Book Discussion on In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam

Mr. Robert McNamara discussed his book, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, published by Times Books. The book… read more

Mr. Robert McNamara discussed his book, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, published by Times Books. The book deals with his life and career as a public servant, focusing on his role as the secretary of defense from 1961 to 1968 during the Johnson and Kennedy administrations. According to Mr. McNamara, U.S. policy was based on a “domino” theory in which the loss of Vietnam would initiate a collapse of nations, which could include the United States. In the book, he identified eleven reasons for the outcome in Vietnam and six stages at which the U. S. withdrawal was possible. Mr. McNamara chronicled the measures enacted by government leaders and why he believes, in retrospect, that their decisions were wrong. According to Mr. McNamara, he viewed the Vietnam War as a “failure” as early as 1966, and that he started the Pentagon Papers to leave a record of the “mistakes” leading to the war. He also discussed his reasons for writing the book. During the interview, Mr. McNamara responded to an audio tape of a caller whose brother died in the Vietnam War and who described the pain the book and the memories associated with it caused her. He said he understood her position and hoped that “she would find some healing if she read the book.” close

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*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.

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Book Discussion on In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam

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Program ID:
64642-1
Category:
Booknotes
Format:
Booknotes
Location:
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
First Aired:
Apr 23, 1995
Last Aired:
Jul 11, 2009

Airing Details

  • Apr 23, 1995 | 8:02pm EDT | C-SPAN 1
  • Apr 23, 1995 | 11:02pm EDT | C-SPAN 1
  • Apr 24, 1995 | 2:20am EDT | C-SPAN 2
  • Apr 24, 1995 | 4:58am EDT | C-SPAN 1
  • Apr 23, 2000 | 1:05am EDT | C-SPAN 2
  • Apr 23, 2000 | 11:59am EDT | C-SPAN 2
  • Jul 06, 2009 | 11:51am EDT | C-SPAN 2
  • Jul 06, 2009 | 8:24pm EDT | C-SPAN 2
  • Jul 11, 2009 | 6:01pm EDT | C-SPAN 2
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