978-0-684-85644-5 / 9780684856445

The Color of Truth: McGeorge Bundy and William Bundy: Brothers in Arms


Publisher:Simon & Schuster



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About the book:

This dual biography of the brothers who were top aides to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson is an outstanding study of the mindset that allowed the United States to become slowly ensnared in the Vietnam War. Both McGeorge Bundy, a national security advisor, and William Bundy, a senior official at the Pentagon and State Department, were liberal anti-Communists trying to balance American interests in Southeast Asia between what they considered the dangerous extremes of both Left and Right. They came under enormous criticism for their roles, but author Kai Bird argues that newly declassified documents "show that the Bundys and other decision-makers registered deep doubts about the American enterprise in Vietnam and did so far earlier than most historians had thought." This hardly exonerates them, in Bird's view: "They knew how badly the war was going as early as 1964-65, yet they found a way to persist in folly." Their tale didn't end in the 1960s. McGeorge Bundy, for instance, went on to head the Ford Foundation for 13 years, where he played an enormously important role in shaping modern liberalism. Bird, a Guggenheim Fellow and contributing editor to The Nation, tells the Bundys' story with great clarity and sound judgment; The Color of Truth is a surprisingly absorbing book. --John Miller

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