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Papers on the war Paperback – 1972
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This book is the second contribution Daniel Ellsberg made towards an understanding of the U. S. intervention in the Viet Nam war. Ellsberg believed that the war needed both to be resisted and understood. His papers helped to define both U. S. policies and strategies.
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I recommend to get the two books together. "Papers on the War" is sort of an executive summary of the most important and representative of the 7000 pages of the Pentagon Papers, which is of course the Top Secret report on the history of the Vietnam Wars from 1945 - 1968, commissioned by Robert S. McNamara.
"Secrets: A Memoir..." reads like a history book and a political thriller, and traces Mr. Ellsberg's very personal journey from being a US Marine, to working for the Rand Corporation privately researching the Vietnam situation for the Defense Department, and then actually working for various government officials who reported directly to the President on Vietnam. He recreates his horror at concluding how his superiors (and he himself) knew the futility of the war effort, yet did not know how to extricate our country from the war, and continuously lied to the American people. Becoming a voice for the anti-war movement, he takes us through the 1968 and 1972 presidential elections, Watergate and the fall of Nixon.
"Secrets: A Memoir..." is a primer on how power corrupts. It is also an important history of what may be the most important era in modern US history. Lessons abound for today.
"Papers on the War" is a great companion book, and can be used as reference and footnotes to the "Secret..."