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Masters of War

Masters of War
Military Dissent and Politics in the Vietnam Era


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

£ 32.00

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About the Authors
  • Throughout the last decade, defenders of the US 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 US 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

    '… his book has merit, not only as a polemic but as a well-argued case study on how a war should not be conducted. The book has sheer readability.' Defense Analysis

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 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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