Biblio Files (takingadayoff)'s Reviews > Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War

Most Dangerous by Steve Sheinkin
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it was amazing

Although I was in school when Watergate and the Pentagon Papers were big stories, I was only beginning to be politically aware. In fact, I spent many afternoons after school watching the Watergate Hearings broadcast live on TV. Even so, I have always been unclear on exactly what the link was between the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate break-in, among other aspects of the complicated stories.

Steve Sheinkin does a fantastic job of describing the events in a step by step fashion, so that the whole convoluted thing actually makes sense. It's written for middle school aged kids, about the same age as I was at the time of the events. It's crystal clear and exciting as well. For much of the book it follows the actions of Daniel Ellsberg, a government analyst who slowly shifted from supporting the Vietnam War as a necessary war against communism to opposing the war as a hopeless cause that was killing thousands of Vietnamese civilians and American soldiers. He discovered that the architects of the war, beginning with Dwight Eisenhower, had realized early on that Communist North Vietnam could only be defeated with total war, they continued to fight a halfhearted war that achieved nothing. Lyndon Johnson's Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, was replaced by Johnson when McNamara dared to voice these concerns.

The story of Ellsberg's decision to make public the top secret documents that revealed this inside knowledge is the stuff of spy stories made even more thrilling by being factual. Sheinkin wraps it up by bringing the issues central to the Vietnam War crisis up to the present day story of Edward Snowden leaking classified information to journalists.

Highly recommended to young students as well as their parents and grandparents.
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Reading Progress

October 5, 2015 – Started Reading
October 5, 2015 – Shelved
October 10, 2015 – Finished Reading

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