Oral histories for many important figures of the 1960s have been collected by the LBJ Presidential Library. Some of these have been placed online at an Oral History Collection Web page at the LBJ Presidential Library. Far more of them have been placed online in the Lyndon B. Johnson Oral History collection at the Miller Center for Public Affairs, University of Virginia. If you are hoping to find online an oral history not specifically mentioned in the listing below, check the Lyndon B. Johnson Oral History collection first; its holdings are by far the most complete. But if you actually go to the reading room at the LBJ Presidential Library, you will find a more complete collection than either of the ones online.
In the listing that follows, links to oral histories on the two web sites have been mixed.
Harold Brown (Secretary of the Air Force)
Ellsworth Bunker, U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam, 1967-1973
Chester Cooper part 1, part 2, and part 3. This deals with Cooper's work during the Johnson administration, on the NSC staff and later as as assistant to W. Averell Harriman, not with his career at the CIA before that.
Elbridge Durbrow (U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam, 1957-1961)
Alain C. Enthoven (Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Analysis)
William S. Gaud. Deputy Administrator (1964-66) and Administrator (1966- ) of the Agency for International Development. There is a moderate amount of discussion of programs in Indochina.
Roswell Gilpatric. Deputy Secretary of Defense during the Kennedy Administration.
Arthur J. Goldberg. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, 1965-1968. An opponent of the war.
Phil G. Goulding, Deputy Assistant (1965-67) and Assistant (1967-69) secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.
Nicholas Katzenbach, part 1 (deals with his service in the Justice Department, not Vietnam), part 2 (he replaced George Ball as Under Secretary of State in October 1966), part 3 (quite a bit about the peace process).
Harry C. McPherson, Jr. Special Assistant and Counsel to the President, 1965-1966; Special Counsel to the President, 1966-1969.
Henry D. Owen, vice chairman (1962-66) and chairman (1966-69) of the State Department's Policy Planning Council, which didn't deal much with Vietnam
Stanley Resor, Secretary of the Army
William H. Sullivan, U.S. Ambassador to Laos, among other things.
William Trueheart (arrived in Saigon in October 1961 as deputy chief of mission)
Senators and Representatives
L. H. Fountain, Democrat of North Carolina, was a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He was quite hawkish, arguing that U.S. military action in Vietnam was too narrowly limited.
Ernest Gruening (one of the two senators who voted against the Tonkin Gulf Resolution in 1964)
Thruston Morton. Senator Morton (Republican of Kentucky) was fairly conservative even by the standards of the Republican Party, but he decided that the Vietnam War was unwinnable, and that the United States should therefore pull out.
Karl E. Mundt, Republican senator from South Dakota, 1949-1972
Margaret Chase Smith. A Republican from Maine, she was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate, and a strong supporter of the War in Vietnam.
Harry Ashmore. Ashmore visited Hanoi in January 1967, as a private citizen but travelling with the permission of the State Department, and talked with Ho Chi Minh.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served on the Policy Planning Council at the State Department 1966-67, but was not a career State Department man.
David E. Lilienthal. In 1966, President Johnson asked him to undertake a major study to plan for the postwar reconstruction of Vietnam.
Rudy Abramson, Spanning the Century: The Life of W. Averell Harriman, 1891-1986. New York: Morrow, 1992. Harriman played an important role in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.
John Acacia, Clark Clifford: The Wise Man of Washington. University Press of Kentucky, 2009. 456 pp. Clifford, an influential Washington lawyer when not directly in government, became Chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board in 1963 and then Secretary of Defense in 1968. (See also autobiography, below.)
Carl B. Albert, Little Giant: The Life and Times of Speaker Carl Albert. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990. x, 388 pp. House Majority Leader, Speaker of the House; a moderate Democrat.
David L. Anderson, ed., Shadow on the White House: Presidents and the Vietnam War, 1945-1975. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1993.
Dale Andrade, "Westmoreland was right: learning the wrong lessons from the Vietnam War." Small Wars and Insurgencies, 19:2 (June 2008), pp. 145-181.
Frank E. Armbruster, Raymond D. Gastil, Herman Kahn, William Pfaff, and Edmund Stillman, Can we Win in Vietnam? New York: Praeger, 1968. xiv, 427 pp. Authors were members of the staff of the Hudson Institute.
LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer, Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church. Pullman, Washington: Washington State University Press, 1994. xvi, 749 pp. Church (Democrat of Idaho) was one of the important opponents of the Vietnam War in the U.S. Senate. The full text is available online if you browse the Internet through an institution that is affiliated with netLibrary.
Harvey Averch, The Rhetoric of War: Language, Argument, and Policy During the Vietnam War. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2002. 198 pp.
Spencer D. Bakich, Success and Failure in Limited War: Information and Strategy in the Korean, vietnam, Persian Gulf and Iraq Wars. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. xiii, 329 pp.
George W. Ball (1909-1994) was Under Secretary of State from 1961 to 1966. He was the only man at a high level in the Johnson administration who strongly advised President Johnson against escalation of the Vietnam War.
George Ball, The Past has Another Pattern. New York: Norton, 1982. xii, 527 pp. Memoir by
George Ball, memorandum to the president, "United States Commitments Regarding the Defense of South Vietnam," June 23, 1965. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
James A. Bill, George Ball: Behind the Scenes in U.S. Foreign Policy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997. xvii, 274 pp.
David DiLeo, George Ball, Vietnam, and the Rethinking of Containment. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
See also oral histories listed above and below.
The George W. Ball Papers are held at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library at Princeton University.
Moya Ann Ball, Vietnam-on-the-Potomac. New York: Praeger, 1992. A study of the patterns of communications between president and top advisors, during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Jaya Krishna Baral, The Pentagon and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1978. ix, 333 pp.
Richard J. Barnet, Roots of War. New York: Athenium, 1972. pb, with subtitle The Men and Institutions Behind U.S. Foreign Policy on the cover but not on the title page, Baltimore: Penguin, 1973. 350 pp. A very dovish view.
David M. Barrett, The CIA and Congress: The Untold Story from Truman to Kennedy. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2005. x, 542 pp. Covers the period from 1947 to 1961; says almost nothing about Vietnam, Laos, or Indochina in general.
David M. Barrett, Uncertain Warriors: Lyndon B. Johnson and his Vietnam Advisors. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1993. xii, 279 pp.
David M. Barrett, ed., Lyndon B. Johnson's Vietnam Papers: A Documentary Collection. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1997. xxxiv, 869 pp.
Jeffrey David Bass, "Cold Warrior Coterie: Senate Democrats and Presidential Foreign Policy, 1953-1973." Ph.D. dissertation, History, University of Connecticut, 2005. 238 pp. AAT 3180186. Hawkish Democrats such as Richard Russell, John Stennis, Henry Jackson, Stuart Symington, and George Smathers.
Francis M. Bator, "No Good Choices: LBJ and the Vietnam/Great Society Connection." Diplomatic History, 32:3 (June 2008), pp. 309-40. The article is directly followied by comments by Even Thomas, Randall B. Woods, Marilyn B. Young, Mark Moyar, Fredrik Logevall, and Larry Berman (pp. 341-59) and a response by Bator (pp. 361-70). Bator had been deputy national security adviser under LBJ.
The Beginning of Involvement. New York: Center for War/Peace Studies of the New York Friends Group, 1967. 71 pp.
Robert Beisner, Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. xiv, 800 pp. A very detailed and comprehensive study of Acheson's policies during his years in the State Department (up to January 1953), with only a brief discussion of his later role as an elder statesman.
Graenum Berger, Not So Silent an Envoy. New Rochelle, NY: John Washburn Bleeker Hampton Publishing Company, 1992. viii, 221 pp. Biography of Samuel D. Berger, who among other things was deputy ambassador to Saigon, under Ellsworth Bunker, for part of Bunker's tenure as ambassador.
Larry Berman, Planning a Tragedy: The Americanization of the War in Vietnam. New York: Norton, 1982.
Larry Berman, Lyndon Johnson's War. New York: Norton, 1989.
Irving Bernstein, Guns or Butter: The Presidency of Lyndon Johnson. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. x, 606 pp. Unreliable on factual details regarding Vietnam.
Michael R. Beschloss, ed., Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963-1964. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997. 591 pp. Transcripts, with explanatory notes, mostly of telephone conversations, up to August 1964.
Michael R. Beschloss, ed., Reaching for Glory: The Johnson White House Tapes, 1964-1965. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. 474 pp. Goes through August 1965.
Kai Bird, The Color of Truth: McGeorge Bundy and William Bundy, Brothers in Arms. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998. 496 pp.
Andrew J. Birtle, "PROVN, Westmoreland, and the Historians: A Reappraisal." Journal of Military History 72:4 (October 2008), pp. 1213-47.
Anne E. Blair, Lodge in Vietnam: A Patriot Abroad. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. xiv, 200 pp. The full text is available online if you browse the Internet through an institution that is affiliated with netLibrary.
James G. Blight, Janet M. Lang, and David A. Welch, Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived: Virtual JFK. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009. xv, 421 pp.
Captain James E. Bond, "A Survey of the Normative Rules of Intervention," Military Law Review, Vol. 52 (Spring 1971), pp. 51-76. Looks at international law regarding intervention by one state in another's internal affairs. Says it is foolish to think states will always obey international law in this regard. A lot of references to Vietnam.
Antoine Bousquet, "Cyberneticizing the American War Machine: Science and Computers in the Cold War." Cold War History 8:1 (February 2008), pp. 77-102. Access to the online text is probably restricted.
Chester Bowles, Promises to Keep: My Years in Public Life, 1941-1969. New York: Harper & Row, 1971. xii, 657 pp. (See also biographies by Dauer and Schaffer, below.)
Henry Brandon, Anatomy of Error: The Inside Story of the Asian War on the Potomac, 1954-1969. Boston: Gambit, 1969. By the Washington correspondent of the London Sunday Times.
Henry Brandon, The Retreat of American Power. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1973. 368 pp.
H[enry] W[illiam] Brands, The Wages of Globalism: Lyndon Johnson and the Limits of American Power. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. viii, 294 pp.
Senator Daniel B. Brewster (interview), "A Senator Looks Back." Vietnam, August 1999, pp. 22-28.
Philip J. Briggs, Making American Foreign Policy: President-Congress Relations from the Second World War to Vietnam. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1991. Not a continuous history but a series of discussions of particular incidents, of which only one--the passage of the War Powers Resolution in 1973--is closely connected with Vietnam.
Douglas Brinkley, Dean Acheson: the Cold War years, 1953-71. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.
Bernard Brodie, "Why Were We So (Strategically) Wrong?" Military Review, June 1972 (vol. LII, no. 6), pp. 40-46. Reprinted from Foreign Policy, Number 5 (Winter 1971-72). Response to Colin Gray's article in the May issue (below). Brodie agrees with Gray that the strategic thinkers were wrong about Vietnam, but disagrees about how and why.
