David Halberstam's masterpiece, the defining history of the making of the Vietnam tragedy, with a new Foreword by Senator John McCain. "A rich, entertaining, and profound reading experience."--The New York Times Using portraits of America' s flawed policy makers and accounts of the forces that drove them, The Best and the Brightest reckons magnificently with the most important abiding question of our country's recent history: Why did America become mired in Vietnam, and why did we lose? As the definitive single-volume answer to that question, this enthralling book has never been superseded. It is an American classic. Praise for The Best and the Brightest "The most comprehensive saga of how America became involved in Vietnam. . . . It is also the Iliad of the American empire and the Odyssey of this nation's search for its idealistic soul. The Best and the Brightest is almost like watching an Alfred Hitchcock thriller."--The Boston Globe "Deeply moving . . . We cannot help but feel the compelling power of this narrative. . . . Dramatic and tragic, a chain of events overwhelming in their force, a distant war embodying illusions and myths, terror and violence, confusions and courage, blindness, pride, and arrogance."--Los Angeles Times "A fascinating tale of folly and self-deception . . . [An] absorbing, detailed, and devastatingly caustic tale of Washington in the days of the Caesars."--The Washington Post Book World "Seductively readable . . . It is a staggeringly ambitious undertaking that is fully matched by Halberstam's performance. . . . This is in all ways an admirable and necessary book."--Newsweek "A story every American should read."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The book is rather lengthy and yet does not cover the events following Nixon's election in 1968, which is a shame.
Despite this, however, the 'Best and the Brightest' is one of my favourite books and I have since bought other titles by the author and found them excellent, if not up to quite the same standard.
Belongs on the shelf next to 'Bright Shining Lie', 'Fire in the Lake', and Karnow's 'Vietnam: a History'. First class.
by Viet Thanh Nguyen and other books, I wanted to learn more about the involvement started and why it was a failure. Unfortunately, it is another tale of how the government lied to the public and refused to listen to people in Viet Nam how poorly the war was going and that the government in South Viet Nam was weak as was the army. The title is ironic because JFK and LBJ had gathered the best and brightest, but had failed to see through the failures of the policy and ignoring the truth. The following is a quote from another review the explains the book better than I can: Halberstam gives us the inside story of how America entrapped itself in the Viet Nam War. He shows how the legacy of McCarthyism and 1940’s politics over China left a decimated State Department and influenced JFK’s and LBJ’s thinking. He details the many times JFK and others who doubted the war altered their positions out of fear of being seen as soft. He shows how the arrogance and overconfidence of Kennedy’s team and subsequently Johnson’s led the US into war. He takes us through the constant escalation ending with the Tet offensive of 1968 and the fall of the façade of competence, the public’s realization that its government, as well as the war, was lost and out of control. Along the way we learn the backgrounds, motivations and impact of key figures: Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, John Paton Davies, McGeorge Bundy, William Bundy, Walt Rostow, Dean Acheson, George Ball, Averill Harriman, Clark Clifford, Roger Hilsman, John McNaughton, Maxwell Taylor, Paul Harkins, William Westmoreland, Robert Kennedy and of course JFK and LBJ.