Eugene Leonard Burdick (December 12, 1918 – July 26, 1965) was an American political scientist, novelist, and non-fiction writer, co-author of The Ugly American (1958), Fail-Safe (1962), and author of The 480 (1965).
He was born in Sheldon, Iowa, the son of Marie Ellerbroek and Jack Dale Burdick. His father was a socialist who named his son after Eugene V. Debs. His family moved to Los Angeles, California when he was four years of age. One of his pastimes growing up was surfing.
Education and early career
He was an undergraduate psychology major at Stanford University, but his graduate studies were interrupted by World War II during which he served in the United States Navy, after which he pursued his graduate studies at Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar in 1948. He worked at the department of political science at the University of California.
He first gained national attention as a writer in 1947 when his short story, "Rest Camp on Maui," which had appeared in Harper's Magazine, was the second prize selection for the O. Henry Award. In 1956 his first novel, The Ninth Wave, was published, and was a Book of the Month Club selection. At the close of the 1950s, he was among the first members of the Society for General Systems Research.
He was a Cold War liberal, supporting the Vietnam War, though he was critical of how the United States government went about it. The novel The Ugly American portrayed American representatives were losing the battle for hearts and minds to the Soviet Union in the fictional Asian kingdom of Sarhan. He also advocated nuclear disarmament.
- 1956. The Ninth Wave (winner, Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship)
- 1958. The Ugly American (fiction) with William Lederer
- 1961. The Blue of Capricorn
- 1962. Fail-Safe. with Harvey Wheeler
- 1965. The 480
- 1965. Nina's Book
- 1966. Sarkhan: a Novel with William Lederer. Republished under the title The Deceptive American in 1977.
- "Papers of Eugene L. Burdick". Special Collections Department, University of Iowa Libraries. c. 2003. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
- Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature - R. Reginald, Douglas Menville, Mary A. Burgess - Google Books
- Smith, Chris (2010). "Intellectual Action Hero". California magazine.
- University of California, Biography
- Random House: O.Henry Stories
- Encyclopedia of Surfing
- Berkeley Daily Planet
- "The New York Times: Tuesday July 27, 1965". Retrieved 2016-08-05.
- Lederer, William J.; Burdick, Eugene (1965). Sarkhan. McGraw-Hill. OCLC 1061482.
- Lederer, William J; Burdick, Eugene (November 1977). The Deceptive American. W. W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-08802-1. OCLC 3203901.
- The Strange Obscurity of Eugene Burdick by Mark Pack