Dorothy D. Bromley, Washington and Vietnam: An Examination of the Moral and Political Issues. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana, 1966. 120pp. Written from an anti-war viewpoint.
Edward W. Brooke, III, Bridging the Divide: My Life. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2007. Brooke, an African-American Republican elected in 1966 as U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, started out as a moderate dove, shifted in early 1967 to moderate hawk, and then shifted back to dove. The "Vietnam" chapter of this book (pp. 154-68) has some of the facts wrong, and it does not seem to me that he had a clear understanding of the issues.
Stuart G. Brown, The Presidency on Trial: Robert Kennedy's 1968 Campaign and Afterwards. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1972. viii, 155 pp.
Will Brownell, "The Vietnam Lobby: The Americans who Lobbied for a Free and Independent South Vietnam in the 1940s and 1950s." Ph.D. dissertation, History, Columbia, 1993. 441 pp. DA 9333734. Concentrates on William C. Bullitt, Joseph Buttinger, and Tom Dooley.
Ellsworth Bunker was U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Vietnam from 1967 to 1973.
Douglas Pike, ed., The Bunker Papers: Reports to the President from Vietnam, 1967-1973, 3 vols., Indochina Research Monograph #5. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, 1990. xxxix, 899 pp. These reports, written by US Ambassador to Vietnam Ellsworth Bunker, mostly date from the years 1967 and 1968, during much of which the reports were sent weekly. The index is a big help. Vol. 3 (12/19/68 to 5/5/73) is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Howard B. Schaffer, Ellsworth Bunker: Global Troubleshooter, Vietnam Hawk. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003. xiv, 380 pp. Bunker was the U.S. ambassador in Saigon from 1967 to 1973, and a strong supporter of the war. A good biography.
Many of the reports included in the volume edited by Douglas Pike (above), and texts of other messages and statements by Bunker, have been placed online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Saigon 620 to State (the date is illegible, but Walt Rostow forwarded a copy to President Johnson on the morning of July 10, 1967). Bunker suggested that the United States encourage the Saigon government to find some excuse to block General Duong Van Minh from running in the presidential election.
Transcript of briefing by Ambassador Bunker for a visiting group led by Secretary of Defense McNamara and Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, Saigon, July 13, 1967.
John P. Burke, Honest Broker? The National Security Advisor and Presidential Decision Making. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2009. 492 pp. Covers adminstrations from Eisenhower to George W. Bush.
John P. Burke and Fred I. Greenstein, with Larry Berman and Richard Immerman, How Presidents Test Reality: Decisions on Vietnam, 1954 and 1965. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1989. vii, 331 pp. Won the 1990 Richard Neustadt Award of the American Political Science Association for the best book on the American presidency.
Robert Buzzanco, Masters of War: Military Dissent and Politics in the Vietnam Era. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. xiv, 386 pp.
Joseph A. Califano, Jr., The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson: The White House Years. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991. 398 pp. Califano, who was one of Robert McNamara's "whiz kids" in the Pentagon when Johnson became President, shifted to the White House staff, where he was top advisor to the President on domestic policy, in July 1965.
John M. Carland, "Winning the Vietnam War: Westmoreland's Approach in Two Documents." Journal of Military History, 68:2 (April 2004), pp. 553-74. Texts of two basic policy directives: Maj. Gen. W.B. Rosson, "Tactics and Techniques for Employment of US Forces in the Republic of Vietnam," Headquarters MACV Directive Number 525-4, 17 September 1965; and Gen. W.C. Westmoreland, "Tactical Employment of US Forces and Defensive Action," 10 December 1965. The text is available to subscribers on Project Muse.
John M. Carland, "War, Politics, Diplomacy, and the Presidency: Off the Record Comments by Lyndon B. Johnson in Retirement." Journal of Military History 72:4 (October 2008), pp. 1257-63. Memos by several people indicating that Lyndon Johnson, after leaving the White House, expressed regret about having been too dovish on Vietnam.
Mark David Carson, "Beyond the Solid South: Southern Members of Congress and the Vietnam War." Ph.D. dissertation, Louisiana State University, History, 2003. iv, 489 pp. AAT 3085664. The full text is available online.
James M. Carter, "Inventing Vietnam: The United States and statemaking in Southeast Asia." Ph.D. dissertation, History, University of Houston, 2004. 361 pp. AAT 3153740. Covers the period 1954 to 1968. The full text is available online if you are browsing the Internet from an institution, such as Clemson University, that has a subscription to ProQuest "Dissertations and Theses: Full Text."
Jasen Castillo, Endurance and War: The National Sources of Military CohesionM\. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. xiii, 308 pp. The chapter on the United States war in Vietnam (pp. 188-215) is seriously inaccurate.
Jonathan D. Caverley, "Death and taxes: Sources of democratic military aggression." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago, Political Science, 2008. xiii, 337 pp. AAT 3338330. Looks at two cases (the British Empire after 1867, and the United States in Vietnam) in which the voters in a more or less democratic state were relatively supportive of the aggressive use of military power.
George Christian, The President Steps Down: A Personal Memoir of the Transfer of Power. New York: Macmillan, 1970. 282 pp. By Lyndon Johnson's Press Secretary.
Bill Christofferson, The Man from Clear Lake: Earth Day Founder Senator Gaylord Nelson. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004. vii, 403 pp. An authorized biography of Senator Nelson (Democrat of Wisconsin), a liberal who was an early critic of the Vietnam War.
Thurston Clarke, The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and the 82 Days that Inspired America. Henry Holt, 2008. 336 pp.
Clark Clifford with Richard Holbrooke, Counsel to the President: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 1991. xix, 709 pp. Clifford, an influential Washington lawyer when not directly in government, became Chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board in 1963 and then Secretary of Defense in 1968. (See also biography by Acacia, above.)
Warren I. Cohen, Dean Rusk. Totowa, NJ: Cooper Square, 1980. xii, 375 pp.
Warren I. Cohen and Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, eds., Lyndon Johnson Confronts the World: American Foreign Policy, 1963-1968. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. x, 342 pp.
Thomas P. Collins and Louis M. Savary, eds., A People of Compassion: The Concerns of Edward Kennedy. New York: Regina Press, 1972. 182 pp. Short excerpts from statements Ted Kennedy made relating to the war, between 1969 and 1971, are on pp. 49-57 and 140-45.
Lieutenant General Charles G. Cooper, USMC, Ret., with Richard E. Goodspeed, Cheers and Tears: A Marine's Story of Combat in Peace and War. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada: Trafford Press/Reno, Nevada: Wesley Press, 2002. vi, 233 pp. The Introduction describes a meeting in November 1965, at which the Joint Chiefs recommended decisive action against North Vietnam, and President Johnson cursed them out.
Chester L. Cooper, In the Shadows of History: Fifty Years Behind the Scenes of Cold War Diplomacy. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2005. 359 pp.
Chester L. Cooper, The Lost Crusade: America in Vietnam. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1970. Foreword by W. Averell Harriman. xi, 559 pp.
Robert W. Crawford, Call Retreat: The Johnson Administration's Vietnam Policy, March 1967 to March 1968. Washington: The Washington Institute for Values in Pulic Policy, 1986.
John H. Cushman, "External Support of the Viet Cong: An Analysis and a Proposal." March 15, 1965. iv, 58 pp. plus extensive unpaginated appendices. Lt. Col. Cushman (a future Lt. Gen.) wrote this (originally classified) paper, proposing that the United States cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail with a two-division force, moved into the area suddenly by surprise, as a student at the National War College. The text has been placed online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in two parts: Front matter and pp. 1-38, pp. 39-58, appendices.
Gregory A. Daddis, "Out of Balance: Evaluating American Strategy in Vietnam, 1968-72," War & Society 32:3 (October 2013), pp.252-70.
Robert Dallek, Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961-1973. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. xiv, 754 pp. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Richard P. Dauer, A North-South Mind in an East-West World: Chester Bowles and the Making of United States Cold War Foreign Policy, 1951-1969. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2005.
Raymond G. Davis, "Politics and War: Twelve Fatal Decisions that Rendered Defeat in Vietnam", Marine Corps Gazette 73 (August 1989), pp. 75-78.
James Deakin, Lyndon Johnson's Credibility Gap. Washington: Public Affairs Press, 1968. 65 pp.
Robert D. Dean, Imperial Brotherhood: Gender and the Making of Cold War Foreign Policy. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001. x, 329 pp.
Miles DeNora, "A Republican Dove: George Aiken in the Johnson Years." M.A. thesis, History, Concordia University (Canada), 1999. 227 pp. AAT MQ39046.
Gen. William E. DePuy, "Our Experience in Vietnam: Will We Be Beneficiaries or Victims?" Army, 37:6 (June 1987), pp. 28-41.
Christopher S. DeRosa, Political Indoctrination in the U.S. Army from World War II to the Vietnam War. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006. 336 pp.
Terry Dietz, Republicans and Vietnam: 1961-1968. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1986. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Everett McKinley Dirksen, The Education of a Senator. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1998. 312 pp. Dirksen, from Illnois, was among the most powerful Republican senators in the early to mid 1960s.
Wilson P. Dizard, Jr., Inventing Public Diplomacy: The Story of the U.S. Information Agency. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner, 2004. xv, 255 pp.
Gary A. Donaldson, America at War since 1945: Politics and Diplomacy in Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War. Westport, CT: Praeger (Greenwood), 1996. xiv, 229 pp.
Dorothy Donnelly, "American Policy in Vietnam, 1949-1965: A Perceptual Analysis of the Domino Theory and Enemy Based on the Pentagon Papers." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 1980. 8028032.
John C. Donovan, The Cold Warriors: A Policy-Making Elite. Lexington, MA: Heath, 1974. 294 pp.
Robert J. Donovan, Nemesis: Truman and Johnson in the Coils of War in Asia. New York: St. Martin's/Marek, 1984. 216 pp.
Richard D. Downie, Learning from conflict: The U.S. Military in Vietnam, El Salvador, and the Drug War. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998. xiv, 291 pp.
Theodore Draper, Abuse of Power. New York: Viking 1967. 244 pp. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Mason Drukman, Wayne Morse - A Political Biography. Portland: Oregon Historical Society. 545 pp. 0-87595-263-1.
William J. Duiker, U.S. Containment Policy and the Conflict in Indochina. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994. xii, 453 pp. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. The full texts of volumes XIV to XXI (covering the years 1953-1961, when Eisenhower was president) are available online, searchable, at a website of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.
David K.F. Ekbladh, "A Workshop for the World: Modernization as a Tool in United States Foreign Relations in Asia, 1914-1973." Ph.D. dissertation, History, Columbia University, 2003. 425 pp. AAT 3077187.
