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The War Council: McGeorge Bundy, The NSC, And Vietnam

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Was the Vietnam War unavoidable? Historians have long assumed that ideological views and the momentum of events made American intervention inevitable. By examining the role of McGeorge Bundy and the National Security Council, Andrew Preston demonstrates that policymakers escalated the conflict in Vietnam in the face of internal opposition, external pressures, and a continu Was the Vietnam War unavoidable? Historians have long assumed that ideological views and the momentum of events made American intervention inevitable. By examining the role of McGeorge Bundy and the National Security Council, Andrew Preston demonstrates that policymakers escalated the conflict in Vietnam in the face of internal opposition, external pressures, and a continually failing strategy. Bundy created the position of National Security Adviser as we know it today, with momentous consequences that continue to shape American foreign policy. Both today's presidential supremacy in foreign policy and the contemporary national security bureaucracy find their origins in Bundy's powers as the first National Security Adviser and in the ways in which he and his staff brought about American intervention in Vietnam. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson were not enthusiastic about waging a difficult war in pursuit of murky aims, but the NSC's bureaucratic dexterity and persuasive influence in the Oval Office skewed the debate in favor of the conflict. In challenging the prevailing view of Bundy as a loyal but quietly doubting warrior, Preston also revises our understanding of what it meant--and means--to be a hawk or a dove. "The War Council" is an illuminating and compelling story with two inseparable themes: the acquisition and consolidation of power; and how that power is exercised.


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Was the Vietnam War unavoidable? Historians have long assumed that ideological views and the momentum of events made American intervention inevitable. By examining the role of McGeorge Bundy and the National Security Council, Andrew Preston demonstrates that policymakers escalated the conflict in Vietnam in the face of internal opposition, external pressures, and a continu Was the Vietnam War unavoidable? Historians have long assumed that ideological views and the momentum of events made American intervention inevitable. By examining the role of McGeorge Bundy and the National Security Council, Andrew Preston demonstrates that policymakers escalated the conflict in Vietnam in the face of internal opposition, external pressures, and a continually failing strategy. Bundy created the position of National Security Adviser as we know it today, with momentous consequences that continue to shape American foreign policy. Both today's presidential supremacy in foreign policy and the contemporary national security bureaucracy find their origins in Bundy's powers as the first National Security Adviser and in the ways in which he and his staff brought about American intervention in Vietnam. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson were not enthusiastic about waging a difficult war in pursuit of murky aims, but the NSC's bureaucratic dexterity and persuasive influence in the Oval Office skewed the debate in favor of the conflict. In challenging the prevailing view of Bundy as a loyal but quietly doubting warrior, Preston also revises our understanding of what it meant--and means--to be a hawk or a dove. "The War Council" is an illuminating and compelling story with two inseparable themes: the acquisition and consolidation of power; and how that power is exercised.

37 review for The War Council: McGeorge Bundy, The NSC, And Vietnam

  1. 4 out of 5

    Frank Kelly

    I have read three or four books about McGeorge Bundy's National Security Council. Andrew Preston's book is perhaps the most academic -- and in many ways, insightful -- of Bundy's tenure and the changes that took place not only to the NSC but to the entire foreign policy/national security policy making apparatus during the Johnson Administration. Preston focuses heavily on the structure of the NSC and less on the personality of Bundy and Johnson. Clearly, understanding the NSC of this time is cri I have read three or four books about McGeorge Bundy's National Security Council. Andrew Preston's book is perhaps the most academic -- and in many ways, insightful -- of Bundy's tenure and the changes that took place not only to the NSC but to the entire foreign policy/national security policy making apparatus during the Johnson Administration. Preston focuses heavily on the structure of the NSC and less on the personality of Bundy and Johnson. Clearly, understanding the NSC of this time is critical to understanding both Democratic foreign policy as well as how the machinations of government structures can end up driving strategy instead of providing the means to implement strategy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Larry Roberts

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    Rob

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    Salt344

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    Tiana Taliep

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    Ben

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    Christian

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    Michael Chornesky

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    David

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    Kelvin Yudianto

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    Barry J. Mann

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    Chriznatch

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    Jim Ryan

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    Bobby

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    Rkq

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    Lawrence

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    Alejandra

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    Deon Burchett

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    Mike Koplovsky

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    Mark

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    Jon

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    Dries Glorieux

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    Sean Lynch

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    John Gazzelli

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    Sean Moore

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    Danielle Oxford

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    Stein-Ivar

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    Raphael

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    Ivan Khokhlov

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    Matthew Sender

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  36. 5 out of 5

    Mitch Troop

  37. 4 out of 5

    Diana

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