The Best and the Brightest is David Halberstam’s masterpiece, the defining history of the making of the Vietnam tragedy. Using portraits of America’s flawed. IN , David Halberstam wrote a new introduction for the 20th-anniversary edition of “The Best and the Brightest,” his classic history of the. “A rich, entertaining, and profound reading experience.” — The New York Times “[ The] most comprehensive saga of how America became involved.
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To that end I was reminded of this book by a news report that Steve Bannon was spotted with a copy of the book at an airport.
We think we are in the halls ourselves. Of course, even to this day, it’s somewhat of an open question of which President is most to “blame” for the Vietnam War, depending on which part you’re talking brighhtest and how you define “blame”. The only reason I didn’t rate it as highly as Halberstam’s Korea work – Best and the Snd was written ish years ago, when the where’s and why’s of Vietnam were both very close and very nest to the public mind. People who accurately reported or expressed pessimism about the escalation into war in bother the White House and the military were repeatedly and systematically shunted aside, transferred to worse jobs, or rendered helpless by accusations of being “soft on Communism”.
But what makes this book so valuable is the insight into how arrogance, fear of being seen as weak, and misapplication of past experience led to failure.
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The Best and the Brightest
A major rationale for bombing was to avoid sending in ground troops. Recently Colin Powell answered a NYT book review question by saying that this book is the one he would require President Obama to read. The men who led their country into the disastrous Vietnam war. And once they got America entangled in Vietnam, they mismanaged the war and deceived the American people about it, and left the nation torn asunder by divisions that exist to this day. After publishing two books in the s, Halberstam published three books in the s, four books in the s, and six books in the s.
Review “For anyone who aspires to a position of national leadership, no matter the circumstances of his or her birth, this book should be mandatory reading. It helped me understand more about the similarities between Vietnam and Iraq. David Halberstam April 10, —April 23, was an American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author known for his early work on the Vietnam War and his later sports journalism. Johnson, who, unbriefed, unprepared, and unsure after Kennedy’s assassination, publicly vowed that he wouldn’t “lose” Vietnam the way that Wnd had been “lost”, and thought that if he just had a bit more time and money and men, he could make the hslberstam go away with overwhelming brigbtest, salvaging his Great Society?
It is hard not to notice the preponderance of men in power in the s: In a league of its own. The Monk agrees and replies that oh, yes. The Tet offensive was the final straw.
The Best and the Brightest: David Halberstam: : Books
But all the time the message was consistent — these are the most brilliant people, although in different ways. There are endless sections chronicling the brilliance and acuity of people like Robert McNamara, who could revolutionize vast domains like the auto industry, but were unable to figure out how to get themselves out of the Vietnam trap or even to make anything close to progress in any direction. With the hindsight of 40 years after the book was written, it’s clear that the problem went beyond any particular President, both because our goals were unclear, and because in a sense, the tools of government that each man used did not really belong to him.
Halberstam details how the consequences of this system of thought all contributed bsst, and in a certain way led inevitably toward the eventual tragedy.
He brought his statistical control oriented mind set to Washington. It could not be changed now.
The Best and the Brightest – Wikipedia
With the Viet Cong mortar attack that killed eight Americans and wounded fifty at Pleiku, McNamara and Bundy said the US must retaliate against the North or look hopelessly weak hitting Johnson in a soft spot.
It is disheartening because many of these guys were so smart that they should have and probably did know better than to make the decisions they made. If you only read one tye about this subject, this is the book to read. LBJ carefully hid the actions on Vietnam until after his election inand then, feeling his options as he understood them closed, turned to military escalation, buying into the utter nonsense being sold by the military.
A more severe miscalculation by an American leader would be hard to identify, with some similarity to the one made later by George W. Apr 01, A. As the definitive single-volume answer to that question, this enthralling book has never been superseded.
There was no question that these were the best and the brightest, which all more makes the reader wonder why the US eventually found herself in the quagmire.
I confess I’m still not sure what Powell would expect Obama to get out of it but I can take a guess. Halberstam uses a similar structure in The Best and the Brightest. By Aprilplans were made to increase the troop commitment to 80, Nor would the war be as easy as Korea, where the South Koreans had been an asset to the troops in the rear guard.
The myth, however, was that these then were somehow truly different, that they, as the best and the brightest, heeded what the American public wanted. Quotes that not only stand for the folly of Vietnam, but for the folly of American hubris in general.
Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now. His message is for people to remember that arrogance has no place even or especially among the best and the brightest, for the game will eventually play you. The hidden truths, the low-ball cost estimates and the outright deceits that were made in order to build and maintain support both Johnson’s Great Society domestic program and the Vietnam foreign policy came to a head as both programs lacked the resources needed to succede, and both failed. Men who had gone to the best schools, who had racked up acclaimed careers in industry or finance or the military, who had smoothly ascended through the toughest jungles of the American elite, were unable to conjure a victory against one of the smallest, weakest, and poorest countries in the world.
My takeaway from the book is that every single draft dodger who ever rose up and refused to participate in this immense tragedy should be awarded the National Medal of Freedom, because what our leaders did to the young men who served is one of the great injustices ever wrought upon the people of the United States. Reviewing the political players in Washington DC during the slide, Halberstam begins with a focus on the Kennedy years and how JFK emerged on a promise of change after years of disappointment in leadership … much like Barack Obama would come forward 50 years later.
This skill to impress and advance was well applied in his White House job. This book is cleverly structured, the first half featuring one president and the presidency and the second half the next. We cannot help but feel the compelling power of this narrative. If the true cost of the war were known, LBJ was sure his domestic programs would be rejected. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam.
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Stay in Touch Sign up. Halberstam is a masterful writer and storyteller, and he brings alive the incredibly complex characters who masterminded and pursued the Vietnam war despite evidence and realities which suggested the US could never succeed. This illusion about a dynamic new halbersyam would persist relentlessly through the years.