Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam

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9780520229198: Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam

In one of the most detailed and powerfully argued books published on American intervention in Vietnam, Fredrik Logevall examines the last great unanswered question on the war: Could the tragedy have been averted? His answer: a resounding yes. Challenging the prevailing myth that the outbreak of large-scale fighting in 1965 was essentially unavoidable, Choosing War argues that the Vietnam War was unnecessary, not merely in hindsight but in the context of its time.

Why, then, did major war break out? Logevall shows it was partly because of the timidity of the key opponents of U.S. involvement, and partly because of the staunch opposition of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations to early negotiations. His superlative account shows that U.S. officials chose war over disengagement despite deep doubts about the war's prospects and about Vietnam's importance to U.S. security and over the opposition of important voices in the Congress, in the press, and in the world community. They did so because of concerns about credibility—not so much America's or the Democratic party's credibility, but their own personal credibility.

Based on six years of painstaking research, this book is the first to place American policymaking on Vietnam in 1963-65 in its wider international context using multiarchival sources, many of them recently declassified. Here we see for the first time how the war played in the key world capitals—not merely in Washington, Saigon, and Hanoi, but also in Paris and London, in Tokyo and Ottawa, in Moscow and Beijing.

Choosing War is a powerful and devastating account of fear, favor, and hypocrisy at the highest echelons of American government, a book that will change forever our understanding of the tragedy that was the Vietnam War.

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Review:

When the first American Marines marched into Vietnam in March 1965, historical consensus holds, they were there because there was no alternative. President Johnson's hand had been forced by the right-wing hawks and the Communists. The general public wholeheartedly supported defending South Vietnam, as did our allies in Europe.

That's not really the case, argues Fredrik Logevall, in Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam. His provocative thesis--that Kennedy, Johnson, Rusk, McNamara, and Bundy chose to escalate American involvement when the war could have been avoided--is well supported by careful archival research and newly declassified documents. Logevall focuses on what he calls "The Long 1964"--18 critical months between August 1963 and February 1965, at the end of which President Johnson made the decision to "Americanize" the war. Despite many opportunities to negotiate a settlement, the Kennedy and the Johnson administrations were opposed to early negotiation--in part because they were worried about being seen as "soft on Communism" before the 1964 presidential election. Where this book is most interesting--and, in the long run, most valuable--is in Logevall's careful study of the conflict and American policymaking in international context. Looking at how the war played in London, Paris, Ottawa, Tokyo, Moscow, and Beijing--not just in Hanoi and Washington--reveals that even our allies had grave doubts about the probable outcome of a war. Both our allies and our enemies understood that "the Vietnam conflict's importance derived in large measure from its potential to threaten their own political standing--and their party's standing--at home." Compelling and controversial, Logevall's book is an excellent addition to the literature on the Vietnam War. --Sunny Delaney

From the Inside Flap:

"Masterful. . . . Logevall presents a vivid and tragic portrait of the elements of U.S. decision-making on Vietnam from the beginning of the Kennedy administration through the announcement of the American ground war in July 1965. In the process he reveals a troubling picture of top officials in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations persisting in efforts to boost the fortunes of sucessive governments of South Vietnam, even while they acknowledged that their chances for success were remote. In addition, he places the decision-making squarely in the international context."—Robert D. Schulzinger, author of A Time for War: The United States and Vietnam, 1941-1975

"Stunning in its research and highly sophisticated in its analysis, Choosing War is far and away the best study we have of Lyndon Johnson's escalation of the conflict in Vietnam."—George C. Herring

"In this fine book, Fredrick Logevall offers the first detailed examination of why diplomacy failed to head off the Vietnam War. Grounding himself in documentary research and other sources from several countries, Logevall comes closer than anyone ever has to explaining what happened. His clear writing and deep analysis may well change our understanding of Vietnam as a quagmire."—John Prados, author of The Hidden History of the Vietnam War

"A rising star among a new generation of historians, Fredrik Logevall has written the most important Vietnam book in years. By explaining the international context of that tragic conflict, Choosing War provides startling answers to the question, Why did the war happen? Controversial yet fair, this account challenges the reader to think through John F. Kennedy's and Lydon B. Johnson's individual responsibility for Vietnam. The effect is compelling, unforgettable history."—Timothy Naftali, co-author of "One Hell of a Gamble:" Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964