Daniel Ellsberg, Papers on the War. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972. 309 pp. A collection of essays, often quite perceptive.
Daniel Ellsberg, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. New York: Viking, 2002. x, 498 pp. Highly recommended.
Alain C. Enthoven and K. Wayne Smith, How Much is Enough? Shaping the Defense Program, 1961-1969. New York: Harper & Row, 1971. xv, 364 pp. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2005. xxi, 366 pp. By two of McNamara's "whiz kids": Enthoven was Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Analysis, and Smith was Enthoven's Special Assistant.
Richard M. Filipink Jr., "An American Lion in Winter: The Post-Presidential Impact of Dwight D. Eisenhower on American Foreign Policy." Ph.D. dissertation, History, SUNY at Buffalo, 2004. 225 pp. AAT 3113492. Eisenhower encouraged Lyndon Johnson to escalate the Vietnam War. The full text is available online if you are browsing the Internet from an institution, such as Clemson University, that has a subscription to ProQuest "Dissertations and Theses: Full Text."
Bernard J. Firestone and Robert C. Vogt, eds., Lyndon Baines Johnson and the Uses of Power. New York: Greenwood Press, 1988. xvii, 418 pp.
Louis Fisher, Presidential War Power, 2d ed. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004. xvi, 318 pp. This historical survey looks impressively thorough.
Gilbert C. Fite, Richard B. Russell, Jr., Senator from Georgia. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991. xiv, 566 pp. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Scott Eric Flipse, "Bearing the Cross of Vietnam: Humanitarianism, Religion, and the American Commitment to South Vietnam, 1952-1975." Ph.D. dissertation, History, University of Notre Dame, 2003. 476 pp. AAT 3078485. Deals with the role of groups such as Catholic Relief Services, Mennonite Central Committee, Church World Service, and International Voluntary Services.
The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training has been placed online as part of the American Memory project of the Library of Congress.
Frontline Diplomacy: The U.S. Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection. Arlington, VA: Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, 2000. Transcripts of 893 oral histories, mostly of U.S. diplomats, plus some other material, published as a CD-ROM. Quite useful. Oral histories in this collection include George Ball, Ellsworth Bunker, Elbridge Durbrow, Frederick Flott, W. Averell Harriman, U. Alexis Johnson, Paul Kattenberg, Wolfgang J. Lehmann, Francis Terry McNamara, Joseph Mendenhall, Robert H. Miller, Frederick Nolting, Robert Nooter, Rufus C. Phillips, III, Douglas Pike, Walt Rostow, Dean Rusk, Maxwell Taylor, Leonard Unger, and Barry Zorthian.
Catherine Forslund, Anna Chennault: Informal Diplomacy and Asian Relations. Wilmington, Delaware: SR Books, 2000. xxxiii, 180 pp. Includes a brief discussion of Chennault's service as an intermediary between Richard Nixon and Nguyen Van Thieu in 1968.
Jeffrey Allan Friedman, "Cumulative Dynamics and Strategic Assessment: U.S. Military Decision Making in Iraq, Vietnam, and the American Indian Wars," Ph.D. dissertation, Public Policy, Harvard, 2013. DA 3566879.
Joseph Fry, Debating Vietnam: Fulbright, Stennis, and Their Senate Hearings. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. xi, 198 pp. (Some pre-publication publicity listed the title as To Negotiate or Bomb: The Fulbright and Stennis Hearings on U.S. Policy in Vietnam.) Senator J. William Fulbright provided a forum for the doves in 1966 at hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Senator John C. Stennis provided a forum for the hawks in 1967 at hearings of a subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Joseph Fry, The American South and the Vietnam War: Belligerence, Protest, and Agony in Dixie. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2015. 491 pp.
J. William Fulbright. Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1959 onward. He was allied with President Johnson in 1964, but turned against Johnson's Vietnam policy in 1965, and made the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the stongest institutional base for opposition to the war inside the U.S. government.
William C. Berman, William Fulbright and the Vietnam War: The Dissent of a Political Realist. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1988. 235 pp.
Eugene Brown, J. William Fulbright: Advice and Dissent. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1985. x, 171 pp.
J. William Fulbright, The Arrogance of Power. New York: Random House, 1966. xv, 264 pp. As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Fulbright was by 1966 becoming one of the most important congressional critics of the Vietnam War.
J. William Fulbright, The Crippled Giant: American Foreign Policy and Its Domestic Consequences. New York: Vintage, 1972. x, 292 pp.
J. William Fulbright, The Pentagon Propaganda Machine. New York: Liveright, 1970. vii, 166 pp.
J. William Fulbright, with Seth P. Tillman, The Price of Empire. New York: Pantheon (Random House), 1989. xi, 243 pp.
Haynes Johnson and Bernard M. Gwertzman, Fulbright: The Dissenter. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1968. x, 321 pp.
Lee Riley Powell, with James O. Powell, J. William Fulbright and His Time. Memphis, TN: Guild Bindery Press, 1996. vii, 562 pp. In the few pages at which I have looked, relating to the Tonkin Gulf incidents, the number of careless errors was distressingly large.
Randall B. Woods, Fulbright: A Biography. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995. 711 pp.
Randall B. Woods, J. William Fulbright, Vietnam, and the Search for a Cold War Foreign Policy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998. 293 pp.
John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of American National Security Policy During the Cold War. Revised and expanded edition. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. xvi, 484 pp.
John Galloway, ed., The Kennedys & Vietnam. New York: Facts on File, 1971. iii, 150 pp.
Lloyd C. Gardner, Pay Any Price: Lyndon Johnson and the Wars for Vietnam. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1995. xv, 610 pp.
Lloyd C. Gardner and Tet Gittinger, eds., Vietnam: The Early Decisions. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997. vii, 228 pp. Papers from a conference held at the LBJ Library. The full text is available online if you browse the Internet through an institution that is affiliated with netLibrary.
Stephen A. Garrett, Ideals and Reality: An Analysis of the Debate over Vietnam. Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1978. 243 pp.
General James M. Gavin, "A Communication on Vietnam", Harper's Magazine, February 1966, pp. 16-21. General Gavin advocated an "enclave" policy for Vietnam, according to which U.S. troops would just occupy a few areas along the coast instead of spreading through the countryside, while negotiating an end to the war.
General James M. Gavin, Crisis Now. New York: Random House, 1968. viii, 184 pp.
Leslie H. Gelb with Richard K. Betts, The Irony of Vietnam: The System Worked. Washington: The Brookings Institution, 1979. xii, 387 pp. This study argues that American policymakers were adequately warned, at key points during the escalation of the war, that the measures they were taking might not be adequate to win the war. The full text is available online if you browse the Internet through an institution that is affiliated with netLibrary, or if you are a paid subscriber of Questia.
Alexander L. George, Some Thoughts on Graduated Escalation. RM-4844-PR. Santa Monica, CA: Rand, December 1965. v, 29 pp. Specifically about U.S. escalation in Vietnam.
Alexander L. George, David K. Hall, and William R. Simon, eds., The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy: Laos, Cuba, Vietnam. Boston: Little, Brown, 1971. xviii, 268 pp. The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy, 2nd ed. Boulder, Colorado: Westview, 1994. x, 310 pp. Included additional case studies, beyond those in the first edition.
William C. Gibbons, The U.S. Government and the Vietnam War: Executive and Legislative Roles and Relationships, Part I, 1954-1961 (365 pp), Part II, 1961-1964 (424 pp), Part III, January-July 1965, and Part IV, July 1965-January 1968 (969 pp). Washington: Government Printing Office, 1984, 1984, 1988, 1994. These volumes have been reprinted (with Part I more accurately retitled 1954-1960): Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986, 1986, 1989, 1995. A historical study prepared for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress. Four volumes have been published; Gibbons was working on the fifth when he died in 2015. The original versions, as published by the GPO, have been placed online by Hathi Trust.
Part 1, 1945-1961 (actually only covering the period from 1945 to 1960). Washington: GPO, 1984. xiii, 365 pp..
Part 2, 1961-1964. Washington: GPO, 1985. xiii, 424 pp. Includes some interesting material relating to the Tonkin Gulf incidents.
Part 3, January-July 1965. Washington: GPO, 1988. xvi, 489 pp.
Part 4, July 1965-January 1968. Washington: GPO, 1994. xvi, 969 pp.
Robert M. Gillespie, "The Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Escalation of the Vietnam Conflict, 1964-1965". M.A. thesis, Department of History, Clemson University, 1994. 210 pp.
Ted Gittinger, ed., The Johnson Years: A Vietnam Roundtable. Austin: LBJ Library, 1993. x, 192 pp. Transcripts of discussions among former officials, held March 1991, plus some appendices.
Robert Alan Goldberg, Barry Goldwater. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.
Gordon M. Goldstein, Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam. New York: Times Books (Henry Holt and Company), 2008. xiii, 300 pp.
Barry M. Goldwater, With no Apologies: The Personal and Political Memoirs of United States Senator Barry M. Goldwater. New York: Morrow, 1979. 320 pp.
Barry M. Goldwater, with Jack Casserly, Goldwater. New York: Doubleday, 1988. xiii, 414 pp.
Richard N. Goodwin, Triumph or Tragedy: Reflections on Vietnam. New York: Random House, 1966. 142 pp. Goodwin, who had served Presidents Kennedy and Johnson in several capacities, had become disillusioned about the war. This short essay, originally published in the New Yorker, was fleshed out to book length by the addition of documents.
Richard N. Goodwin, Remembering America: A Voice from the Sixties. Boston: Little, Brown, 1988. viii, 552 pp.
Albert A. Gore, The Eye of the Storm: A People's Politics for the Seventies. New York, 1970. Gore, a senator (Democrat of Tennessee) from 1953 to 1970, was a quiet doubter about the Vietnam War under Kennedy, and a very public one under Johnson and Nixon. (See also biography by Longley, below.)
Albert A. Gore, Let the Glory Out: My South and Its Politics. New York: Viking, 1972. viii, 307 pp. This deals mostly with domestic issues, but there are interesting comments on the Vietnam War during the administrations of John Kennedy (p. 160), Lyndon Johnson (pp. 183-6, 191-4, 199-200) and Richard Nixon (pp. 215-20, 131-5, 259).
Louis J. Gould, 1968: The Election that Changed America. Ivan R. Dee, 1993. ix, 178 pp.
Henry F. Graff, The Tuesday Cabinet: Deliberation and Decision on Peace and War under Lyndon B. Johnson. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1970. 200 pp.
