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The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War

Hendrickson, Paul

158 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0679427619 / ISBN 13: 9780679427612
Published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1996
Condition: very good, very good
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

427, illus., note on sources, selected bibliography, index, DJ slightly worn and soiled. Inscribed by the author on the half-title page; a second inscription (not from the author) is below the first. The author explores the early life and career of Robert McNamara, through his tenure as Secretary of Defense under Lyndon Johnson. He also tells the stories of five people whose lives were deeply affected by McNamara's role in overseeing the Vietnam War: an artist who tried to assassinate McNamara, a Marine scarred by battle in Vietnam, a Quaker who immolated himself in protest of the war, a nurse who endured a traumatic tour of duty in Vietnam, and a Vietnamese man who was enlisted to fight by the United States and was then left behind when the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam. Bookseller Inventory # 55948

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and...

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, New York

Publication Date: 1996

Book Condition: very good, very good

Edition: First Edition. First? Printing.

About this title


One of the finest books to emerge from the Vietnam experience, The Living and the Dead presents a brilliant study of Robert McNamara, his decision-making during the war, and the way his decisions affected his own life and the lives of five individuals. A monumental work about power, its abuse, and its victims, this meticulously researched, beautifully written, explosive, and passionate book is often in conflict with McNamara's version of events. First serial in the Washington Post. 8 photos.


This book is another worthy step in the 1000- mile trek of trying to figure out what the Vietnam War meant in human terms. (The richest vein struck in this effort thus far still has to be Gloria Emerson's Winners and Losers.) Hendrickson spent most of a decade putting together the story of the war in the lives of Robert McNamara and five less fancy participants in it--a combat Marine who once was on the cover of Life, an Army nurse, the scion of an upper-crust Vietnamese family, a Quaker who set fire to himself outside McNamara's Pentagon office window in 1965, and an artist who, in 1972, tried to throw McNamara over the side of the Martha's Vineyard ferry. Hendrickson's efforts to generate a sense of his characters interacting on a cosmic stage too often flirt with bathos, but his way with the characters themselves is undeniably powerful.

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Founded and operated by trained historians, Ground Zero Books, Ltd., serves the book collector, the scholar, and institutions. We focus on the individual, and pride ourselves on our personal service. Please contact us with your wants, as we have many books not yet listed in our database.

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