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Descripción University of California Press, United States, 2001. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In one of the most detailed and powerfully argued books published on American intervention in Vietnam, Fredrik Logevall examines the last great unanswered question on the war: Could the tragedy have been averted? His answer: a resounding yes. Challenging the prevailing myth that the outbreak of large-scale fighting in 1965 was essentially unavoidable, Choosing War argues that the Vietnam War was unnecessary, not merely in hindsight but in the context of its time. Why, then, did major war break out? Logevall shows it was partly because of the timidity of the key opponents of U.S. involvement, and partly because of the staunch opposition of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations to early negotiations. His superlative account shows that U.S. officials chose war over disengagement despite deep doubts about the war s prospects and about Vietnam s importance to U.S. security and over the opposition of important voices in the Congress, in the press, and in the world community. They did so because of concerns about credibility - not so much America s or the Democratic party s credibility, but their own personal credibility.Based on six years of painstaking research, this book is the first to place American policymaking on Vietnam in 1963-65 in its wider international context using multiarchival sources, many of them recently declassified. Here we see for the first time how the war played in the key world capitals - not merely in Washington, Saigon, and Hanoi, but also in Paris and London, in Tokyo and Ottawa, in Moscow and Beijing. Choosing War is a powerful and devastating account of fear, favor, and hypocrisy at the highest echelons of American government, a book that will change forever our understanding of the tragedy that was the Vietnam War. Nº de ref. de la librería AAH9780520229198

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Fredrik Logevall
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Descripción University of California Press, United States, 2001. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In one of the most detailed and powerfully argued books published on American intervention in Vietnam, Fredrik Logevall examines the last great unanswered question on the war: Could the tragedy have been averted? His answer: a resounding yes. Challenging the prevailing myth that the outbreak of large-scale fighting in 1965 was essentially unavoidable, Choosing War argues that the Vietnam War was unnecessary, not merely in hindsight but in the context of its time. Why, then, did major war break out? Logevall shows it was partly because of the timidity of the key opponents of U.S. involvement, and partly because of the staunch opposition of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations to early negotiations. His superlative account shows that U.S. officials chose war over disengagement despite deep doubts about the war s prospects and about Vietnam s importance to U.S. security and over the opposition of important voices in the Congress, in the press, and in the world community. They did so because of concerns about credibility - not so much America s or the Democratic party s credibility, but their own personal credibility. Based on six years of painstaking research, this book is the first to place American policymaking on Vietnam in 1963-65 in its wider international context using multiarchival sources, many of them recently declassified. Here we see for the first time how the war played in the key world capitals - not merely in Washington, Saigon, and Hanoi, but also in Paris and London, in Tokyo and Ottawa, in Moscow and Beijing. Choosing War is a powerful and devastating account of fear, favor, and hypocrisy at the highest echelons of American government, a book that will change forever our understanding of the tragedy that was the Vietnam War. Nº de ref. de la librería AAH9780520229198

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Descripción University of California Press. Paperback. Estado de conservación: new. BRAND NEW, Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam, Fredrik Logevall, In one of the most detailed and powerfully argued books published on American intervention in Vietnam, Fredrik Logevall examines the last great unanswered question on the war: Could the tragedy have been averted? His answer: a resounding yes. Challenging the prevailing myth that the outbreak of large-scale fighting in 1965 was essentially unavoidable, "Choosing War" argues that the Vietnam War was unnecessary, not merely in hindsight but in the context of its time. Why, then, did major war break out? Logevall shows it was partly because of the timidity of the key opponents of U.S. involvement, and partly because of the staunch opposition of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations to early negotiations. His superlative account shows that U.S. officials chose war over disengagement despite deep doubts about the war's prospects and about Vietnam's importance to U.S. security and over the opposition of important voices in the Congress, in the press, and in the world community. They did so because of concerns about credibility - not so much America's or the Democratic party's credibility, but their own personal credibility. Based on six years of painstaking research, this book is the first to place American policymaking on Vietnam in 1963-65 in its wider international context using multiarchival sources, many of them recently declassified. Here we see for the first time how the war played in the key world capitals - not merely in Washington, Saigon, and Hanoi, but also in Paris and London, in Tokyo and Ottawa, in Moscow and Beijing. "Choosing War" is a powerful and devastating account of fear, favor, and hypocrisy at the highest echelons of American government, a book that will change forever our understanding of the tragedy that was the Vietnam War. Nº de ref. de la librería B9780520229198

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