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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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    1 out of 5 stars
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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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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.

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A book for all ages interested in how the country operates

Being one who live through the Vietnam era, listen to the “stories“ that our government was telling us even then many of us question what was the truth. This book reveals and confirm so many of the believes that a lot of us had about our involvement in Vietnam both good and bad. All of us want to help people who are under the thumb of any form of dictatorship

But sometimes we fail to look at the birth of our own country. During our birth of this country we could’ve been looked at the Vietcong your looked at. We wanted our freedom to make her own choices. I asked myself then many times do we have the right to form a government.

The Western world does not understand the thinking of the Asian population no more now do you understand the thinking of people of Iraq Afghanistan. So as a powerful country we must very carefully choose how we use our power but, if you’re going to use the military politicians should give them a goal and step back and let them do their job.

It was said the Johnson said “they don’t bomb an out house without my permission” Many of our military leaders today knew we could have won that war if the politicians would’ve kept your thumb off of the soldier and the fighting man. And example would’ve been desert shield/Desert Storm.

That particular war in the desert was fought by a man who served in Vietnam with all the frustrations of limitations he was given a command and told get the job done. When the politicians team that the job was done they then order the end of fighting but he did not tell them how to run it the way Johnson did but this book gives you the inside track of how Johnson and his cronies disturb the working of the military and restricted them from doing the job they know How to do best

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Outstanding

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Accurate and interesting analysis of an important matter.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Pres. Johnson as he was so devious

What about H. R. McMaster’s performance did you like?

Detailed knowledge

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I can never listen to any book in one setting at my age!

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  • Casey
  • Minot AFB, ND
  • 04-10-18

Wicked accent

Mispronounces ‘America’ every 30 seconds. Drives me crazy!
But the story is ok despite a few historical inaccuracies.