Uncertain Warriors

Lyndon Johnson and His Vietnam Advisors

David M. Barrett

Lyndon Johnson, when it comes to his role in the Vietnam War, is popularly portrayed as an irrational "hawkish" leader who bullied his advisers and refused to solicit a wide range of opinions. that depiction, David Barrett argues, is simplistic and far from accurate.

In this book, Barrett contends that Johnson's insistence on secrecy, plus his colorful personality, have overshadowed his approach to policymaking and his consideration of a wide spectrum of opinion from a variety of formal and informal advisers. Following a paper trail of memoranda, letters, diaries, and notes, Barrett not only examines how Johnson dealt with his advisers and developed a complex system of consultation but delves into Johnson's personality and style to show their impact on his decisions.

“There will be few readers of this challenging and well-argued book who will put it down without a more sophisticated understanding of the Johnson administration.

—Journal of American History

“Barrett’s work helps one appreciate further the tortured complexity of Lyndon Johnson and the flawed and tragic nature of the American military involvement in Vietnam that he oversaw.

—Review of Politics
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Despite Johnson's willingness to consider opposing viewpoints, Barrett concedes, his rational advisory system nevertheless produced a flawed and fatal set of policies because they were based on an increasingly outdated world view.

Additional Titles in the Modern War Studies Series