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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"'This is an inside history of what really happened in Vietnam and why it matters.' …That's the first line of one of the most important books on the early history of the Vietnam War." - The VVA Veteran
"In the flood of books on every aspect of the Vietnam War, this is one that will endure as among the most valuable, accurate, and important." LEWIS SORLEY, author of A Better War
"It is, among other things, a wonderful read, full of detail and drama." GEORGE PACKER, The New Yorker
"If you want to know why Vietnam matters, read this brilliant memoir and ﬁnd out why those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are doomed to make the same mistakes."JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY, co-author of We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young
"Phillips's short chapter on lessons the U.S. should have learned from the Vietnam War should be mandatory reading in Washington, D.C."PUBLISHERS WEEKLY