A couple of weeks ago I said I was going to purchase the book Dereliction of Duty by H. R. McMaster and invited others to do the same. I proposed something like a mini book club where participants could discuss the book as they read it. Blackirish took me up on my offer and then surprised when he decided to start reading the book sooner than expected -- by about a month. I got my copy earlier this week, finished reading a novel yesterday and started a different book expecting to get to Dereliction after that. I just hit the reset button and am starting the McMaster's book today.
So here is the thread for the discussion.
Here is a little info about the book:
Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam is a book written by then Major, currently National Security Advisor Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, that presents a case indicting former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his principal civilian and military advisers for losing the Vietnam War. The book was written as part of McMaster's Ph.D. thesis at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
McMaster blamed leaders in Washington for losing the Vietnam War, writing:The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of The New York Times, or on the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C., even before Americans assumed sole responsibility for the fighting in 1965 and before they realized the country was at war. . . . [It was] a uniquely human failure, the responsibility for which was shared by President Johnson and his principal military and civilian advisors.
With his book Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam, (HarperCollins, New York, 1997, $27.50), Major H.R. McMaster, a U.S. Army officer, Gulf War combat veteran and former history teacher at the U.S. Military Academy has provided a masterful examination of the roots of the Vietnam War. This valuable work examines the U.S. government’s “arrogance, weakness, lying in pursuit of self-interest [and] abdication of responsibility to the American people” during the 196365 period when the foundation for the war was being laid.
Begun in 1992 while he was working on his doctorate in history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, McMaster’s work is based on an exhaustive study of “the thousands of documents that had previously been unavailable…interviews with those close to the decision-making process, taped meetings and telephone conversations, and oral histories and memoirs of top civilian and military officials.” The result of his research is a readable and meticulously documented history of how the Vietnam War was lost even before it began.