The Best and the Brightest Pocket Book – January 1, 1973
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- ASIN : B0024CJ4UE
- Publisher : Fawcett Columbine (January 1, 1973)
- Best Sellers Rank: #9,241,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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David Halberstam (1934-2007) was a journalist and author who reported from Vietnam for the New York Times in the early 1960s. He was one of a group of journalists (including Neil Sheehan and Peter Arnett, among others) who earned the ire of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations for his reporting of what he viewed as the truth about Vietnam – that America was getting itself involved in a conflict it couldn’t win. Halberstam’s reporting from Vietnam earned him a Pulitzer Prize in 1964.
As Halberstam explains in his preface to “The Best and the Brightest,” he spent three years researching and writing the book. He intended his title to be ironic, not literal. The “Best and the Brightest” were leaders who were considered America’s elite – John F. and Robert F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, McGeorge and William Bundy, George Kennan, George Ball, Clark Clifford, Walt Rostow, John McCone, and others. They were mostly graduates from Ivy League schools, many with Ph.D.’s; men of keen intellect and supposed prodigious management and leadership skills. Men who prided themselves on straight talk. And yet, these men slowly and steadily entangled the United States in a war on the Asian mainland that they knew, from both the warnings they received and from bitter experience, they had little chance of winning. And once they got America entangled in Vietnam, they mismanaged the war and deceived the American people about it, and left the nation torn asunder by divisions that exist to this day.
I don’t necessarily agree with all Halberstam’s judgments and conclusions in “The Best and the Brightest,” but I do think he made a powerful argument that seems to be largely vindicated in the four decades since the end of the Vietnam War. I believe “The Best and the Brightest” is simply the best book ever written about America’s involvement in Vietnam. If you only read one book about this subject, this is the book to read. Most highly recommended.
"The Best and the Brightest" is an excellent work, deserving of the Pulitzer Prize awarded to Mr. Halberstam.
Top reviews from other countries
In particular I really liked the background on the ‘loss of China’, and its ramifications on the State Departnent, McCarthyism and US strategy towards communism - and the erroneous belief that all SE Asian communist nations were extended arms of Moscow, rather than each separate movement being indigenous.
An excellent book.