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In Retrospect

In Retrospect

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Written by Robert S. McNamaraAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Robert S. McNamara

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 576 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • On Sale: March 19, 1996
  • Price: $18.95
  • ISBN: 978-0-679-76749-7 (0-679-76749-5)
about this book

This new paperback edition of McNamara's controversial memoir includes a new Preface by McNamara and a new Appendix containing examples of the intense debate that erupted upon the book's original publication in 1995. Among the contributions to the Appendix are the New York Times editorial "Mr. McNamara's War," and sixteen other editorials, articles, commentaries, and responses, including the writings of Theodore Draper, Richard Rusk, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Molly Ivins in publications ranging from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, to The Boston Globe, Newsweek, and The New York Review of Books.

McNamara answers in In Retrospect the lingering questions that surround the disastrous episode in American history that was the Vietnam War.  "We of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations who participated in the decisions of Vietnam acted accordingly to what we thought were the principles and traditions of this nation," McNamara writes. "Yet we were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why." His work is both a profoundly revealing history of the fatal assumptions behind the American involvement in the war and a unique insider's account of policy-making at the highest levels of the United States government.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Vintage Edition


1. My Journey to Washington: June 9, 1916-January 20, 1961

2. Early Years: January 19, 1961-August 23, 1963

3. The Fateful Fall of 1963: August 24-November 22, 1963

4. A Time of Transition: November 23, 1963-July 29, 1964

5. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution: July 30-August 7, 1964

6. The 1964 Election and Its Aftermath: August 8, 1964-January 27, 1965

7. The Decision to Escalate: January 28-July 28, 1965

8. The Christmas Bombing Pause, An Unsuccessful Attempt to Move to Negotiations: July 29, 1965-January 30, 1966

9. Trouble Deepens: January 31, 1966-May 19, 1967

10. Estrangement and Departure: May 20, 1967-February 29, 1968

11. The Lessons of Vietnam

Appendix: The Nuclear Risks of the 1960s and Their Lessons for the Twenty-first Century