, p. 51.

Times Literary Supplement, February 20, 2004, Sudhir Hazareesingh, "Consul of Corsica," review of Napoleon, p. 8.

Trial Diplomacy Journal, fall, 1984, Stephen G. Baime, review of Man Slaughter, p. 38.

Women's Rights Law Reporter, fall, 1986, Ann Jones, review of Man Slaughter, pp. 295-298.


American University of Paris Web site,http://www.aup.fr/ (March 30, 2008), faculty profile of author.

New York University Institute of French Studies Web site,http://www.nyu.edu/fas/program/frenchstudies/ (March 31, 2008), faculty profile of author.

Screening the Past,http://www.latrobe.edu.au/screeningthepast/ (March 30, 2008), Thomas Caldwell, review of The Inquisition in Hollywood.