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Publisher's Summary

"The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times or the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, DC." (H. R. McMaster, from the conclusion)

Dereliction of Duty is a stunning analysis of how and why the United States became involved in an all-out and disastrous war in Southeast Asia. Fully and convincingly researched, based on transcripts and personal accounts of crucial meetings, confrontations and decisions, it is the only book that fully re-creates what happened and why. McMaster pinpoints the policies and decisions that got the United States into the morass and reveals who made these decisions and the motives behind them, disproving the published theories of other historians and excuses of the participants.

A gripping narrative, Dereliction of Duty focuses on a fascinating cast of characters: President Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, General Maxwell Taylor, McGeorge Bundy, and other top aides who deliberately deceived the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the US Congress, and the American public.

McMaster's only book, Dereliction of Duty is an explosive and authoritative new look at the controversy concerning the United States involvement in Vietnam.

©1997 H. R. McMaster; abridgement (c) 1997, 2017 (P)1997, 2017 HarperCollins Publishers

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Abridged Version Anyone

Found out after reading along with the actual book that this audio book was missing significant sections from the book. Not happy that abridged wasn’t included in the review, but still drove home major points of the past.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Packrat
  • Jackson, New Jersey
  • 05-13-17

If true, I am devastated by what our leaders did.

I hope McNamara, Taylor, and the others who lied to us go to Hell.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Not the complete book

Where are the remains chapters? This only covers 1-4. This is missing several chapter and the introduction.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Didn't know what I didn't know!

I grew up during this period with a father that was an NCO in the Marines. This book explains much of what I heard and put the pieces in place, finally. We lost cousins, friends to a war that arrogant intellectuals failed to prosecute and win. After 8 years of a similar presidency, the stakes are even higher for the world. Thank God for McMasters and Trump. Win this one guys--make the world safe for my children!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A must-read. Candid, authoritative, expose'

Read this for an authoritative account of the secrets, policies and politics that drove us into Vietnam. McMaster's account is controversial, principally because of it's harsh truth and the authoritative, unimpeachable source from which out comes - not because of there being any question about the facts he presents.

John Nagl, in his excellent book Knife Fights, describes the sanctions and career damage McMaster was subjected to as a consequent of his his writing Dereliction of Duty.

His reading is good also.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Must Read for military leaders.

Great insight from Gen McMaster. This book paints a clear picture of goings on leading to Vietnam.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Too short

Wish it would have been unabridged, very well written and great narrative. Very impressed with Gen McMaster.

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Great book

I've always deeply respected General McMaster, and this is a defining work of his. Excellent book. Only critique is his rather annoying mispronounciation of the word "American" - - - spoken as "Ahmuricun"

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Short and Sweet

The material is outstanding, but the delivery left something to be desired. McMaster wrote an excellent book, but he narrated it in such a way that it comes across as solely “reading” the text.

Informative and engaging material though. I definitely look forward to listening a second time...

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Incredibly thorough.

McMasters does not parse words. He speaks frankly about the errors made before Vietnam in such a way that would make hard lefties like Noam Chomsky swoon.

If anything, it shows that the people in the military are not always looking for military solutions. If you want a great and concise review of what lead to the war in Vietnam, this is a must read.