Promise and Power: The Life and Times of Robert McNamara

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9780316782807: Promise and Power: The Life and Times of Robert McNamara

The first comprehensive biography of Robert S. McNamara follows his road to secretary of defense, where, during the 1960s, he shaped nuclear policy and orchestrated U.S. involvement in Vietnam. 40,000 first printing. $40,000 ad/promo. Tour.

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From Publishers Weekly:

The former secretary of Defense and president of the World Bank here breaks a long silence on Vietnam and other matters in the more than 20 interviews that form the basis for freelance journalist Shapley's majestic biography. McNamara explains for the first time why he urged U.S. entry into Vietnam, offers his analysis of mistakes the government made and reveals why he urged American soldiers to fight on after he had decided the war was unwinnable. This major work doesn't confine itself to McNamara as war manager, however; Shapley also explores in impressive depth how McNamara accomplished the makeover of three massive institutions--the postwar Ford Motor Co., the Pentagon (where he reformed the defense budget and policy in positive, enduring ways) and the World Bank, where he helped spread the Green Revolution to small farmers and poor people in the Third World. Shapley goes far in unraveling the complexities of this enigmatic man--his deviousness and ruthless will, his violent emotions, his managerial brilliance and his noble goals. She is not always gentle with her prickly subject, about whom she ultimately delivers this startling verdict: "He is a pivotal figure in the weakening and decline of America, despite the many virtues of the American Century he embodies." Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Shapely, an investigative reporter and author of The Seventh Continent: Antarctica in a Resource Age ( LJ 10/15/85), has crafted a highly readable study of one of the major actors in the recent American dream. This first comprehensive biography of McNamara chronicles his youth and education before focusing on his varied career. Shapley taps a profusion of secondary and primary sources, including her own interviews with McNamara, to track the "whiz kid" from his early days teaching statistical control to Army Air Force officers in World War II through his climb to the presidency of Ford Motor Company, his pivotal role as secretary of defense in shaping America's Vietnam policy, to his impact on development as president of the World Bank. Throughout, Shapley highlights McNamara's commitment to statistical analysis and how his penchant for control affected the institutions and people he touched. Essential for collections supporting contemporary American history, policy analysis, or management studies.
- James Kuhlman, Univ. of Alabama Lib., Tuscaloosa
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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