THE LIMITS OF INTERVENTION: An Inside Account of How the Johnson Policy of Escalation in Vietnam was Reversed by Townsend Hoopes

THE LIMITS OF INTERVENTION: An Inside Account of How the Johnson Policy of Escalation in Vietnam was Reversed

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Hoopes' book is ""first a memoir and then, perhaps, a history"" of the six months of vitriol and vacillation over Vietnam that culminated in LBJ's bombshell announcement of March 31, 1968, that he was refusing military requests for a major new infusion of troops, proclaiming a partial bombing halt, asking North Vietnam for negotiations, and withdrawing from the 1968 Presidential race. Obviously there is no attempt at impartiality in a book which calls the war an ""intractable tragedy"" on the first page, and in the course of the narrative Hoopes (as Under Secretary of the Air Force) politely plies his superiors with increasingly dovish memoranda. But the real hero of the story is Clark Clifford, newly appointed Secretary of Defense, whose own personal volte-face to the dove faction (et tu, Clark?) was decisive in bringing the President round. Hoopes gives some consideration to how we got in (a ""fateful combination"" of LBJ's uncertainty in foreign affairs and his advisors' simplistic Cold War dogmatism) and how we can get out, but his real contribution is the clearly written inside information on the Administration in work and fray.

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 1969
Publisher: McKay