Colin S. Gray, "What Rand Hath Wrought." Military Review, May 1972 (vol. LII, no. 5), pp. 22-33. The influence of the strategic thinkers at the Rand (formerly RAND) Corporation on U.S. policy. A considerable portion deals with the Vietnam War, which is treated as a mistake; the author clearly expects a Communist victory. Reprinted from Foreign Policy, Number 4 (Fall 1971), pp. 111-129. (See response by Bernard Brodie, in the June issue, above).
James M. Griffiths, Vietnam Insights: Logic of Involvement and Unconventional Perspectives. New York: Vantage, 2000. vi, 234 pp.
Ernest Gruening, Many Battles: The Autobiography of Ernest Gruening. New York: Liveright, 1973. x, 564 pp. Gruening, strongly anti-war, was one of only two senators who voted against the Tonkin Gulf Resolution in 1964.
Senator Ernest Gruening & Herbert W. Beaser, Vietnam Folly. Washington: National Press, 1968. This is partly a history of the Vietnam conflict, and partly a denunciation of US policy. Documentary appendices make up slightly more than a third of the book.
Edwin O. Guthman and Jeffrey Shulman, eds., Robert Kennedy in his Own Words: The Unpublished Recollections of the Kennedy Years. Toronto and New York: Bantam, 1988. xviii, 493 pp.
David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest. New York: Random House, 1972. 688 pp. pb with new introduction: New York: Fawcett, (1993?). A long, detailed study, unfortunately without footnotes, of U.S. policy toward Vietnam under presidents Kennedy and Johnson.
David Halberstam, The Unfinished Odyssey of Robert Kennedy. New York: Random House, 1968. 211 pp.
W. Averell Harriman, America and Russia in a Changing World. New York: Doubleday, 1971. By the man who headed the US negotiating team when the Paris peace talks began in 1968.
Benjamin T. Harrison and Christopher L. Mosher, "John T. McNaughton and Vietnam: The Early Years as Assistant Secretary of Defense, 1964-1965." History: The Journal of the Historical Association 92 (October 2007), pp. 496-514.
Benjamin T. Harrison and Christopher L. Mosher, "The Secret Diary of McNamara's Dove: The Long-Lost Story of John T. McNaughton's Opposition to the Vietnam War." Diplomatic History 35:3 (June 2011), pp. 505-534.
Patrick L. Hatcher, The Suicide of an Elite: American Internationalists and Vietnam. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990. ix, 429 pp.
Mark O. Hatfield, Not Quite So Simple. New York: Harper & Row, 1968. xi, 302 pp. Memoir by a very liberal Republican senator from Oregon who was strongly opposed to the Vietnam War.
F. Edward Hebert, with John McMillan, "Last of the Titans": The Life and Times of Congressman F. Edward Hebert of Louisiana. Lafayette: University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1976.
Jeffrey W. Helsing, Johnson's War/Johnson's Great Society: The Guns and Butter Trap. Westport: Praeger, 2000. xii, 279 pp. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
John B. Henry II and William Espinosa, "The Tragedy of Dean Rusk." Foreign Policy no. 8 (Autumn 1972), pp. 166-89. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access the text online.
Louis Heren, No Hail, No Farewell. New York: Harper & Row, 1970. 275 pp. A study of the Johnson administration by a British journalist.
Gregg Herken, The Georgetown Set: Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington. New York: Knopf, 2014. 512 pp.
Edward S. Herman & Richard B. DuBoff, America's Vietnam Policy: The Strategy of Deception. Washington: Public Affairs Press, 1966. 123 pp. Strongly anti-war.
George C. Herring, LBJ and Vietnam: A Different Kind of War. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994. xiv, 228 pp. The full text is available online if you browse the Internet through an institution that is affiliated with netLibrary.
George C. Herring, "American Strategy in Vietnam: The Postwar Debate." Military Affairs, 46:2 (April 1982), pp. 57-63. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access the text directly or go through the JSTOR Military Affairs/Journal of Military History browse page.
Dale R. Herspring, The Pentagon and the Presidency: Civil-Military Relations from FDR to George W. Bush. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2005. xiii, 490 pp. I took a brief glance at this book and was not impressed.
Gary R. Hess,
Presidential Decisions for War: Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001. xiv,
262 pp. 2d ed Presidential Decisions for War: Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and Iraq. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press,
2009. 328 pp.
E744 .H495 2001
James W. Hilty, Robert Kennedy: Brother Protector. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997. xii, 642 pp.
Godfrey Hodgson, JFK and LBJ: The Last Two Great Presidents. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. Expresses doubt about the widespread belief that Kennedy, if he had lived, would have withdrawn from Vietnam.
Townsend Hoopes, The Limits of Intervention. New York: McKay, 1969. ix, 245 pp. A critical account of the Johnson Administration's Vietnam policy, by a man who was Under Secretary of the Air Force in that administration.
Townsend Hoopes, "The Fight for the President's Mind - And the Men Who Won It," The Atlantic Monthly, October 1969, pp. 97-114. The is available online to subscribers, in two parts: part 1 and part 2.
Byron C. Hulsey, Everett Dirksen and His Presidents: How a Senate Giant Shaped American Politics. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000. x, 342 pp. Dirksen, from Illnois, was among the most powerful Republican senators in the early to mid 1960s.
Hubert H. Humphrey, The Education of a Public Man: My Life and Politics. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976. xiii, 513 pp.
Michael H. Hunt, Lyndon Johnson's War: America's Cold War Crusade in Vietnam, 1945-1965. New York: Hill & Wang, 1996. ix, 146 pp.
Paul R. Ignatius, On Board: My Life in the Navy, Government, and Business. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2006. xii, 285 pp. The chapters I found most interesting dealt with the period 1961-67, when Ignatius dealt with military procurement, first as Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations and Logistics) and then as Assistant Secretary of Defense (Installations and Logistics). After that he was Secretary of the Navy, and then he became president of the Washington Post.
Richard Immerman and Fred I Greenstein, "What did Eisenhower Tell Kennedy about Indochina? The Politics of Misperception." Journal of American History, 79:2 (1992), pp. 568-88.
Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas, The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986. 853 pp. Robert Lovett, John McCloy, W. Averell Harriman, Charles Bohlen, George Kennan, and Dean Acheson.
Brian M. Jenkins, The Unchangeable War. Santa Monica: Rand, 1972. RM-6278-1-ARPA. v, 10 pp. Originally written in July 1969, shortly after Jenkins' Vietnam service (captain in Special Forces, December 1966 to December 1967; member of the MACV long term planning group in Saigon October 1968 to July 1969). Argues the the U.S. Army has been doctrinally rigid in Vietnam, sticking to the doctrine developed for use in Europe, and that this may lead to loss of the war. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Robert Jervis & Jack Snyder, eds., Dominoes and Bandwagons: Strategic Beliefs and Great Power Competition in the Eurasian Rimland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. viii, 299 pp. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Andrew L. Johns, Vietnam's Second Front: Domestic Politics, the Republican Party, and the War. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2010. x, 434 pp.
Andrew L. Johns, "A Voice from the Wilderness: Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War, 1964-1966." Presidential Studies Quarterly, vol. 29 (1999). The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Andrew Johns, Tortured: Hubert Humphrey and the Vietnam War, 1964-1968. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield (forthcoming).
Dominic D.P. Johnson, Overconfidence and War: The Havoc and Glory of Positive Illusions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004. 280 pp. One long chapter--about 48 pages--is devoted to Vietnam.
Lyndon Johnson, The Vantage Point. New York: Popular Library, 1971. Memoirs of President Johnson.
Lyndon Johnson, "Recordings of Telephone Conversations - White House Series." Lyndon Johnson recorded many of his telephone conversations while he was president; the recordings also sometimes picked up bits of conversation among people in the office. The LBJ Presidential Library has released most of the recordings. There were only small amounts of material which, for one reason or another, were withheld from public release. A pretty good index to the conversations can be obtained free from the LBJ Library. Copies of the recordings, and transcripts of some conversations, can be purchased for a reasonable copying fee. Getting the actual recordings is safer; the transcripts are not always reliable. For a long time copies of the recordings were sold as cassette tapes, but recently the library has begun selling them on compact discs.
Robert D. Johnson, Ernest Gruening and the American Dissenting Tradition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998. vi, 375 pp.
Robert David Johnson, Congress and the Cold War. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. xxxii, 346 pp.
U. Alexis Johnson, with Jef Olivarius McAllister, The Right Hand of Power: The Memoirs of an American Diplomat. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1984. vi, 634 pp. Johnson was, among other things, a member of the U.S. delegation at the Geneva Conference of 1954, ambassador to Thailand 1958-61, and deputy ambassador to Saigon 1964-65.
Frank Leith Jones, Blowtorch: Robert Komer, Vietnam, and American Cold War Strategy. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2013. xi, 401 pp. Robert Komer had a long career in intelligence analysis, but he never dealt particularly with Vietnam until he suddenly became, in 1966, the highest ranking member of the White House staff to have Vietnam as his primary responsibiity. In 19657, was was sent to Vietnam to become a deputy commander of MACV, and head of the newly created pacification organization CORDS.
Henry P. Jones, "John Foster Dulles and United States Involvement in Vietnam." Ph.D. dissertation, Political Science, University of Oklahoma, 1972. 312 pp. 72-22,441.
Matthew Jones, After Hiroshima: The United States, Race and Nuclear Weapons in Asia, 1945-1965. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010. xii, 502 pp.
Paul Joseph, Cracks in the Empire: State Politics and the Vietnam War. Boston: South End Press, 1981. pb New York: Columbia University Press, 1987. ix, 362 pp.
David Kaiser, American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000. 566 pp.
Morton Kaplan, Abram Chayes, G. Warren Nutter, Paul C. Warnke, John P. Roche, and Clayton Fritchey, Vietnam Settlement: Why 1973, not 1969? Washington: American Enterprise Institute, 1973. 208 pp.
Stanley Karnow, Ronald Spector, Lt. Gen. Harold Moore, William C. Gibbons, and Zalin Grant, "No Light at the End of the Tunnel: America Goes to War in Vietnam", in The VVA Veteran, October/November 2001. Transcript of a panel session at an April 6-8, 2000, symposium "Rendezvous with War," sponsored by Vietnam Veterans of America and the College of William and Mary. There are brief introductory remarks by Edward Crapol, Sam Sadler, and George Duggins.
Stanley Karnow, William C. Gibbons, Randy Barnes, and Sydney Schanberg, "Dissent, Division, and Demonstration: The War In Washington", in The VVA Veteran, December 2000/January 2001. Edited transcript of an April 7, 2000 panel session at a symposium "Rendezvous with War," sponsored by Vietnam Veterans of America and the College of William and Mary. There are brief introductory remarks by Everett Alvarez, Jr.
Paul M. Kattenburg, The Vietnam Trauma in American Foreign Policy, 1945-75. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1980. xvi, 354 pp.
Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, Some of It Was Fun: Working with RFK and LBJ. New York: Norton, 2008. 320 pp. Katzenbach was President Johnson's attorney general from 1965 to 1966, then under secretary of state from October 1966 to 1969. He favored a negotiated settlement of the Vietnam War.
Robert Gordon Kaufman, Henry M. Jackson: A Life in Politics. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000. x, 548 pp. A hawkish Democratic senator.
Doris Kearns, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. New York: Harper & Row, 1976. xii, 432 pp. Based on extensive interviews with ex-president Johnson.
Edward M. Kennedy, True Compass: A Memoir. New York: Twelve (Hachette), 2009. x, 532 pp. This memoir says quite a bit about the evolution of Ted Kennedy's views on Vietnam; he went from supporting the war in the early 1960s to opposing it quite strongly in the late 1960s. See also above, under Collins.
Robert F. Kennedy was relatively hawkish on Vietnam when his brother was president, but later he became briefly (before his assassination in 1968) one of the most important American critics of the Vietnam War. For books by and about him see The Antiwar Movement.
Henry J. Kenny, with a foreword by Mike Mansfield, The American Role in Vietnam and East Asia: Between Two Revolutions. New York: Praeger, 1984. xiv, 192 pp.
Yuen Foong Khong, Analogies at War: Korea, Munich, Dien Bien Phu, and the Vietnam Decisions of 1965. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992. xi, 286 pp.
Gen. Douglas Kinnard, The War Managers: American Generals Reflect on Vietnam. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1977. ix, 216 pp. pb, with new foreword and new photos, New York: Da Capo, 1991. xiii, 216 pp. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2007. ix, 216 pp. Kinnard was a US general who took a survey among a lot of other US generals who had served in Vietnam, asking them their opinions of the war, and published this book summarizing what they told him.
Gen. Douglas Kinnard, The Secretary of Defense. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1980. 252 pp.
Joshua E. Klimas, "Balancing consensus, consent, and competence: Richard Russell, the Senate Armed Services Committee & oversight of America's defense, 1955-1968." Ph.D. dissertation, Ohio State University, 2007. 447 pp. AAT 3286844.
Noam Kochavi, "Limited Accomodation, Perpetuated Conflict: Kennedy, China, and the Laos Crisis, 1961-1963." Diplomatic History, 26:1 (Winter 2002), pp. 95-135.
Noam Kochavi, A Conflict Perpetuated: China Policy During the Kennedy Years. Westport: Praeger, 2002. 320 pp.
Robert W. Komer, Bureaucracy Does Its Thing: Institutional Constraints on U.S.-GVN Performance in Vietnam. R-967-ARPA. Santa Monica: Rand, 1972. xviii, 179 pp. The text has been placed on-line by the Rand Corporation as one large file, and something that is labelled a draft, but appears identical to the final version, has been placed online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project at Texas Tech University, in four parts: front matter and pp. 1-34, pp. 35-84, pp. 85-134, and pp. 135-179.
Robert W. Komer, Bureaucracy at War: U.S. Performance in the Vietnam Conflict. Boulder: Westview Press, 1986. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Lawrence J. Korb, The Joint Chiefs of Staff: The First Twenty-Five Years. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976.
Bruce Kuklick, Blind Oracles: Intellectuals and War from Kennan to Kissinger. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.
Walter LaFeber, The Deadly Bet: LBJ, Vietnam, and the 1968 Election. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. x, 217 pp.
Edward G. Lansdale: see under The Central Intelligence Agency.
William J. Lederer, Our Own Worst Enemy. New York: Norton, 1968. 287 pp. A vigorous critique of US policy.
Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, with Dale O. Smith, America is in Danger. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1968. LeMay, a former Air Force Chief of Staff and champion of strategic bombing, includes in this book his analysis of how the US air war in Vietnam should have been conducted.
Eugene M. Locke, Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Vietnam, apparently sent quite a lot of reports to National Security Advisor Walt Rostow. A few of these have been placed online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Locke memo to Rostow, October 26, 1967. The cover letter says this is back-up material for a cable, Saigon 7867, on progress in the war. In fact there is a surprising diversity of information, including statistics on the tonnage passing through South Vietnamese ports per month in early 1966, the number of hoi chanh per month up to late 1967, etc.
Locke memo to the President, November 25, 1967, report on events of the previous two weeks.
Fredrik Logevall, Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999. xxviii, 529 pp. Discusses the steadfast rejection of the idea of a negotiated settlement of the Vietnam War, and the decision to escalate militarily instead, by the U.S. government from late 1963 through early 1965. Very good on the pressures (weakness in Saigon, lack of support for escalation among U.S. allies and significant portions of the political public in the U.S.) that might have pushed Kennedy and especially Johnson toward negotiation, and the way despite these pressures Kennedy and Johnson absolutely rejected any suggestion of negotiations. Less good on the reasons for this rejection.
Fredrik Logevall, "Structure, Contingency, and the War in Vietnam," Diplomatic History, Vol.39, No.1 (January 2015), pp. 1-15. An updated version of the argument in the book immediately above.
Kyle Longley, Senator Albert Gore, Sr.: Tennessee Maverick. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2004. 350 pp. Gore, a senator (Democrat of Tennessee) from 1953 to 1970, was a quiet doubter about the Vietnam War under Kennedy, and a very public one under Johnson and Nixon. (See also autobiography, above.)
Kyle Longley, "Target Number One: The Nixon Administration and Foreign Policy Issues in the Efforts to Unseat Senator Albert Gore, Sr. in 1970." Diplomatic History 28:4 (September 2004), pp. 529-547.
James McAllister, "The Lost Revolution: Edward Lansdale and the American Defeat in Vietnam 1964-1968." Small Wars and Insurgencies, 14:2 (Summer 2003), pp.1-26.
James McAllister, ed., ISSF Forum on “Audience Costs and the Vietnam War”. The theory of "Audience Costs", which has emerged in recent decades in political science, argues that leades in a democracy will be strongly inclined to keep their commitments in international affairs because they fear the political costs of being seen, by public opinion in their countries, to have failed to keep those commitments.
Introduction by James McAlliser
Marc Trachtenberg, "Kennedy, Vietnam, and Audience Costs"
Bronwyn Lewis, "Nixon, vietnam, and Audience Costs"
Comments by Richard K. Betts, Robert Jervis, Fredrik Logevall, and Mohn Mearshimer
Douglas J. MacDonald, Adventures in Chaos: American Intervention for Reform in the Third World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992. About sixty pages of this deal with US efforts to impose reform on Ngo Dinh Diem's administration, 1961-1963.
Linda Gayle McFarland, "From Cold Warrior to Realpolitik Statesman: Stuart Symington and American Foreign Policy." Ph.D. dissertation, History, University of Missouri - Columbia, 1996. 568 pp. DA 9821348. Chapters 8 and 9 cover Symington's role as a Senator (Democrat of Missouri) during the Vietnam War.
Linda McFarland, Cold War Strategist: Stuart Symington and the Search for National Security. Westport: Praeger, 2001. viii, 212 pp.
Gale S. McGee, The Responsibilities of World Power. Washington: National Press, 1968. ix, 274 pp. By a liberal, pro-war senator (Democrat of Wyoming).
George S. McGovern, Grassroots: The Autobiography of George McGovern. New York: Random House, 1977. viii, 307 pp. Senator McGovern was a vigorous opponent of the war.
Herbert R. McMaster, Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam. New York: HarperCollins, 1997. xviii, 446 pp.
H.R. McMaster, "Graduated Pressure: President Johnson and the Joint Chiefs." Joint Force Quarterly, no. 23 (Autumn/Winter 2000), pp. 83-89.
Robert S. McNamara was Secretary of Defense from 1961 to 1968.
Robert S. McNamara, with Brian VanDeMark, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. New York: Random House, 1995. xviii, 414 pp. The paperback (New York: Vintage, 1996) has one small but significant revision: a note in which McNamara backs away from his assertion in the original hardcover that there probably was a genuine attack by North Vietnamese vessels against US ships in the second Tonkin Gulf incident.
John T. Correll, "The Confessions of Robert S. McNamara". Editorial, Air Force Magazine, 78:6 (June 1995).
Lisa Marie Coutu, "Worshiping Issues of Debate and Debating Issues of Theology: Communication Codes in the Discourse of and about Robert S. McNamara's In Retrospect". Ph.D. dissertation, Speech, University of Washington, 1996. DA 9716827.
See also the roundtable on McNamara's book, involving Marilyn Young, Tom Wicker, Noam Chomsky, Edwin M. Yoder Jr., Ward Just, and Walt W. Rostow, in Diplomatic History 20:3 (Summer 1996), pp. 440-71. Rostow strongly defends the domino theory.
James G. Blight and Janet M. Lang, eds., The Fog of War: Lessons from the Life of Robert McNamara. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. xiii, 307 pp.
Paul Hendrickson, The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War. New York: Knopf, 1996. 427 pp. Said not to be very well written.
James Roherty, Decisions of Robert S. McNamara: A Study of the Role of the Secretary of Defense. Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami Press, 1970.
Deborah Shapley, Promise and Power. Boston: Little, Brown, 1993. xvii, 734 pp. A biography of Robert McNamara.
Henry L. Trewhitt, McNamara. New York: Harper & Row, 1971. xi, 307 pp.
Harry McPherson, A Political Education. Boston: Little, Brown, 1972. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1988. xxiii, 495 pp. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995. 467 pp. xix, 494 pp. McPherson, Special Assistant and Counsel to the President, 1965-1966, and Special Counsel to the President, 1966-1969, pushed for de-escalation of the war in 1968.
Carter Malkasian, "Toward a Better Understanding of Attrition: The Korean and Vietnam Wars." Journal of Military History, 68:3 (July 2004), pp. 911-42. I agree with Malkasian's main point--that attrition was not nearly as silly a policy as has sometimes been suggested--but I am not at all impressed by his analysis. The text is available online to subscribers on Project Muse.
Gil Merom, How Democracies Lose Small Wars: State, Society, and the Failures of France in Algeria, Israel in Lebanon, and the United States in Vietnam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. 310 pp.
Dennis Merrill, ed., The Documentary History of the Truman Presidency, vol. 32, The Emergence of an Asian Pacific Rim in American Foreign Policy: The Philippines, Indochina, Thailand, Burma, Malaya, and Indonesia. Bethesda, MD: University Publications of America, 2001.
Jeffrey H. Michaels "Helpless or Deliberate Bystander: American Policy towards South Vietnam’s Military Coups, 1954-1975,” Small Wars & Insurgencies, 25:3 (2014), pp. 560-583.
Richard M. Miller, Jr., Funding Extended Conflicts: Korea, Vietnam, and the War on Terror. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007. xviii, 179 pp. This rather short volume considers budgeting decisions on the Vietnam War from 1965 onward; it does not deal with the way President Johnson cut the military budget in 1964.
