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As national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy was the prototypical best and brightest Vietnam War policymaker in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Bundy was, according to foreign policy scholar Goldstein, an out-and-out war hawk who again and again demonstrated a willingness, if not an eagerness, to deploy military means in Vietnam. Goldstein worked with Bundy in the year before his death, in 1996, on an uncompleted memoir and retrospective analysis of America's path to war. While drawing on that work in this warts-and-all examination of Bundy's advisory role, this book is something different, containing Goldstein's own conclusions. He painstakingly recounts his subject's role as national security adviser and ponders the complexities of the elusive inner Bundy: for example, the buoyant good humor in the 1960s that seemed unbowed by the weight of difficult strategic decisions. Among the surprising revelations: late in life Bundy came to regret his hawkish ways, although he maintained to the end that the presidents, not their advisers, were primarily responsible for the outcome of the war. Vietnam, he said, was overall, a war we should not have fought. (Nov.)
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An important addition to the literature of the Vietnam War, this analysis examines the man who was the president’s national security advisor from 1961 to 1966. For three decades afterward, Goldstein relates, McGeorge Bundy declined to write a memoir about his role in the decisions that plunged America into that war, but he changed his mind when Robert McNamara published his mea culpa In Retrospect (1995). Unfortunately, Bundy died before the project made much progress; posthumously, Goldstein pulled together a manuscript, but, he reports, Bundy’s widow quashed its publication and decreed its deposition in the archives of the JFK library. Therefore, this work does not derive from Bundy’s memoir; it is Goldstein’s negatively critical consideration of Bundy’s role on Vietnam. Flavored with anecdotes of Goldstein’s interactions with Bundy as his research assistant, the narrative conveys Bundy’s hawkish recommendations to JFK and LBJ, expresses Goldstein’s belief that the former would not have escalated the war as Johnson did, and hints that Bundy before his death might have been preparing a recantation on Vietnam. A vital volume for Vietnam War collections. --Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
Very interesting, made me blue color working class veteran of the Viet Nam era see just how the other side lives.Published 16 days ago by Bill
I am too angry to finish reading the book. I am angry about the intellectual elitism of the Harvard/Yale/East Coast graduates who believe that they know what is "best" for... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Cline
Well written book. Made me feel like I was in the Oval office.
I heard the Obama administration read this book in 08. Read more
A great overview of the decision process of two presidents by an insider. A quick read with enough detail to bring the era back into focus.Published 1 month ago by David Gillooly
Had Kennedy lived, we would have avoided the Vietnam war. This is a truly life and death book to read and understand in order to avoid yet more foolish mistakes in the middle east.Published 2 months ago by D. John Nickel
I've never liked wading through any book that is a morass of words to discover one page that sums up the entire book and it's page 179. Read morePublished 2 months ago by C. Kemp
This is a detailed study of how McGeorge Bundy, who was the equivalent of national security advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, helped steer the country down a disastrous... Read morePublished 3 months ago by R. Louis