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Dominic Tierney

Claude C. Smith '14 Professor

Department Chair, Political Science

Political Science


  2. Phone: (610) 328-8097
  3. Trotter Hall 318
  4. Office Hours: Students should email Professor Tierney to set up an appointment.

Dominic Tierney is a professor of political science, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and a former contributing editor at The Atlantic.

He completed his PhD in international politics at Oxford University in 2003, and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Mershon Center at Ohio State University and the Olin Institute at Harvard University before coming to Swarthmore in 2005. In 2008-2009, he was a research fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

He has published four books:

Failing to Win: Perceptions of Victory and Defeat in International Politics  (Harvard University Press, 2006), with Dominic Johnson, which won the International Studies Association award for the best book of the year, and was nominated for the best book of the decade.

FDR and the Spanish Civil War: Neutrality and Commitment in the Struggle that Divided America (Duke University Press, 2007), which was described by Diplomatic History as "a model of superb diplomatic history."

How We Fight: Crusades, Quagmires, and the American Way of War (Little, Brown, & Co., 2010), which Ambassador James Dobbins, former Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, called, "A great theme, beautifully written and compellingly organized, it's a fitting update to Russell Weigley's classic [The American Way of War] and an important contribution to a national debate over the war in Afghanistan which is only gathering steam.”

Tierney's latest book is The Right Way to Lose a War: America in an Age of Unwinnable Conflicts (Little, Brown, & Co., 2015), which was reviewed in the Wall Street Journal, featured on MSNBC and NPR, and excerpted in the and In Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Freedman described the book as “brave and interesting."

Tierney's work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, NPR, and various academic journals.

The Right Way To Lose A War Failing to Win
FDR and the Spanish Civil War How We Fight