Professor of History; Director, International History Institute
Military history, history of international relations, history of American foreign policy, international human rights history
Cathal J. Nolan is the author of several acclaimed works of military history. For The Allure of Battle (Oxford 2017), he received both the Gilder Lehrman Prize in Military History and the first Distinguished Book Award from War on the Rocks. Gilder Lehrman, the major prize in the field of military history, recognized Allure of Battle as “the best book on military history in the English-speaking world distinguished by its scholarship, its contribution to the literature, and its appeal to both a general and an academic audience.” His other books include a two volume Concise History of World War II; Wars of the Age of Louis XIV; a two-volume study of The Age of the Wars of Religion; and several edited books in ethics in international affairs and international history. He is currently writing Decency: Mercy and Honor in War, for Oxford University Press. Under the pen name Kali Altsoba, he writes novels about war that are cast as future military fiction. Assassin (2018) is the seventh volume in his Orion War series. Forthcoming in 2020 is Destroyer, the first volume in a projected five novel series entitled White Sails.
His histories have been feature reviewed in military history journals and other professional journals, and in international print and online media, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The National, and The Daily Beast. He has lectured in Argentina, Britain, Canada, Israel, and the United States, at venues such as Chautauqua Institute, National World War II Museum, the New York Historical Society, the New York Military Affairs Symposium, Military History Society of Massachusetts, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (Ft. Leavenworth), the National Intelligence University Alumni Association, World Affairs Forum, Center for Military and Diplomatic History, and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2011. He has been interviewed on CBS Radio, Radio Free Europe, Newstalk (Ireland), BBC Mundo and PBS. Public lectures and podcasts include C-Span, New Books Network, The East-West Institute, The Dead Prussian, and Dangerous History. He consults on military history to the PBS science series NOVA, where he interviewed on camera in the 2018 NOVA documentary on Dunkirk.
Nolan is Director of the International History Institute, and a member of the faculty in History. In 2006 he received an Outstanding Teaching Award from the Honors Program of Boston University (2006). In 1991 he received the university-wide Outstanding Teaching Award at Miami University. Before that, he taught for two years in rural northern Nigeria with the Canadian University Service Overseas. He returned to development field work as faculty adviser to BU Global Water Brigade and Public Health Brigade, working with five student groups in rural Honduras to build potable water pipeline and infrastructure in arid, high mountain villages.