Don Oberdorfer

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Don Oberdorfer
Donald Oberdorfer Jr.

(1931-05-28)May 28, 1931
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Died July 23, 2015(2015-07-23) (aged 84)
Alma materPrinceton University
OccupationJournalist, author, professor
Spouse(s)Laura Oberdorfer

Donald Oberdorfer Jr. (May 28, 1931 – July 23, 2015) was an American professor at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University with a specialty in Korea, and was a journalist for 38 years, 25 of them with The Washington Post. He is the author of five books and several academic papers. His book, Senator Mansfield: The Extraordinary Life of a Great American Statesman and Diplomat, won the D.B. Hardeman Prize in 2003.[1]


Oberdorfer graduated from Princeton University and went to South Korea as a U.S. Army lieutenant after the signing of the armistice that ended the Korean War. In 1955 he joined The Charlotte Observer, and eventually found a job with The Washington Post. During the next 25 years, he worked for The Post, serving as White House correspondent, Northeast Asia correspondent, and diplomatic correspondent. He retired from the paper in 1993.

At the Nitze school, beyond his teaching position, Oberdorfer served as chairman of the U.S.-Korea Institute[1] from its inauguration[2] in 2006 and was named chairman emeritus in 2013.[1]


Oberdorfer was married to the former Laura Klein. He had two children, Daniel and Karen Oberdorfer, and a brother, Eugene.[1]


External video
video icon Booknotes interview with Oberdorfer on The Turn, October 27, 1991, C-SPAN
video icon Presentation by Oberdorfer on The Two Koreas, November 14, 1997, C-SPAN
video icon Panel discussion featuring Oberdorfer on The Two Koreas, December 7, 2001, C-SPAN
video icon Tribute to former Senator Mike Mansfield, with Oberdorfer discussing his biography of Mansfield, October 14, 2003, C-SPAN
  • Tet!, (Doubleday, 1971) ISBN 0-385-08571-0.[3] Finalist for the National Book Award.[4])
  • The Turn: From the Cold War to the New Era, Poseidon Press, October 1, 1991, ISBN 0-671-70783-3.
Published in an updated edition as From the Cold War to the New Era: The United States and the Soviet Union, 1983-1991, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-8018-5922-0.
  • Princeton University: The First 250 Years, Princeton University Press, October 30, 1995, ISBN 0-691-01122-2.
  • The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History, Perseus Books, October 1, 1997, ISBN 0-201-40927-5.
Published in a revised and updated edition, Basic Books, February 5, 2002, ISBN 0-465-05162-6.
Published in a revised and updated third edition, Basic Books, December 10, 2013, ISBN 978-0-465-03123-8. Co-authored with Robert Carlin.[5]
  • Senator Mansfield: The Extraordinary Life of a Great American Statesman and Diplomat, Smithsonian Books, October 1, 2003, ISBN 1-58834-166-6.

Selected articles and papers[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Roberts, Sam (July 28, 2015). "Don Oberdorfer, 84, Top Diplomatic Reporter for Washington Post, Dies". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Remarks by US Ambassador to South Korea James T. Laney at SAIS institute inauguration, pdf, October 4, 2006. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  3. ^ Tet!, Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  4. ^ Langer, Emily,"Don Oberdorfer, longtime diplomatic correspondent for The Post, dies at 84", Washington Post, July 24, 2015. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  5. ^ The Two Koreas,, Retrieved 2015-07-28.

External links[edit]