Robert S. McNamara is one of modern America's most controversial figures. His opinions, policies, and actions have led to a firestorm of debate, ignited most recently by Errol Morris's Academy Award-winning film, The Fog of War. In the companion book, editors James G. Blight and janet M. Lang use lessons from McNamara's life to examine issues of war and peace in the 20th century. McNamara's career spans some of America's defining eventsfrom the end of World War I, through the course of World War II, and the unfolding of the Cold War in Cuba, Vietnam, and around the world. The Fog of War brings together film transcripts, documents, dialogues, and essays to explore what the horrors and triumphs of the 20th century can teach us about the future.
James G. Blight and Janet M. Lang served as academic advisors for Errol Morris's film. Pioneers in the field of critical oral history, they teach at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Relations. James Blight is the author of more than a dozen books on the recent history of U.S. foreign policy, most recently Sad and Luminous Days: Cuba’s Struggle with the Superpowers after the Missile Crisis (with Philip Brenner); Cuba on the Brink: Castro, the Missile Crisis, and the Soviet Collapse (with David A. Welch); Wilson’s Ghost: Reducing the Risk of Conflict, Killing and Catastrophe in the 21st Century (with Robert S. McNamara); and Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy (with Robert S. McNamara and Robert K. Brigham).
Table of Contents
1 Acknowledgements 2 Authors' Note 3 Prologue: Critical Oral History: Robert McNamara's Road to "The Fog of War" 4 Lesson One: "Empathize with your enemy" 5 Lesson Two: "Rationality will not save us" 6 Lesson Three: "Belief and seeing are both often wrong" 7 Lesson Four: "Proportionality should be a guideline in war" 8 Lesson Five: "Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning" 9 Critical Essays: "I'd rather be damned if I don't" 10 Epilogue: Wilson's Ghost 11 Appendix A: Chronology of the Life and Times of Robert S. McNamara 12 Appendix B: Further Reading and Exploration 13 Credits 14 Acronyms 15 Notes 16 Index 17 About the Authors