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Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Season of Inquiry: Congress and Intelligence by Loch K. Johnson

After reading about the Bay of Pigs and Vietnam I decided I wanted to learn more about the Church committee. Howard Jones recommended this book.

The author was on the staff of the committee and the books follows the progress of the committee from its inception, through its operation to its final conclusions from a very congressional perspective. I might have been interested in more of the wider context and consequences. However, I’ve never really known much about the workings of a congressional committee, and I found the revisiting of the congressman from the 70s such as Church, Mondale, etc… interesting.

Of course, in some ways it seems naive compared with the modern world. What would Senator Church have thought about drone attacks?

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Death of a Generation: How the Assassinations of Diem and JFK prolonged the Vietnam War by Howard Jones

I got this after reading Howard Jones’s book on the Bay of Pigs. It was a very readable account of US relations with the Republic of Vietnam during the Kennedy administration. It showed how the slide to disaster (for the south and the US) was inevitable, despite what it argued was the personal policy of Kennedy to try to stay out.

Diem as a urban catholic elite faced a very difficult task to unite the country against the communists. Taking help from the US was always a double edged solution, obviously the material help was very significant, but the loss of independence was also very negative.

This made me think about reading more books about the Vietnam war.