THE WAR AT HOME: Vietnam and the American People, 1964-1968 by Thomas Powers

THE WAR AT HOME: Vietnam and the American People, 1964-1968

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Powers recognizes that his thesis is controversial. To argue that the anti-Vietnam War movement succeeded, that in the end ""it prevailed"" (it forced Johnson out, forced him to turn ""from escalation to disengagement,"" forced his successor to carry out the inevitable scenario) is to open up a can of radical worms. The obvious rebuttal is that American power has not yet been expunged from Southeast Asia, that even a waterlogged President continues unloading a bag of dirty tricks on the Cambodian peasantry. Powers covers all of this with the rather disingenuous remark that ""The aftermath has been a kind of endgame, bloody, bitter, and costly, but also inexorable."" We hope that he is as good an analyst as he is reporter. For what occurs in most of this book is a quite reasonable recapitulation of the activities of the protest effort during 1964-68, from LBJ's dissembling election promises to his withdrawal almost four years later. The Spocks, I. F. Stones, Kings, Kennedys, marches, Lowensteins, McCarthys, freaks, Stop-the-Drafters, resisters who had only ""the tool of life"" to give, the SDSers, the Jared lsraels, the Abzugs, the Lynds, the Dellingers all appear in mufti, side-by-dignified-side with the Rusks, McNamaras, Ronmeys, the generals, the bestests and brightests, the Lyndons in establishment three-button -- all doing their thing. As Powers says, ""There is little here that was not available at the time to those who knew where to look."" As a history of protest, we say fight on; as a polemic that the War has ended, we say you gotta be kiddin' baby.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1973
Publisher: Grossman