Robert Hopkins Miller, Vietnam and Beyond: A Diplomat's Cold War Education. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2002. xix, 247 pp. Miller served in the U.S. Embassy in Saigon from 1962 to 1965, then became director of the Vietnam Working Group in the State Department. Late in 1968, he went to Paris as an adviser to the U.S. delegation at the peace negotiations. His accounts of his personal experience are interesting, but when he deals with events for which it is possible to check the historical record, he is often startlingly inaccurate.
Jeffrey S. Milstein, Dynamics of the Vietnam War: A Quantitative Analysis and Predictive Computer Simulation. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1974. xv, 254 pp. A study of U.S. policymaking using mathematical models.
John S. Monagan, A Pleasant Institution: Key--C Major. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2002. 420 pp. Memoir by a congressman (Democrat of Connecticut) who I believe was on the House Foreign Affairs Committee for much of the Vietnam War.
Joseph G. Morgan, The Vietnam Lobby: The American Friends of Vietnam, 1955-1975. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997. xviii, 229 pp. The full text is available online if you browse the Internet through an institution that is affiliated with netLibrary, or if you are a paid subscriber of Questia.. The full text of my review of Morgan's book, written for H-Diplo, is available online.
Michael A. Morris, "The Problem of Control of American Military Interventions: Vietnam and the Dominican Republic." Ph.D. dissertation, Johns Hopkins University, Political Science, 1971. 317 pp. 73-31238. The focus is on the period from 1965 to 1970; the problem referred to in the title is control over the indiscriminate use of US firepower.
Henry Wayne Moyer, Jr., "Congressional Voting on Defense in World War II and Vietnam: Toward a General Ideological Explanation." Ph.D. dissertation, Political Science(?), Yale, 1976. 390 pp. DA 77-14294.
James G. Nathan, "The Tragic Enshrinement of Toughness", in Thomas G. Paterson, ed., Major Problems in American Foreign Policy, vol. II, Since 1914 (New York, 1984).
Jack Newfield, Robert Kennedy: A Memoir. New York: Dutton, 1969. 318 pp.
Frank Ninkovich, Modernity and Power: A History of the Domino Theory in the Twentieth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994. xviii, 418 pp. A very interesting and useful tracing of patterns of thinking about world politics among American leaders, and the ways symbolism came to be regarded as central to policy. There is surprisingly little comment on the relationship between what American leaders thought was happening, and what actually was happening.
Paul H. Nitze, with Ann M. Smith and Steven L. Rearden, From Hiroshima to Glasnost: At the Center of Decision: A Memoir. New York: G. Weidenfeld, 1989. xxii, 504 pp. Nitze was Assistant secretary of defense for International Security Affairs, 1961-1963. Secretary of the Navy, 1963-1967. Became Deputy Secretary of Defense in 1967.
Don Oberdorfer, Senator Mansfield: The Extraordinary Life of a Great American Statesman and Diplomat. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2003. xii, 593 pp. Oberdorfer knows enough about the war in Vietnam, which he covered as a reporter, so I would expect him to be able to deal well with the way Mike Mansfield, as Senate Majority Leader, dealt with the Vietnam War.
Gregory A. Olson, Mansfield and Vietnam: A Study in Rhetorical Adaptation. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1995. xi, 349 pp. The full text is available online if you browse the Internet through an institution that is affiliated with netLibrary or if you are a paid subscriber of Questia.
James C. Olson, Stuart Symington: A Life. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2003. At the height of the Vietnam War, Senator Symington (Democrat of Missouri) was serving on both the Foreign Relations and the Armed Services Committees. An enthusiast for air power, he started out hawkish on Vietnam, criticizing restrictions on the bombing of North Vietnam, but later became more dovish.
George K. Osborn, Asa A. Clark IV, Daniel J. Kaufman, and Douglas E. Lute, eds., Democracy, Strategy, and Vietnam: Implications for American Policymaking. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1987. xvi, 373 pp.
Joseph Anthony Palermo, "The Politics of Race and War: Robert F. Kennedy and the Democratic Party, 1965-1968." Ph.D. dissertation, Cornell, 1998. DA 9831240.
Joseph A. Palermo, In His Own Right: The Political Odyssey of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. xv, 349 pp.
Gregory Palmer, The McNamara Strategy and the Vietnam War: Program Budgeting in the Pentagon, 1960-1968. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1978.
F. Charles Parker IV, Vietnam: Strategy for a Stalemate. New York: Paragon House, 1989. xii, 257 pp. The author, a West Point graduate, commanded an artillery battery in Vietnam 1970-71 (the statement on the dust jacket that he commanded a battalion in Vietnam is almost certainly an error). His theses are interesting, but his evidence for them is seriously inadequate. Parker relies far too much on the information that was released to the public during the war; he should have done much more checking of government files to find out what the public sources were missing, or misunderstanding. In the early chapters of the book he may well be right when he argues that the Soviet Union deliberately enticed the United States into putting large military forces in Vietnam, and that the Johnson administration's policy was only for a short time based on an effort to achieve military victory; he says the Johnson administration abandoned this goal before the end of 1966. In the later chapters, much of what he says in connection with the Tet Offensive is clearly wrong. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Thomas G. Paterson, Meeting the Communist Threat: Truman to Reagan. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. xiv, 317 pp.
Kenneth Payne, The Psychology of Strategy: Exploring Rationality in the Vietnam War. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. xii, 222 pp. I have read only the Introduction. It seems to me that Payne is sensible about how to apply psychological research to policy-making. He seems careless about the distinction between strategy and tactics; I am not sure whether this is going to become a serious problem in the book.
The "Pentagon Papers" A detailed history of U.S. policy toward Vietnam, written inside the Defense Department between 1967 and 1969, accompanied by many of the documents that the authors had used as sources. Originally it was classified "top secret." Large portions were published in 1971, and the whole thing—I believe about 7,000 pages—is available online.
Geoffrey Perret, Commander in Chief: How Truman, Johnson, and Bush Turned a Presidential Power into a Threat to America's Future. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. x, 436 pp. The subtitle does not make me optimistic about this book. Nor does Daniel Margolies' review on H-Diplo, August 5, 2008.
Mark Perry, Four Stars: The Inside Story of the Forty-year Battle Between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and America's Civilian Leaders. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1989. xviii, 412 pp.
Charles Peters, Lyndon B. Johnson. New York: Times Books, 2010. xviii, 199 pp.
"The Politics of Troop Withdrawal" Conference held at the Miller Center for Public Affairs, University of Virginia, June 5-6, 2008. Audio and in most cases video recordings of the sessions are online at the conference web site. Many of the papers have also been published, more or less modified, in Diplomatic History 34:3 (June 2010).
Robert McMahon, "The Politics, and Geopolitics, of American Troop Withdrawals from Vietnam, 1968–1972." Published in Diplomatic History 34:3 (June 2010), pp. 471-483.
Comment by George Herring
"It's a Date: Kennedy and the Timetable for a Vietnam Troop Withdrawal." Published in Diplomatic History 34:3 (June 2010), pp. 485-495.
Ken Hughes, "Fatal Politics: The Nixon Tapes, Vietnam, and the 1972 Republican Presidential Landslide." Published in Diplomatic History 34:3 (June 2010), pp. 497-506, under the title "Fatal Politics: Nixon's Political Timetable for Withdrawing from Vietnam."
Comment by Fredrik Logevall
"Troop Withdrawals: Salted Peanuts or Doing More with Less?" Published in Diplomatic History
34:3 (June 2010), pp. 507-516, under the title "The Politics of Troop Withdrawal: Salted Peanuts, the Commitment Trap, and Buying Time."
Comment by Philip Zelikow
"To Negotiate or Bomb?: Congressional Prescriptions for Withdrawing U.S. Troops from Vietnam." Published in Diplomatic History
34:3 (June 2010), pp. 517-528.
Julian Zelizer, "Congress and the Politics of Troop Withdrawal, 1966–1973." Published in Diplomatic History 34:3 (June 2010), pp. 529-541, under the title "Congress and the Politics of Troop Withdrawal."
Comment by Randall Woods
"The Long Goodbye: TV News, Vietnamization, and U.S. Withdrawal from Vietnam, 1969–75." Published in Diplomatic History
34:3 (June 2010), pp. 555-565, under the title "'Our Worst Enemy Seems to Be the Press: TV News, the Nixon Administration, and U.S. Troop
Withdrawal from Vietnam, 1969–1973."
Melvin Small, "Bring the Boys Home Now! What We Can Learn from Antiwar Movement Strategies for U.S. Withdrawal from Vietnam." Published in Diplomatic History 34:3 (June 2010), pp. 543-553, under the title "Bring the Boys Home Now! Antiwar Activism and Withdrawal from Vietnam--and Iraq."
Comment by Ralph Levering
"Leaving Vietnam: Insights for Iraq?" Published in Diplomatic History
34:3 (June 2010), pp. 567-576.
Comment by Brig. Gen. Charles F. Brower
Bernard Kalb, Robert G. Kaiser, and Steven Lee Myers, roundtable, "The Politics of Withdrawal: The Case of Iraq"
"Out of Primordial Cultural Ooze: Inventing Political and Policy Legacies About the U.S. Exit from Vietnam" Published in Diplomatic History
34:3 (June 2010), pp. 577-587.
Mark Atwood Lawrence, "Too Late or Too Soon? Debating the Withdrawal from Vietnam in the Age of Terrorism." Published in Diplomatic History 34:3 (June 2010), pp. 589-600, under the title "Too Late or Too Soon? Debating the Withdrawal from Vietnam in the Age of Iraq." I thought this one was very good.
Comment by Robert Schulzinger
Andrew J. Polsky, Elusive Victory: The American Presidency at War. Oxford University Press, 2012. 445 pp. The chapter on Johnson and Nixon in Vietnam is pp. 202-272.
Peter A. Poole, Eight Presidents and Indochina. Krieger, 1978.
Peter A. Poole, The United States and Indochina: From FDR to Nixon. Dryden Press, 1973.
John Prados, Keepers of the Keys: A History of the National Security Council from Truman to Bush. New York: Morrow, 1991. 632 pp.
John Prados, ed., The White House Tapes: Eavesdropping on the President. New York: The New Press, 2003. xviii, 331 pp., accompanied by eight CDs. Transcripts of recorded conversations of presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan, with extensive introduction, and occasionally the texts of relevant documents. The complete recordings are on the compact discs that accompany the volume. There is a a significant amount of material relating to Vietnam for Lyndon Johnson, and some for John Kennedy and Richard Nixon.
Presidential Recordings Program, Miller Center for Public Affairs, University of Virginia. Recordings of conversations of presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Richard Nixon, available online as audio and sometimes transcripts.
