Dallek attended the University of Illinois, graduating with a B.A. in history in June 1955. He did graduate work at Columbia University, earning an M.A. in February 1957, and a Ph.D. in June 1964. While working on his Ph.D., he was a history instructor at Columbia.
From 1964 until 1994 Dallek advanced from assistant to full professor of history at UCLA. By 1966, he was a graduate adviser in the Department of History at UCLA and served in that position for two years. From 1972 to 1974, he served as Vice-Chair of the UCLA Department of History. From 1981–1985, he was a Research Associate at the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute. In 1993, he was a visiting professor at the California Institute of Technology, and from 1994 to 1995 he was the Harmsworth Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford. In 1995 he was awarded an honorary M.A. by Oxford University for his work there.
The Lost Peace: Leadership in a Time of Horror and Hope, 1945–1953 (HarperCollins, 2010, ISBN 978-0-06-162866-5)
Camelot's Court: Inside the Kennedy White House (New York: HarperCollins, 2013)
'Franklin Roosevelt as world leader', The American Historical Review, 76 (1971): 1503–1513
'National mood and American foreign policy: a suggestive essay', American Quarterly, 34 (1982): 229–261
'Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam: the making of a tragedy', Diplomatic History, 20 (1996): 147
'Tales of the tapes', Reviews in American History, 26 (1998): 333–338
'John F. Kennedy's Civil Rights Quandary.' American History 38.3 (2003): 36
Essays in edited volumes
American perceptions of the Soviet Union, in Abbott Gleason (ed.), Cold War-Cold Peace: Soviet American Relations, 1933–1983 (Boston: Beacon Press, 1975)
'Triumphant America in a shaken world', in Sanford J. Ungar (ed.), Estrangement: America and the World(New York: Oxford University Press, 1985)
When Presidents Become Weak, in Walter Isaacson (ed.), Profiles in Leadership: Historians on the Elusive Quality of Greatness (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2011)
He appeared on The Daily Show in July 2007. He has made numerous appearances on CNN and on public television and radio, including several on-camera comments included in the American Experience's biography, "F.D.R.."