This book focuses less on the domestic politics behind the Vietnam War and more on the military/operaA great compliment to The Best and the Brightest.
This book focuses less on the domestic politics behind the Vietnam War and more on the military/operational realities than confronted the US military, as well as delving into the corruption of the South Vietnamese regime that the US tried to prop up 18 different ways, coup after coup after coup.
The conclusion of the book is basically that if the Vietnam War was ever winnable, it was no longer winnable after 1965-66. The failure of the LBJ administration and the WWII generation of Army and Air Force officers to understand the true nature of the conflict led to a pointless, protracted war in defense of a hollow, corrupt South Vietnamese regime.
Robert Caro has got to be the best American biographer of the past 50 years. It's sad that he's only turned out 4 books in the last 35 years, but eachRobert Caro has got to be the best American biographer of the past 50 years. It's sad that he's only turned out 4 books in the last 35 years, but each one is so exceptionally researched and well-written.
Master of the Senate is another chapter in Caro's multi-volume study of Lyndon Johnson, focusing on his time in the Senate, specifically his efforts to pass the first Civil Rights bill since Reconstruction. His study of the political dynamics of the Senate in the 1950s, including the entrenched fecklessness of the Republicans and the deep divisions between the conservative (southern & western) democrats and the northeastrern liberal democrats is amazingly informative and insightful. So much of the modern political landscape we are so familiar with today stems from the moments recounted in this book, including the black vote being 90% democrat and the 30+ year republican lock on the (white) southern states.
A great book if you're interested in American politics and the dynamics of power in the federal government. Also, the book is stand alone. You don't have to read the previous two volumes of the Lyndon Johnson series to appreciate it....more
Man, I thought this was going to be a biography of Andrew Jackson. Instead, it's a very complicated, nuanced survey of the political climate in 1820-1Man, I thought this was going to be a biography of Andrew Jackson. Instead, it's a very complicated, nuanced survey of the political climate in 1820-1840s America and how the influence of 'the West' (i.e. the Jacksonian Democrats in Kentucky, Tennessee, and the southern states less reliant on slavery) rocked American politics.
Incredible book, but probably good to read a more run-of-the-mill biography of Jackson (or Henry Clay or John C Calhoun) before tackling this one.
Also, the last 3-4 chapters = what I would call a definitive rebuttal to anyone who as ever claimed the cause of the US Civil War was not slavery.