Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam

Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam

by H. R. McMaster

Paperback(REPRINT)

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Overview

"The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times or the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C."
—H. R. McMaster (from the Conclusion)

Dereliction Of Duty is a stunning analysis of how and why the United States became involved in an all-out and disastrous war in Southeast Asia. Fully and convincingly researched, based on transcripts and personal accounts of crucial meetings, confrontations and decisions, it is the only book that fully re-creates what happened and why. McMaster pinpoints the policies and decisions that got the United States into the morass and reveals who made these decisions and the motives behind them, disproving the published theories of other historians and excuses of the participants.

A page-turning narrative, Dereliction Of Duty focuses on a fascinating cast of characters: President Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, General Maxwell Taylor, McGeorge Bundy and other top aides who deliberately deceived the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the U.S. Congress and the American public.

McMaster’s only book, Dereliction of Duty is an explosive and authoritative new look at the controversy concerning the United States involvement in Vietnam.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060929084
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/08/1998
Series: Harper Perennial
Edition description: REPRINT
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 159,978
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

H. R. McMaster is National Security Adviser and a 1984 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and taught numerous command and staff positions in armored and cavalry units. He has served as Director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, and Deputy Commanding General, Futures, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, in addition to previous postings as Commanding General, Ft. Benning Maneuver Center of Excellence, and Director of the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-Shafafiyat at the International Security Assistance Force headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. During the Gulf War, he commanded Eagle Troop, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, in combat against Iraq’s Republican Guard.

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Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dereliction of Duty is a truly outstanding work. Thoroughly researched and documented. As a former infantry officer who served from 1966 to 1969 (and still a hawk)I believe Johnson and McNamara should have gone to prison for their actions, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff court martialed. They were not fit to serve. Sadly, the same poor leadership exists today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
So shocking you will wonder how the Vietnam war ever really started. You will then see how secretly it was planned by LBJ, McNamara, and the rest of the incompetants, including the cowardly Joint Chiefs of Staff who had no backbone to stand up and fight against what was innately wrong from the start. This is the sixth book I have read on Vietnam and what a shocker....Do not take for truth what any White House politician says..ALWAYS question their motivations for what they do and say, and then VOTE your conscience when the time comes, and hopefully our world will never experience another LBJ or McNamara again.
prussblue10 More than 1 year ago
I kept it on my to-read list for quite a few years. That said it is an excellent but sad assessment of the truth. What LBJ, McNamara, and M. Taylor (there were cohorts) did is unconscionable. It brings back too many memories and comrades lost.
MJT More than 1 year ago
The More Things Change... I think H.R. McMaster's book is very well researched, informative and a real eye opener! I say eye opener because I believe he has done a very good job at revealing how doomed our intervention in Vietnam was because President Johnson's priority clearly focused on his "domestic" program and McNamara seeking to stifle any military advice regarding Vietnam that would derail that effort. Unfortunately, the military leaders of the time, specifically, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chose to remain silent and "go along, to get along." President Johnson literally lied to the Congress and the American people about Vietnam, McNamara knew this and helped cover the truth and the military "Chiefs" kept quiet...the real victims were those who faithfully served in Vietnam and the over 58,000 who died for a mis-guided effort from the very Top! As I read this book, I couldn't help but think of the old say' in, "the more things change, the more they stay the same" as I contrast the lies and deceit of the bureaucrats of the Johnson-era with the bogus activities occurring today... in 2018! After all, we have a phoney special consul (Robert Mueller) seeking to link our current President, Donald Trump, to "Russian Collusion,” a highly politicized FBI spending taxpayer money undermining our own President and a deeply divided country...this book reminds me that the lies and deceit of politics which existed during the Johnson years and Vietnam, still are sadly very much a part of our political system today!! However, don't let the negativity I mention deter you from reading this book because it is a perspective all American's should be exposed to!!!
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As a Vietnam vet, I should have read this book long before now. It confirmed what I suspected during my time in country and later in the military. The book explains why the first gulf war was conducted in the manner it was, and serves as a warning to us concerning todays contingency operations. If american lives are involved, fight to win and win quickly.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
There were important reasons McNamara and company ignored the Joint Chiefs... The Air force was bombing the hell out of north vietam and the ho chi minh trail to no avail. This went on for 3 years. The Joint Chiefs refused to believe the common sense that the U.S. was not going to defeat an extremely dedicated guerrila enemy (in their homeland) in a war of attrition. Mcnamara knew this and ultimately got fired for being a pessimist. Johnson and McNamara were trying to appease the military command in vietnam the best they could while basically protecting the southern government while trying to reach a diplomatic solution with the stubborn norhern government. Easier said than done... The demands by the joint chiefs could have easily expanded the war further into Indochina involving both Communist China and the U.S.S.R. Anyone that understands the Vietnam war should understand that on a international level it was political conflict more than a military one, therefore it needed a political solution. Don't Believe me... just look at Iraq. How are we gonna win that war militarily??... Maybe the joint chiefs will know.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a Vietnam Veteran, of the many books written on the subject, there have been only a handfull that MUST be read to understand Vietnam. This book is one of them. LBJ and his gang should have ended up in the dock at the Hague being tried for war crimes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Extremely academic and logical prosecution of those who are to be held responsible for the failure of the Vietnam War. Well researched and thoroughly laid out, the book's premise must be considered by any future author or historian covering virtually any aspect of the Vietnam War.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a must read for anyone interested in LBJ, his terms in office, McNamara and our nation's manipulation into a situation which could have been avoided in Vietnam. Hindsight is 20/20 but it looks like we still haven't learned.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This stellar work almost brings one to tears of frustration as they discover the apathy and cowardice with which LBJ, his advisors, and to a lesser extent the Joint Chiefs, approached the conflict in Vietnam. The callousness Johnson and McNamara displayed as they sent American troops to die in a war they had no intention of prosecuting to the fullest made me sick with rage. Furthermore, the collective refusal of the Joint Chiefs to put intraservice rivalries aside and condemn a strategy which they knew could only lead to failure was a betrayal of the soliders under their command. 'Dereliction of Duty' shows why politicians should be prevented from meddling in military strategy, and reminds us that we must take great care with foreign policy decisions that could get American boys killed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Save your money. This book is not well written and has a right wing agenda.