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Masters of War

Masters of War
Military Dissent and Politics in the Vietnam Era

$51.00 (G)

  • Date Published: February 1997
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521599405

$ 51.00 (G)

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About the Authors
  • Throughout the past decade, defenders of the U.S. role in Vietnam have argued that America's defeat was not the result of an illegitimate intervention or military shortcomings, but rather a failure of will because national leaders, principally Lyndon B. Johnson, forced the troops to "fight with one hand tied behind their backs." In this volume, Robert Buzzanco disproves this theory by demonstrating that political leaders, not the military brass, pressed for war; that American policymakers always understood the problems and peril of war in Indochina; and that civil-military acrimony and the political desire to defer responsibility for Vietnam helped lead the United States into the war. For the first time, these crucial issues of military dissent, interservice rivalries, and civil-military relations and politics have been tied together to provide a cogent and comprehensive analysis of the U.S. role in Vietnam.

    • Shows responsibility of JFK on Vietnam
    • For first time, tells story of military dissent in Vietnam (goes well beyond Sheehan's work on John Paul Vann)
    • Shows that war was lost on the ground in Vietnam, not because of politicians or anti-war movement at home
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The author has written an interesting and thought-provoking account of the relationship between civilian policy makers and their counterparts in the military during the Vietnam War." Pacific Affairs

    "Buzzanco has written a bold, provocative book that challenges many assumptions. Based on judicious research in primary and secondary sources, Masters of War is a mandatory read for anyone interested in the military history of the Vietnam War." Houston Chronicle

    "Buzzanco is particularly interesting on the views of military dissenters, including senior generals, who opposed either the war itself or the way the United States chose to wage it....there is much to be learned here." Foreign Affairs

    "This is a brilliantly argued account that tells us who was responsible for what in Vietnam. It challenges some of our basic assumptions." Seymour Hersh, author of My Lai Four: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath

    "A diligently researched and thought-provoking contribution to the literature of Vietnam." Kirkus Reviews

    "This ambitious book sweeps across the American military's relationship to the wars in Indochina and Vietnam. Drawing on an impressive range of primary sources, Buzzanco analyzes the military's view of the war, differences among the sevices, and civil-military relations." Journal of Military History

    "No serious student of the Vietnam War can afford to miss this challenging and superbly researched book....Presents the most complete and nuanced account of the U.S. military's attitudes and actions toward Vietnam during the years 1950-1968...." Political Science Quarterly

    "This work provides new insight on dissent within the ranks of the American military concerning policy and strategy during the warin Southeast Asia....should be examined by students and scholars...." History

    "Masters of War will be most useful to those who already know a good dea about U.S. policy in Vietnam; they will find much that is new and significant....." Edwin E. Moise, Journal of Asian Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 1997
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521599405
    • length: 404 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Prologue to tragedy: US military opposition to intervention in Vietnam, 1950–1954
    3. Preparing for and avoiding war: military affairs and politics in Vietnam and the United States, 1955–1960
    4. Pinning down the president: JFK, the military, and political manoeuvering over Vietnam, January–October 1961
    5. The best and worst of times: the US war against Vietnam, October 1961–November 1963
    6. 'Seeing things through Vietnam': LBJ, the military, and the growing U.S. commitment to Vietnam, November 1963–December 1964
    7. Hope for the best, expect the worst: US ground troops enter the war in Vietnam, January–July 1965
    8. War on three fronts: US forces vs. the VC, Westmoreland vs. the marine, and the military leaders vs. the White House, July 1965–December 1966
    9. 'The platform of false prophets is crowded': public hope and private despair in Vietnam, 1967
    10. The myth of the Tet: military failure and the politics of war
    11. Conclusion: bringing it all back home

  • Author

    Robert Buzzanco, University of Houston

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