Cover

Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xi

My interest in American intellectuals and the Vietnam War developed, and subsequently became my dissertation topic, during my years as a graduate student at New York University. I thank my professors, who constantly challenged and motivated me: Paul Baker, Patricia Bonomi, Vincent Carosso, Carl Prince, David Reimers, Albert Romasco, Frederick...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

Looking back on his years of service as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam, novelist Philip Caputo wrote, “I was full of turbulent emotions and disordered thoughts, and I could not shake that weird sensation of being split in two.”1 One of the best-received American authors of the war, Caputo highlighted the turmoil, confusion, and moral ambiguity of the experience....

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Chapter 1: A Long Time in the Comin’: American Intellectuals and the Cold War, 1945–1963

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pp. 9-32

“It is one of the marks of a great power that it never admits a mistake or failure, and the United States is no exception.”1 Carey McWilliams and the Nation’s editorial board were thus among the first American intellectuals to call attention to and protest American policy in Southeast Asia. Both the Nation and the New Republic repeatedly addressed...

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Chapter 2: Consensus and Commitment: American Intellectuals and Vietnam, 1954–1963

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pp. 33-84

American involvement in Vietnam began during World War II, when operatives of the Office of Special Services (OSS) aided the Viet Minh, led by Ho Chi Minh, and various other guerrilla groups opposed to the occupying Japanese. The Americans provided military advice and arms during the war, and attempted to change their role from a military...

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Chapter 3: The Search for Order: From Diem to Pleiku, November 1963–January 1965

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pp. 85-116

On November 2, 1963, Ngo Dinh Diem was assassinated in Saigon. Three weeks later, on November 22, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. In retrospect, both events proved to be highly significant turning points in the histories of their respective nations. Diem’s death marked...

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Chapter 4: Skepticism and Dissent: From Rolling Thunder to Tet, February 1965–January 1968

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pp. 117-166

On February 7, 1965, Viet Cong guerrillas staged a series of attacks on American military installations in South Vietnam, most notably the airfield in Pleiku, just outside Saigon. Eight Americans were killed, and over a hundred injured. Within hours, President Johnson convened top security advisers in Washington, and authorized “Operation...

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Chapter 5: The Collapse of the Liberal Consensus, 1968

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pp. 167-203

During the week of January 31, 1968, on the occasion of Tet, the Vietnamese lunar New Year celebration, Hanoi launched a major offensive. The North Vietnamese intended to jolt American military operations in South Vietnam through this series of coordinated military escalations, many of which were staged in conventional rather than characteristic...

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Chapter 6: The Twilight of Liberalism, 1969–1975

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pp. 204-235

The embattled intellectual camps which had been formed by the end of 1968 provided the basis for a new intellectual diversity, which intensified during the remainder of the Vietnam era. However, intellectuals themselves frequently disliked this new diversity, and increasingly came to view it as part of an overall national decline. These camps shared...

Notes

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pp. 237-268

Bibliography

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pp. 269-280

Index

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pp. 281-292

About the Author

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p. 293