Nicholas Evan Sarantakes
Nicholas Evan Sarantakes is a historian specializing primarily in U.S. military, diplomatic, and political history during the World War II and Cold
War eras. He is an associate professor in the Department of Strategy and Policy at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Before that,
he taught in the history department at Texas A&M University—Commerce for six and a half years. He was also a visiting professor in the Department
of Strategy at the Air War College, and the department of history at the University of Southern Mississippi. He also was on faculty at the U.S. Army
Command and General Staff College.
Sarantakes earned a BA in history from the University of Texas in 1989. While there, he worked at The Daily Texan, which at the time was the largest college paper in the country and the fifth largest daily in the state of Texas. He was a reporter, columnist, and assignments editor, and earned The Daily Texan Staff Scholarship. He briefly wrote The Metro Spirit in Augusta, George in 2006-2007.
He holds a MA degree from the University of Kentucky in 1991, where he studied under George C. Herring. He then entered the Ph.D. program in history at the University of Southern California. During this time, he was a Junior Fellow at the Library of Congress. While at USC, he published his first academic article on the return of Okinawa, which he originally wrote while at Texas. Under the direction of Roger Dingman, this article became the foundation for a dissertation on the battle and occupation of Okinawa, which then turned into his first book: Keystone: The American Occupation of Okinawa and U.S.-Japanese Relations (2000).
Although trained as a diplomatic historian, he has moved into military history. In 1999 he was a Fellow in the West Point Summer Seminar in Military History, which was part graduate school seminar and part teaching workshop. In 2004 his second book looked exclusively at the battle of Okinawa through the diaries of the two generals that commanded the Tenth U.S. Army: Seven Stars: The Okinawa Battle Diaries of Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. and Joseph Stilwell. An entry in Stilwell’s diary about British units serving under his command during the planned invasion of Japan led to his third book: Allies Against the Rising Sun: The United States, the British Nations, and the Defeat of Imperial Japan (2009). This book explores the working of coalition diplomacy towards the end of the war.
In 2004 he spent six months in England as a Campus Fellow at the University of Salford. This position allowed him to finish what became Allies and then begin a new book project that returned him to diplomatic history: Dropping the Torch: Jimmy Carter, the Olympic Boycott, and the Cold War (2011). His most recent book is a film history: Making Patton: A Classic War Film’s Epic Journey to the Silver Screen (2012). This book examines the making of Patton, the 1970 film that won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Most military historians in the United States are service and war specific—they study the U.S. Army in the Civil War or the U.S. Navy in World War II—Sarantakes is slightly different in that his writings in military history emphasis “jointness,” which is to say the efforts of the various branches of the armed services to work together. Another topic he addresses often in his articles is U.S. foreign policy during the administration of President Lyndon Johnson. All told, Sarantakes has written over 30 articles and chapters for a diverse collection of newspapers, magazines, and websites, such as the Austin American-Statesman, Diplomatic History, English Historical Review, The Journal of Military History, Politico.com, Joint Forces Quarterly, and ESPN.com.
Sarantakes has received five writing awards—all for his article work: the H. Bailey Carroll Award for the best article published in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly; the Kiley Prize for the best article published in Joint Forces Quarterly. He received the Bronze Pen Award and two Silver Pen Awards from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College for a series of book reviews and articles. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
In addition to writing and publishing, he has done service work for his profession. While still in graduate school at USC, he created the “U.S. Diplomatic History Resources Index,” a website that served as a clearing house for information on the world wide web related to diplomatic history. This website drew considerable media attention and was listed as a recommended site by publications such as USA Today and The Washington Post. He also writes a blog on career management issues in the history profession: “In the Service of Clio.” He served as a judge for the American Historical Association’s Paul Birdsall Book Prize, serving as the chair during his last year on the committee. He has also done judge work for the Admiral Richard G. Colbert Memorial Prize at the Naval War College, and for the Secretary of Defense National Security Essay and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff National Defense and Military Strategy Essay Competitions, the same competition that awarded him the Kiley Prize in 2007. He is also a book review editor for Presidential Studies Quarterly.
Sarantakes was born into an Army family. His father was a career officer as were his father’s brother and his mother’s brother. Sarantakes’ brother and two cousins also served in the Army. As a result, he grew up on Army bases in various parts of the United States and Korea. Active in Scouting during these various moves, Sarantakes earned the Eagle Scout award and the Vigil Honor of the Order of the Arrow. He also worked at the Philmont Scout Ranch, including two years in the Ranger Department. He currently lives in Rhode Island with his wife and their two children. His hobbies include skiing and writing about himself in the third person.