Andrew Preston, The War Council: McGeorge Bundy, the NSC, and Vietnam. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006. xi, 320 pp.
Tracey Ann Quigley, "Unheard and unheeded: The rhetoric of military dissent in the debate over Vietnam." Ph.D. dissertation, Communication Arts and Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, 2005. x, 347 pp. AAT 3172998. Particular emphasis on Marine Corps Generals David Shoup and Victor Krulak. The full text is available online if you are browsing the Internet from an institution, such as Clemson University, that has a subscription to ProQuest "Dissertations and Theses: Full Text."
Aaron Rapport, Waging War, Planning Peace: U.S. Noncombat Operations and Major Wars. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015. xvi, 266 pp. A look at the way the United States habitually fails to plan adequately for what it will do after the combat phase of a war, to ensure that military victory will actually lead to achievement of American goals. Based to a large extent on the field of psychological research known as "construal level theory" (CLT). The Johnson administration's policy toward Vietnam, 1964-65, is one of its four case studies.
Jeffrey Record, Making War, Thinking History: Munich, Vietnam, and Presidential Uses of Force from Korea to Kosovo. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2002. 216 pp.
George Reedy, Lyndon B. Johnson: A Memoir. New York, 1982.
Robert V. Remini, The House: The History of the House of Representatives. New York: Smithsonian Books, 2006. x, 614 pp.
Thomas E. Ricks, The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today. New York: Penguin, 2012. 558 pp.
Brian D. Ripley, "Rethinking Groupthink: Foreign Policy Decision-Making in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations." Ph.D. dissertation, Political Science, Ohio State, 1989.
Charles Roberts, LBJ's Inner Circle. Introduction by Pierre Salinger. New York: Delacorte, 1965. By a Washington journalist.
Ron Robin, The Making of the Cold War Enemy: Culture and Politics in the Military-Industrial Complex. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001. xvi, 277 pp. A bitter critique of the role of American behavioral scientists (mostly psychologists, sociologists, and political scientists) in the Cold War. Charges that many of these people supported America's Cold-War hostilities in a very simple-minded fashion. Greatest emphasis on the Korean War, but also significant attention to Vietnam, especially the role of the Rand Corporation.
Norborne Robinson, The Vietnam Victory Option. Gram Press, 1993. 248 pp. Argues that the war could have been won by bombing the dikes in North Vietnam.
Douglas Ross, Robert F. Kennedy, Apostle of Change: A Review of his Public Record with Analysis. New York: Pocket Books, 1968. xxi, 600 pp. The shifts in Kennedy's views on Vietnam are traced, with extended quotes, on pp. 498-538. Note: The long excerpts from Kennedy's statements on "Face the Nation" (CBS-TV), November 26, 1967, in which Kennedy took a startlingly radical anti-war position, are mistakenly identified as coming from "Issues and Answers" (ABC-TV), June 17, 1962.
Walt W. Rostow first became conspicuous as a "hawk" on Vietnam, advocating more vigorous military action, in 1961. From March 1966 onward, he was Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (National Security Adviser) to President Johnson. See also above under Oral Histories, Frontline Diplomacy, and Robert McNamara.
David Grossman Armstrong, "The true believer: Walt Whitman Rostow and the path to Vietnam." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 2000. AAT 9992746. xiii, 1061 pp. About half of this massive biography deals with Rostow's life up through 1960, and about half with with his role in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.
Mark Henry Haefele, "Walt Rostow, Modernization, and Vietnam: Stages of Theoretical Growth." Ph.D. dissertation, History, Harvard, 2000. 420 pp.
David Milne, "'Our Equivalent of guerrilla warfare'": Walt Rostow and the Bombing of North Vietnam, 1961-1968." Journal of Military History, 71:1 (January 2007), pp. 169-203.
David Milne, America's Rasputin: Walt Rostow and the Vietnam War. New York: Hill and Wang (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), 2008. xi, 320 pp. I have not read the whole book, but I got curious about one issue, and read pp. 136-37 carefully, and checked the sources cited. I found a distressing degree of carelessness. One quote I could not find at all in the location cited in note 17. Checking two other quotes, I discovered they were being misrepresented, by quotation out of context (notes 19, 23).
Walt W. Rostow, Concept and Controversy: Sixty Years of Taking Ideas to Market. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003. xii, 454 pp. The chapter on Vietnam is relatively short. Rostow says that when he was Lyndon Johnson's national security adviser, he tried to persuade Johnson to send troops into Laos to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Walt W. Rostow, The Diffusion of Power: An Essay in Recent History. New York: Macmillan, 1972. xx, 739 pp. This book has much more discussion of Vietnam than the one immediately above. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Walt W. Rostow, The United States and the Regional Organization of Asia and the Pacific, 1965-1985. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986. xv, 265 pp.
There are a lot of memos by Walt Rostow available online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University. Most are very short, but a few are interesting, either for Rostow's own views of for the documents written by others, which Rostow was forwarding to the President:
Rostow memo to President Johnson, July 12, 1967, summarizing for the President the content of back-channel cables from Robert Komer (head of CORDS) and Deputy U.S. Ambassador Eugene Locke, proposing U.S. actions. I am especially interested in one suggestion in Rostow's summary of Komer, the the U.S. military should be instructed to "produce up-to-date estimate of enemy strength" and "stop building up enemy in order to justify more troops." In fact the U.S. military at this time was underestimating enemy strength, not overestimating it.
Rostow memo to President Johnson, March 9, 1968, forwarding to the President a memo by General Maxwell Taylor on the implications of the Tet Offensive. Taylor's memo is remarkable in summarizing both optimistic and pessimistic evaluations of the situation in rational, realistic forms.
Rostow memo to President Johnson, March 14, 1968, forwarding to the President a memo by Carl Marcy of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Staff, which Rostow described, with some exaggeration, as a proposal for "withdrawal from Asia."
Rostow memo to President Johnson, marked "Literally Eyes Only," March 21, 1968, suggesting several possible actions, including mining North Vietnamese harbors, invading the southern panhandle of North Vietnam, and invading southern Laos to block the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Richard H. Rovere, Reflections on United States Policy. London: Bodley Head, 1968. 116 pp.
Richard H. Rovere, Waist Deep in the Big Muddy: Personal Reflections on 1968. Boston: Little, Brown, 1968. ix, 116 pp.
Dean Rusk, as told to Richard Rusk, As I Saw It. New York: Norton,1990. 672 pp. pb New York: Penguin, 1991. 672 pp.
Vivienne Sanders, The USA and Vietnam, 1945-75. 2d ed. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2002. vi, 154 pp.
Elizabeth Nathan Saunders, "Wars of Choice: Leadership, Threat Perception, and Military Interventions." Ph.D. dissertation, Yale, 2007. v, 405 pp. AAT 3293376. A study of decisions by Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson.
Elizabeth N. Saunders, Leaders at War: How Presidents Shape Military Intervention. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011. ix, 203 pp.
Howard B. Schaffer, Chester Bowles: New Dealer in the Cold War. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993. xii, 387 pp.
Herbert Y. Schandler, The Unmaking of a President: Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977. xx, 419 pp. Contains some interesting material from Schandler's interviews with key people.
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Robert Kennedy and His Times. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978. xvii, 1066 pp.
John M. Schuessler, Deceit on the Road to War: Presidents, Politics, and American Democrac. Ithaca: cornell University Press, 2015. xi, 176 pp. LBJ's policy in Vietnam is pp. 59-92.
Franz Schurmann, Peter Dale Scott, and Reginald Zelnik, The Politics of Escalation in Vietnam. Boston: Beacon Press, 1966. 160 pp. Chapter 4 (pp. 44-61), "The Kosygin Visit and the Bonbing of North Vietnam (January - February 1965)" has been placed online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Orrin Schwab, Defending the Free World: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and the Vietnam War, 1961-1965. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 1998. x, 243 pp.
Lawrence W. Serewicz, America at the Brink of Empire: Rusk, Kissinger, and the Vietnam War. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2007. x, 233 pp. Vague and repetitious, without the detailed analysis that might have made the sweeping generalizations more convincing. For further comments see my review of the book, written for H-1960s.
Jeff Shesol, Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, and the Feud that Defined a Decade. New York: Norton, 1997. xi, 591 pp.
Richard H. Shultz, Jr., "The Great Divide: Strategy and Covert Action in Vietnam." Joint Force Quarterly, no. 23 (Autumn/Winter 2000), pp. 90-96. Argues that the U.S. military leadership never saw great value in SOG, and the sort of covert operations it conducted.
Kent G. Sieg, "'A Straw in the Wind': The Johnson Administration and the Paris Talks on Vietnam, 1968-1969." Ph.D. Dissertation, History, University of Colorado, 1993. ix, 525 pp. DA9423540.
Rolf Norman Sigford, "The Rhetoric of the Vietnam War: Presidents Johnson and Nixon." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1973. 220 pp. 74-10647.
Melvin Small, Johnson, Nixon, and the Doves. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1988. xv, 319 pp.
Melvin Small, "The Election of 1968." Diplomatic History 28:4 (September 2004), pp. 513-528. Quite interesting.
Melvin Small, At the Water's Edge: American Politics and the Vietnam War. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2005. xi, 241 pp.
James M. Sproule, "The Case for a Wider War: A Study of the Administration Rationale for Commitment to Vietnam, 1964-1967." Ph.D. dissertation, Speech, Ohio State, 1973. 352 pp. 74-3322. Includes analysis of anti-war reactions to the rationale.
Ralph Stavins, Richard J. Barnet, and Marcus G. Raskin, Washington Plans an Aggressive War. New York: Random House, 1971. x, 374 pp.
Laura Szumanski Steel, "In the name of the father: The American Catholic Church and United States foreign policy during the Vietnam War. Ph.D. dissertation, History, Temple University, 2005. 473 pp. AAT 3178832. The full text is available online if you are browsing the Internet from an institution, such as Clemson University, that has a subscription to ProQuest "Dissertations and Theses: Full Text."
Blema S. Steinberg, Shame and Humiliation: Presidential Decision Making on Vietnam. Pittsburg: University of Pittsburg Press, 1996. ix, 397 pp. A psycho-history of US presidential decisionmaking on Vietnam.
John C. Stennis (and J. William Fulbright?), The Role of Congress in Foreign Policy. Washington: American Enterprise Institute, 1971.
Charles A. Stevenson, Warriors and Politicians: Civil-Military Relations Under Stress. Routledge, 2006. A comparative study, from the American Revolution onward, of the stresses involved in the way the U.S. military must serve multiple civilian masters (except in the Revolutioanary War, both president and Congress). One of the twelve chapters is "Managing the Vietnam War" (pp. 52-78) and another is "The McNamara Revolution" (pp. 152-164).
