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Into the Quagmire: Lyndon Johnson and the Escalation of the Vietnam War Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Length: 285 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is an evenhanded, well-documented account of America's deepening involvement in Vietnam during the critical months from November '64 to July '65, when the line between limited and large-scale war was crossed. Freelance writer VanDeMark analyzes the tangle of conflicting pressures confronting President Johnson and his advisers. LBJ comes across here as a haunted, equivocating figure caught in an excruciating dilemma. VanDeMark painstakingly reconstructs from documents, interviews and memoirs a series of dramatic dialogues in the Oval Office, revealing, for example, how adviser George Ball came to stand virtually alone in his passionate opposition to escalation of the war (Clark Clifford eventually became an ally). The author concludes that LBJ lacked the inner strength to overrule the hawkish counsel of Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara, McGeorge Bundy and others, and that his July '65 decision to double the number of ground combat troops in Vietnam was a tragic lapse of statesmanship.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"A fascinating examination of presidential decision-making at the outset of the Vietnam War....A fine and convincing revisionist analysis."--Kirkus Reviews

"Contribute[s] significantly to understanding how Johnson failed in Vietnam....VanDeMark does an excellent job of correlating Johnson's preoccupation with his Great Society with his escalation decisions."--American Historical Review

"A detailed and compelling story....Provides significant and thoughtful lessons for today."--Proceedings (U.S. Naval Institute)

"Brian Van De Mark provides a carefully documented and well-written account of the pressures encountered by President Johnson when he made the fateful escalation decisions from the end of 1964 to the summer of 1965. Van De Mark effectively demonstrates how and why Johnson was influenced during these early stages of the conflict."--Perspectives on Political Science

Product Details

  • File Size: 1305 KB
  • Print Length: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (April 18, 1995)
  • Publication Date: April 18, 1995
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0057UQPQQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #788,446 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Very often the American public has tended to view Lyndon Johnosn as the evil villian who escalated America's involvement in the warr in Vietnam. However, few people, including historians, know how the escalation came about. In this book Brian VanDeMark does not try to justify the decisions that were made between 1964 and 1968, but tries and explain how those decisions came about. VanDeMark also shows how Johnson slowly and reluctantly led the United States deeper into what has often been called the "quagmire" of Vietnam. VanDeMark balmes the American Policy maker's ignorance of the culture and politics of Southeast Asia for the slow deepening of the conflict. VanDeMark gives teh reader a very good view of how this happened by carrying the reader through almost every major decision made by the Johnson administration throughout this time period. Writen in a very readable style the near day-to-day account helps to emphasize the snowball effect of the events. The author uses a good range of source material for this book. THere is a strong reliance on government manuscripts and primary sources of the administration. He also includes oral histories and interviews. It is by using these sources and many quotations that VanDeMark is able to carry the reader through the day-to-day accounts of what happened. This book is very important for anyone interested in the VIetnam war or American foreign policy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The route that the United States took during its long and tortured filled path to the final defeat all started with MACV in the early 60s and was encouraged by both Eisenhower and Kennedy. By the time the South Vietnamese government staged the Diem coup and went on to later lead a faction filled dysfunctional government, the North Vietnamese were in entire 100% support of the VC infrastructure which was completely dominating the villages and hinterland outside the major South Vietnamese cities. This was especially true in the area in South Vietnam which was called the iron triangle.
Brian Van DeMark's thorough and insightful study of how President Johnson using his advisors actually made the fateful decisions which led the United States down the road to perdition. The author shows to the reader that this was not a casual decision which the President made on the QT. On the contrary, Van DeMark shows to one and all that Johnson explored all the actions and scenarios to commit troops from both the nay and yeah sides.
The author shows the feelings and thoughts of McNamara, Rusk, McGeorge Bundy, George Ball and Clark Clifford. Johnson took counsel from them all. He did not do this in one day or one week or in one month. This process took a tortured route that took over six months. Johnson although from the great cowboy state of Texas, was not quick with the trigger. In fact he was quite slow.
We all know he took the route of committing more troops and hence the title of the book "Into the Quagmire, And the Escalation of the Vietnam War." Van DeMark shows us this process and it was truly heartbreaking and tough in coming to these decisions. Almost three million people served in and around Vietnam. Billions of dollars were spent.
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See C.J. Stewart's review below. He said all of it very well. This book isn't to incite controversy. It states fact, the factual information researched that was available to the President in the 18 months leading up to the US finally committing fully to a war in Vietnam. Could it have been prevented by the President following some of the offered advise/opinions of some of his advisors? Did it happen because the President followed the advise/opinion of other of his advisors? Did the President think it through? Had it not happened, what direction would SE Asia have taken then? There is no correct answer. It happened and the clock can't be turned back. Who was right, who was wrong, was there a right or wrong? So very interesting to be there as all of this is unfolds during those critical eighteen months. President Johnson, you'll see a human side of him presented. Do you like him better or worse for his decisions.....and for the reasons behind those decisions...were they personal, political, or patriotic? Doesn't matter anymore. Almost fifty years ago. But so interesting to see how easily we could have taken another direction with Vietnam. Oh well......
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I enjoyed this book and learned a lot about the war that impacted most of my youth. I now have a greater understanding of why and what was done in those early years and how we escalated the number of young service men and women in this war. I also believe we won this war in the end.
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