The Kennedy Withdrawal: Camelot and the American Commitment to Vietnam

Product Details
Harvard University Press
Publish Date
6.4 X 8.9 X 1.8 inches | 1.35 pounds

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About the Author
Marc J. Selverstone heads the acclaimed Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia's Miller Center, where he edits the secret White House tapes of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon. He has written for the Washington Post, Atlantic, and U.S. News and World Report and appeared on C-Span radio. He is the author of Constructing the Monolith: The United States, Great Britain, and International Communism, 1945-1950, winner of the Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and is Associate Professor in Presidential Studies at the University of Virginia.
This pathbreaking book redefines the terms of the long-running debate over John Kennedy's Vietnam withdrawal plan. Weaving analysis and narrative together in compelling fashion, Selverstone cuts through the Camelot mythology to reveal the bureaucratic and political origins of the plan, as well as the reasons for its subsequent abandonment. A major contribution from a preeminent historian of JFK's foreign policies.--Edward Miller, author of Misalliance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and the Fate of South Vietnam
A splendid work. I doubt there is any scholar anywhere who knows the archival material better than Selverstone does, and he is surely unsurpassed in his familiarity with the Kennedy tapes. His prose is consistently smooth, clear, and engaging. This book will be the go-to account on Kennedy and the Vietnam War for a long time to come.--Fredrik Logevall, author of JFK and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Embers of War
With the precision of a surgeon's scalpel, the courage of a mountaineer, and the storytelling instincts of a mystery writer, Selverstone tackles head-on one of the most tantalizing what-ifs in modern history. The Kennedy Withdrawal weighs all the evidence, from every angle, to render a verdict that is at once surprising, convincing, and authoritative. This will surely be the definitive account of JFK's intentions in Vietnam.--Andrew Preston, author of American Foreign Relations: A Very Short Introduction
Had JFK lived, would he have withdrawn from Vietnam or sent in American regular troops, as Johnson did? This question has been a matter of intense debate since the war ended in 1975. Selverstone provides a fascinating look at what the president and his advisors said about the war in private, and what that can tell us about Kennedy's views on withdrawal.--Frances FitzGerald, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam
Offers an intriguing deep dive into a topic long debated among scholars of the Vietnam War: had President Kennedy not been assassinated, would he have followed through on his plans to withdraw U.S. troops, or drastically escalated the conflict, as his successor Lyndon Johnson did?...Scrupulous and revealing, this is a persuasive answer to one of the Vietnam War's biggest what-ifs.-- "Publishers Weekly" (8/8/2022 12:00:00 AM)