Gary Steven Stone, "The Senate and the Vietnam War, 1964-1968." Ph.D. dissertation, History, Columbia, 2000. 513 pp. AAT 9970290.
Gary Stone, Elites for Peace: The Senate and the Vietnam War, 1964-1968. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2007. xxxiv, 302 pp.
Michael P. Sullivan, The Vietnam War: A Study in the Making of American Foreign Policy. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 1985. The section I have read (first 32 pages) didn't look very good.
William H. Sullivan, Obbligato: Notes on a Foreign Service Career. New York: Norton, 1984. Sullivan came to Saigon in mid 1964 with Maxwell Taylor, then after about five months went to Vientiane as US Ambassador to Laos. He later participated in the US negotiating team at the Paris peace talks.
Nina Tannenwald, "Nuclear Weapons and the Vietnam War," The Journal of Strategic Studies, 29:4 (August 2006), pp. 675-722.
John M. Taylor, General Maxwell Taylor: The Sword and the Pen. New York: Doubleday, 1989. xvii, 457 pp. The author, the son of Maxwell Taylor, has been an intelligence officer.
General Maxwell D. Taylor, Swords and Plowshares. New York: Norton, 1972. 434 pp. Memoir by the man who played a crucial role in policy decisions on Vietnam from 1961 to 1965, though his recommendations were often rejected.
Marek Thee, "War and Peace in Indochina: US Asian and Pacific Policies." Journal of Peace Research, vol. 10, no. 1/2 (1973), pp. 51-70. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access the text online.
Evan Thomas, Robert Kennedy: His Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000. 509 pp.
Nicholas Thompson, The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War. Henry Holt, 2009. 403 pp. I don't know how much this says about the Vietnam War.
James C. Thomson, Jr., "How Could Vietnam Happen? - An Autopsy" (available online to subscribers), The Atlantic Monthly, April 1968, pp. 47-53.
James C. Thomson, Jr., "Getting Out and Speaking Out." Foreign Policy no. 13 Winter 1973-1974), pp. 49-69. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access the text online.
Ingo Trauschweizer, The Cold War U.S. Army: Building Deterrence for Limited War. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2008. 416 pp. The main focus in on the way the Army shaped itself to defend Western Europe against the Soviet Union, but there is some discussion of the interaction between that mission and the Vietnam War.
Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, "A Matter of Will: Sir Robert Thompson, Malaya, and the Failure of American Strategy in Vietnam." Ph.D. dissertation, Georgetown University, History, 2004. 391 pp. AAT 3148622.
Robert W. Tucker, Nation or Empire? The Debate over American Foreign Policy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1968. vi, 160 pp.
Pasi Tuunainen, The Role of Presidential Advisory Systems in US Foreign Policy-Making: The Case of the National Security Council and Vietnam, 1953-1961. Helsinki, Finland: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2001. 523 pp.
Stephen W. Twing, Myths, Models and U.S. Foreign Policy: The Cultural Shaping of Three Cold Warriors. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1998. ix, 213 pp. Deals with John Foster Dulles, W. Averell Harriman, and Robert S. McNamara.
The U.S. Army War College and the Military History Institute associated with it have had a variety of oral history programs over the years, including the Senior Officers Debriefing Program and the Senior Officers Oral History Program. An impressive number of oral histories from these various programs have recently been placed online in the Army Heritage Collection Online. Some of those containing discussion of broad policy issues are:
General Donald V. Bennett, oral history interviews. A 370-page .pdf file made up of numerous sections paginated separately. The very interesting discussion of the Pentagon's handling of the buildup in Vietnam starts on the 216th page of the overall .pdf file. Bennett was a brigadier general in Strategic Plans, crucially involved in the process.
General James F. Collins, oral history interviews conducted in 1976. A 222-page .pdf file, in multiple sections paginated separately. General Collins was commander in chief, U.S. Army, Pacific, from 1961 to 1964. He discusses various aspects of Vietnam.
General Harold K. Johnson, vol. II, oral history interviews conducted in 1972 and 1973. A 209-page .pdf file. This starts in 1960, when Johnson became commandant of the Command and General Staff College, and goes through the end of his career in 1968. Includes broad discussion of the way the Defense Department functioned under McNamara, military-civilian relationships, etc.
General Harold K. Johnson, vol. III, oral history interviews conducted in 1973. A 222-page .pdf file. This starts with the Tonkin Gulf incidents of August 1964, which occurred just after Johnson became Army Chief of Staff (and the details of which he does not remember clearly), and goes to the end of his career.
General Maxwell D. Taylor, oral history interviews conducted 1973. A 253-page .pdf file made up of several sections paginated separately, without a real table of contents. Some of this is quite interesting. Discussion of Taylor's service with the Kennedy administration begins on the 152d page of the overall file, in Section 4. Section 5 starts with the issue of bombing the North.
General Volney R. Warner, oral history interviews conducted in 1983. viii, 236 pp. plus appendices. Warner was province senior adviser for Kien Giang province, 1963-1964, and returned very disenchanted with the war. He worked quite a bit on Vietnam as a staff officer in the Pentagon, 1965-1967. He was military assistant to the special assistant to the president on Vietnam affairs, 1967-68. Then he served another Vietnam tour 1969-1970, initially as commander of the 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, then as assisant chief of staff, G-5, II Field Force.
General John K. Waters, vol. III, oral history interviews conducted in 1980. pp. i, 393-580. Waters was commander of USARPAC from 1964 to 1966. He was an advocate of cutting the Ho Chi Minh Trail on the ground; he says Sharp opposed this as unnecessary, and the logistics people opposed it as impossible.
The U.S. Senate Historical Office does oral histories, not only of senators, but also of staff members. Some of the oral histories are now becoming available, in full, on the web site of the Senate Oral History Project. Among those relevant to the Vietnam War are the oral histories of Carl M. Marcy (Chief of Staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 1955-1973 except when on leave) and Pat M. Holt (who would be acting Chief of Staff when Marcy was on leave, and became the regular Chief of Staff at the beginning of 1974). The oral history of George A. Smathers (Democratic senator from Florida, 1951 to 1969) appears to be an example of the pitfalls of doing oral history long after the events. Smathers' memory is spectacularly inaccurate on Vietnam-related issues. He thinks, for example, that Senator J. William Fulbright conspicuously opposed passage of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution (p. 102), and that the reason the United States lost the Vietnam War was that the United States was unable to match the number of troops the Chinese put in (p. 104).
Jack Valenti, A Very Human President. New York: Norton, 1975. xii, 402 pp.
Francis R. Valeo, Mike Mansfield, Majority Leader: A Different Kind of Senate, 1961-1976. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1999. xi, 284 pp. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Brian Vandemark, Into the Quagmire: Lyndon Johnson and the Escalation of the Vietnam War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. xvi, 268 pp. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
William Vanden Heuvel and William Gwirtzman, On His Own: Robert F. Kennedy, 1964-1968. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1970. xii, 393 pp.
Frank E. Vandiver, Shadows of Vietnam: Lyndon Johnson's Wars. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1997. xv, 396 pp. Favorable to LBJ. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Vietnam, 1940 to April 30, 1968: what U.S. officials said and what happened. Alternate title The Vietnam War: A record of statements by U.S. officials . . . Prepared by the Publications Divison of the Republican National Committee under the direction of Felix Cotten. n.p., 1968 (mimeographed). 734 pp.
Matthew A. Wasniewski, "Walter Lippmann, Strategic Internationalism, the Cold War, and Vietnam, 1943-1967." Ph.D. dissertation, History, University of Maryland, College Park, 2004. AAT 3139091. 664 pp. Lippmann was a very influential political columnist.
W. Marvin Watson, with Sherwin Markman, Chief of Staff: Lyndon Johnson and His Presidency. New York: Thomas Dunne (St. Martin's), 2004. ix, 353 pp. Watson was not formally chief of staff in LBJ's White House--nobody held that title--but he was about as close as LBJ had to a chief of staff.
Edward Weintal & Charles Bartlett, Facing the Brink: An Intimate Study of Crisis Diplomacy. New York: Scribner's, 1967. vi, 248 pp. By two journalists.
Arnold N. Weintraub, "The Public Statements and Speeches of Robert F. Kennedy on the Vietnam War Issue." Ph.D. dissertation, Speech, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 1975. 471 pp. 76-4502.
Ralph White, Nobody Wanted War: Misperception in Vietnam and Other Wars. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1968. xii, 347 pp.
James Wirtz, "The 'Unlessons' of Vietnam," Defense Analysis, 17:1 (April 2001), pp. 41-58. A surprisingly comprehensive, but not always accurate, summary of the ways various people have attempted to draw lessons from the war.
David Wise, The Politics of Lying: Government Deception, Secrecy, and Power. New York: Random House, 1973. 415 pp. New York: Vintage, 1973. xiv, 614 pp.
Charles Wolf, Jr., Some Aspects of the "Value" of Southeast Asia to the United States, rev. ed. P-2649-1. Santa Monica, CA: Rand, April 1963. 20 pp. Very interesting as an illustration of certain Cold War mindsets. Wolf assumed that the Chinese and Soviets were trying to conquer Asia, and that local Communists were their proxies. He assumed (despite the longstanding counterexample of Burma) that the drive of Communist conquest was too strong for any nation to resist by its own efforts; for any Southeast Asian country to reject alignment with the United States was equivalent to renouncing its own independence (p. 18).
Jeff Woods, Richard B. Russell: Southern Nationalism and American Foreign Policy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. xxi, 173 pp. A very powerful conservative Democratic senator from Georgia.
Randall B. Woods, LBJ: Architect of American Ambition. New York: Free Press, 2006. x, 1007 pp. A very sympathetic biography.
Francis D. Wormuth, The Vietnam War: The President versus the Constitution. Center Occasional Papers, Volume 1, number 3. Santa Barbara, CA: Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, April 1968. 63 pp. The text has been placed online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Lt. Col. Paul Yingling, "A Failure in Generalship", Armed Forces Journal, May 2007. Argues that the leaders of the US military collectively failed their responsibilities both in Vietnam and in Iraq.
Thomas W. Zeiler, Dean Rusk: Defending the American Mission Abroad. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2000. xxvi, 235 pp.
For a lot of articles revealing the attitude of the U.S. Army on policy
issues, see the journals
published by the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and
published by the U.S. Army War College.
Huge amounts of documentation on U.S. policy, most of it available online, can be found under
See Microfilmed, CD-ROM, and Online Document Collections for extensive collections of documents on U.S. policy, especially from the files of the National Security Council.
See The Pentagon Papers.
See Presidential Documents.
See The Role of the United States, 1941-1954 for works on that period.
See Temporary Peace and Renewed War, 1954-1964 for works on that period, especially on the Kennedy Administration.
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Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, Edwin E. Moise. This document may be reproduced only by permission. March 10, 2017.