978-1-56663-087-0 / 9781566630870

Pay Any Price: Lyndon Johnson and the Wars for Vietnam


Publisher:Ivan R. Dee



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About the book:

Lloyd C. Gardner traces the trajectory of the Vietnam War from police action to international conflict, showing how its conduct coincided with Lyndon Johnson's attachment to social programs meant to improve the lives of the world's poor. By introducing such tangled political elements into a military problem, Gardner argues, Johnson cast a certain unreality on the whole affair. "If one could go to the moon," Gardner imagines a loyalist reasoning, "and if one could help grandma with new medical miracles, surely it would be possible to convince Ho Chi Minh to accept a dam on the Mekong River instead of a residence in Saigon." Manipulated by Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara, Johnson believed that his schemes of regional economic development would bear him out as a savior of the world's oppressed---whether the oppressed asked for his help or not. Gardner's suggestion that Vietnam can be seen as a moral drama played out in the dark recesses of LBJ's conscience is intriguing, and he backs it up with careful scholarship.

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