Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War.
This brilliant, explosive and passionate book reveals the Vietnam War as we never before have seen it - through the prism of Robert McNamara's crucial and tangled decision-making. It is a book that examines not only the genesis - in McNamara's life and character - of his wartime decisions, but how they altered forever the fates of four men and a woman who, beyond their own human importance, might be said to stand for all who were caught in the maelstrom that was Vietnam.
Hendrickson shows in detail the life and times of Rober McNamara - from his youth to his decisions during the war, to after his resignation, while the war was still being waged. And in McNamara's looming shadow we are shown, in equally intense detail, five people who were caught up in the wake of his life-and-death decisions:
- an artist whose long-harboured rage erupts on a Massachusetts ferry as he tries to kill McNamara, by then retired from the Cabinet;
- a young marine physically and psychologically scarred by a Vietnam battle;
- a Quaker who immolated himself in protest outside the Pentagon;
- a nurse desperate to believe her agonies in Vietnam were for a good cause;
- a member of a Saigon family enlisted, and then tragically abandoned by the Americans.
More than a decade in the making, this book is meticulously researched, astonishing in its revelations, and often in conflict with McNamara's own version of events. This monumental work about power, its abuses, and its victims will forever change our view of the war that changed the world.
Contains black and white photographs.