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 family moved to Los Angeles, California when he was four years of age. He attended Stanford University, served in the Navy during World War II, 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.
Burdick died in 1965 of a heart attack, while playing tennis, at the age of 46. After his death, it was reported that he was a diabetic who struggled with chronic heart disease.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.