In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 1996 - 518 pages
Robert S. McNamara, secretary of defense for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, helped lead America into Vietnam. McNamara believed that the fight against communism in Asia was worth the sacrifice of American lives, and yet he eventually came to believe that the war was, in fact, unwinnable. Outnumbered by those who wanted to continue fighting, he left the Johnson administration and his involvement in Vietnam behind. He refused any public comment on the war, and for almost three decades has kept his silence - until the nineties. Drawing on his personal experience and a wealth of documentation - much of it only declassified decades later, and some presented here for the first time ever - McNamara has crafted an insider account of Vietnam policy making. He reveals exactly how we stumbled into the war, and exactly why it quickly became so difficult to pull out. McNamara takes us into the Oval Office for late-night discussions with the president, into the halls of the Pentagon as military strategy is argued, and into the chambers of Congress as policy is debated. He also reveals his own inner torment as the war effort becomes increasingly frustrating, and then utterly disastrous. The result is a book that is not only history of the highest order, but also revealing portrait of the trials of leadership.--adapted from publisher description.
 

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User Review  - Waltersgn - LibraryThing

Memoir of one of the architects of the Vietnam War Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - carterchristian1 - LibraryThing

An essential resource for history of the U.S. participation in the Vietnam war. McNamara gives candid assessments of Johnson and other American participants. Frequently he lays out a situation then ... Read full review

Contents

The Soviets believed that nuclear weapons could
3
The Nuclear Risks of the 1960s and Their Lessons for
337
nuclear weapons and a heightened understanding of the risks
343

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About the author (1996)

Robert S. McNamara was secretary of defense under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, president of the Ford Motor Company, and president of the World Bank. After leaving the World Bank he was active in economic development efforts across the globe and in the arms control and non-proliferation movements. He died in 2009.

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