From Publishers Weekly
Beginning in 1954, Phillips spent almost 10 years doing undercover and pacification work for the CIA and the U.S. Agency for International Development in South Vietnam. In the high-level power struggle over America's Vietnam policy. Phillips, then a government adviser, was a strong proponent of helping build a stable democratic government that the South Vietnamese would willingly fight to preserve from the Communist North—and a vocal opponent of sending in American combat troops. In this sober and informed memoir, Phillips provides a fascinating look at the Kennedy and Johnson administrations' refusal to give more than lip service to pacification, with revealing portraits of such figures as the singular Maj. Gen. Edward Lansdale, South Vietnamese Premier Ngo Dinh Diem, President Kennedy and Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara and other prominent officials. Phillips states firmly that those best and brightest, especially McNamara, exhibited poor judgment, bureaucratic prejudice, and personal hubris as they steered Vietnam War policy on a disastrous course. Phillips's short chapter on lessons the U.S. should have learned from the Vietnam War should be mandatory reading in Washington, D.C. Maps. (Oct. 15)
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About the Author
Rufus Phillips became a member of the Saigon Military Mission in 1954 and the following year served as the sole adviser to two Vietnamese army pacification operations, earning the CIA's Intelligence Medal of Merit for his work. He later worked as a CIA civilian case officer in Vietnam and Laos, then joined the U.S. Agency for International Development's Saigon Mission to lead its counterinsurgency efforts. In 1964 he became a consultant for USAID and the State Department and served as an adviser to Vice President Hubert Humphrey. He lives in Arlington, VA.