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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 t ...more
Paperback, 557 pages
Published February 9th 2001 by University of California Press
(first published June 30th 1999)
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Dec 11, 2012 Hotavio rated it 3 of 5 stars
Traditional scholarship and public memory of the Vietnam War associates it with grievous error. Historian Fredrik Logevall takes no exception to this. While many have pondered where in the course of America’s involvement in Vietnam it went wrong, Logevall pinpoints the timeframe. In Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of the Vietnam War, he refers to “the Long ‘64” as a year which America altered its foreign policy from a supporting yet distancing role in Vietnam, to a pol ...more
Well researched and, while somewhat repetitive, well written history of how the US slid into the tragedy of Vietnam. One comes away from this book seeing that the fundamental reason for the misguided escalation of American involvement in the war was Lyndon Johnson's insecurity about being perceived as weak, as the first US president to lose a war. Because of that, more than 1 million Vietnamese and more than 58,000 Americans lost their lives. When it was over, the North Vietnamese got exactly wh ...more
Logevall’s examination utilizes an international perspective. French, German, Japanese, and British policymakers were all convinced that American efforts in the region were doomed (Australia was an exception). Johnson ignored international input. Domestically, he cites American support of LBJ, his overwhelming popularity after defeating Barry Goldwater (the hard line candidate), and the malleability of the American public, who did not yet hold firm opinions on American involvement in Vietnam. In ...more
This is hardly the kind of book one enjoys reading, but should. A clear demonstration of the short sighted, narrow minded, egotistical attitude of our political leadership, and it's hypocritical views of other countries and their ways of living. Why do we (the government) have to keep making the same mistakes over and over again? Are we never going to rid ourselves of the arrogant Anglo Saxon superiority belief?
This should be required reading of any serious student of the war in Southeast Asia. I have a large collection of books on that tragic conflict and without question this is one of the best. Prof Logevall exposes in detail the flawed thinking and incompetence of US administrations when making decisions on Vietnam. When you have finished reading this turn your attention to Embers of War; quite superb.