JFK and Vietnam: Deception, Intrigue, and the Struggle for Power (2nd Edition)
The gift of time may be measured by increment and achievement. Rarely is an historian allowed to reflect upon their own works from the vantage point of 25 years beyond the initial publication. This volume, JFK and Vietnam, second edition, represents the continuation of Dr. John M. Newman's research, progress in his understanding and perceptions, and the fascinating sequence of events that unfolded following publication in 1992.
This edition is the culmination of a rich tapestry of extraordinary developments which include the author's access to previously unavailable subjects and materials, analysis of newly released government documents, and the consequential relationship that was formed between Dr. Newman and former Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara following the book's debut.
JFK and Vietnam received high praise from Kirkus Reviews and Publisher's Weekly. It was favorably reviewed by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. in the New York Times Book Review.
Elsewhere the book caused a media firestorm with proponents of conflicting views making absolute declarations in opposition to Dr. Newman's basic thesis: Kennedy was opposed to committing U.S. combat forces to the war in Vietnam and was withdrawing the U.S. advisors at the time of his assassination in November 1963. The president’s position led those favoring intervention to concoct a story of battlefield success to prevent a complete withdrawal from Vietnam. Dr. Newman’s research detailed the accounts and admission of officers who had never before spoken for the record about the false representations of Viet Cong troop statistics and performance on the battlefield. Kennedy ordered Defense Secretary McNamara to use that myth of success to justify the withdrawal that began in the fall of 1963.
An intense struggle erupted in the administration over the president’s decision to withdraw. Newman reveals how Kennedy tried to avoid publicly endorsing the fiction of success, and how his opponents quickly pivoted to telling the truth about the failing war effort in the days before the president’s tragic murder in Dallas.
JFK and Vietnam uses incontrovertible documentary evidence to prove the reversal of Kennedy’s withdrawal plan by President Johnson, who ordered key changes be made to a National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM 273) two days after the assassination. Those changes opened the door to the direct use of conventional American military forces in Vietnam.
In its original form, JFK and Vietnam was a landmark work that illuminated the false calculations, mistakes, manipulations, deceptions and intrigue which led to the Vietnam War. A quarter century later, JFK and Vietnam, second edition, expands upon and adds to what so powerfully defined its original impact.