The Making of a Quagmire: America and Vietnam During the Kennedy Era

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9780742560079: The Making of a Quagmire: America and Vietnam During the Kennedy Era

Pulitzer-prize winning author David Halberstam's eyewitness account provides a riveting narrative of how the United States created a major foreign policy disaster for itself in a faraway land it knew little about. In the introduction to this edition, historian Daniel J. Singal supplies crucial background information that was unavailable in the mid-1960s when the book was written. With its numerous firsthand recollections of life in the war zone, The Making of a Quagmire penetrates to the essence of what went wrong in Vietnam. Although its focus is the Kennedy era, its analysis of the blunders and misconceptions of American military and political leaders holds true for the entire war.

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About the Author:

David Halberstam (1934–2007) was the author of 20 books, the last 14 of which have been national best-sellers. His most recent book, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, is about the Chinese entry into the Korean War. He was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting in Vietnam and was a member of the elective Society of American Historians.

Review:

For all the legions of books published on the Vietnam War, none surpasses one of the earliest and most prescient—David Halberstam's The Making of a Quagmire. Halberstam's shrewd observations of the complexities of Vietnamese politics and the obstacles the U.S. faced early in achieving its goals deeply inform the entire book. A brilliant study that has lost none of its power despite the history that unfolded after its publication, Halberstam's book deserves to be read again and again. (Ellen Fitzpatrick)

Few journalists did more to educate Americans about the harsh realities of the Vietnam war than David Halberstam. The Making of a Quagmire offers numerous insights into the conflict between the American press and the U.S. government that began in those years and ultimately played a major role in the war. The book is a valuable introduction to Vietnam in the era of John F. Kennedy and Ngo Dinh Diem. (George C. Herring)

As it did in 1965, Halberstam's book will provoke vigorous discussion. Readers will marvel at how the United States allowed itself to be so misled in South Vietnam and will use the book to make connections to more recent events in the Middle East. (Robert Dallek)

Halberstam's wartime work will last not just because of its quality and its importance but because it established a new mode of journalism, one with which Americans are now so familiar that it's difficult to remember that someone had to invent it. (Packer, George)

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David Halberstam, Daniel J. Singal (Editor)
Published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (2007)
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