In Retrospect

Books on Agent Orange Dioxin and the Vietnam War

In Retrospect : The Tragedy and Lessons of Viet Nam

By: Robert S. McNamara

Publisher: Vintage Books; 

Pages: 518 pages

Publication: Hardback / (March 19, 1996)

Edition: 1st edition .

ISBN: 0-8129-2523-8 | 978-0679767497

The #1 national bestseller–an indispensable document for anyone interested in the Vietnam War.

McNamara’s controversial book tells the inside and personal story of America’s descent into Vietnam from a unique point of view, and is one of the most enlightening books about government ever written. This new edition features a new Foreword by McNamara. of photos. (Military History)

McNamara, Secretary of Defense from 1961 to 1967 under both presidents Kennedy and Johnson, has remained silent about U.S. policy toward Vietnam until now.

This memoir reveals a decent, loyal, and able man who struggled to remain loyal to the president and yet to get the United States out of Vietnam.

When McNamara left office, 15,979 Americans had been killed in Viet Nam; by the time the United States left Vietnam, the number stood at over 58,000. McNamara’s recollections are put to rigorous testing by his junior author, VanDeMark, who checked them against the now-declassified written and taped records of the period.

Publicly perceived as a “hawk,” McNamara documents his attempts from 1966 on to find a way for the United States to exit from the war. The culmination of his effort is a May 19, 1967 memorandum to LBJ, calling for U.S. withdrawal. President Johnson never sent a reply. McNamara reveals that “I do not know to this day, whether I quit or was fired.”

At any rate, McNamara left the Pentagon to begin a successul ten-year term as president of the World Bank. In looking back, he holds that “we sought to do the right thing…but in my judgement hindsight proved us wrong.” McNamara’s unpretentious, genuine, and touching memoir should contribute further to healing the wounds of the Vietnam experience; it belongs in all public and academic libraries.?James Rhodes, Luther Coll., Decorah, Ia.


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