Analogies at War: Korea, Munich, Dien Bien Phu, and the Vietnam Decisions of 1965 1st Edition

2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691025353
ISBN-10: 0691025355
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Editorial Reviews

Review

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1993

"Khong's interviews and newly declassified documents make a compelling case the American decision-makers in 1965 used historical analogies not only to justify decisions but to make them, most notably in the process of rejecting options."--Foreign Affairs
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1 edition (April 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691025355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691025353
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #619,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book taking the political psychology approach analyse the events that led President Johnson to escalate U.S. involvement during the Vietnam War. Using "cold cognition -analogical reasoning", Khong explains with precision the decision-making process, why President Johnson increased U.S. participation in the Vietnam War but also the form it took during the few months in 1965.
In terms of methodology, Khong make good use of interviews with participants of the decision-making process, in particular, George Ball and also memoirs of former statesmen for his analysis.
The strength of the book lies in explaining how the option to escalate the war in Vietnam was arrived; through analogical reasoning by various participants of the decision-making process. Secondly, the form it took: the "slow squeeze" or incrementalism based on the last "lesson of history" of U.S. involvement in Korea. In short, Khong utilising the process tracing method, clearly links the decision- making process to the implementation/outcome of U.S. foreign policy.
The weakness of the book is not that it does not consider other views why the U.S. was drawn into the Vietnam owing to "containment", "domino-theory" and U.S. credibility. Rather the author misses out on possible "reconciliation" between the analogical reasoning approach with that of the U.S. national interest approach.
Nevertheless, a must read for those interested in other approaches to explain why U.S. escalated it's involvement in Vietnam apart from the "realist" paradigm and those interested in decision-making processes!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Scot Macdonald on September 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
Khong clearly and succinctly details the role of lessons from history, especially the 1930s, in the decision to escalate the war in Vietnam. His analysis is thorough, relying on archival research. In approach, it is similar to my Rolling the Iron Dice, which analyzes the use of historical analogies by British and American decision makers during four crises in the 1950s: Korea, Iran (1951-3), Suez and Lebanon-Jordan (1958). Both analyze the role of lessons from history, although my work also shows the types of leaders and situations, in which historical analogies are used.Rolling the Iron Dice: Historical Analogies and Decisions to Use Military Force in Regional Contingencies (Contributions in Military Studies)
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