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Download In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam Audiobook, by Robert S. McNamara
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (791 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert S. McNamara Narrator: Robert S. McNamara (preface), Joseph Campanella Publisher: Phoenix Books Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2009 ISBN:
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As secretary of defense for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, Robert S. McNamara was one of the chief architects of American foreign policy, and particularly of the strategy that propelled the U.S. into the Vietnam War. Though he at first firmly believed that fighting communism in East Asia was worth the loss of American lives, McNamara eventually found himself at odds with other members of the Johnson administration when he came to see the ever-escalating was as unwinnable.

In the years since he resigned his office, he has until now refused any public comment on the unpopular war with which he was so thoroughly identified. Drawing on his personal experience and a wealth of documentation, McNamara presents a classic insider account of how Vietnam policy grew, of exactly how we stumbled into the war and exactly why it quickly became almost impossible to pull out.

Both personal and historic, his account reveals the trials of leadership, of how a generation's best and brightest led our nation into tragedy, and what we can learn from their mistakes. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sam Dye | 2/19/2014

    " This book was good for me to read because of the patients I had serving as a physician in the Army that were maimed or died from action in Viet Nam. As I suspected, just as in especially WWI and the Iraq War, the VietNam War was brought on by stupidity and over-reaction to minor incidents and escalated because of more stupidity and over-reaction. He refreshingly admits the mistakes that were made on his watch Secretary of Defense from Kennedy's administration to leaving in 1968 from Johnson's. An example is that the Gulf of Tonkin second attack that was pivotal in the decision making process to bomb the North didn't even happen. Just think of all the deaths, suffering, and family anguish that resulted! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nic | 2/9/2014

    " Hard work, but a good read if you can get through all the official documents. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Rivera | 1/30/2014

    " Interesting piece that I opted to read because it was referenced in a couple of other books I read a few years ago. I'm far from a fan of Mcnamara, but this work is an honest piece that offers a variety of lessons about government intervention and politics alike. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bryan Simmons | 1/29/2014

    " With this book, Macnamara has distinguished himself as one of my personal heroes. In Retrospect is an intriguing and very straight-forward chronicle of the mistakes made by Macnamara and the Kennedy and Johnson administrations during the Vietnam War. As I was reading, Macnamara's honesty and humility seemed very refreshing. Here is a man who, his entire life, rode upon the crest of power. President of Ford Motor Company, Secretary of Defense, President of the World Bank, and after all of this, he can sit down and say, "Shit yo, I made a ton of mistakes. A TON of mistakes. I feel guilty every day about them. But the only thing we can do is try to learn from them so that the world will be a better place." I admire that. And by the way, he doesn't use those words exactly... He is much more eloquent. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dustin | 1/28/2014

    " I read this book twice. The first time, I thought it was great. Turns out, on second reading, it's only good. Extremely valuable as a guide to avoid the tragedies and pitfalls that will come in the fog of war, it sinks when McNamara avoids answering why the war in Vietnam was not only bad strategy, but also very criminal. Rarely would I recommend the film adaptation of book, but "The Fog of War" is much more satisfying...and shorter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 P Gonski | 1/24/2014

    " Great book which shows insights into the mistakes of the Vietnam War. Shows the author's remorse for the actions, but also displays his hope for how things could have turned out at certain points. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yishai | 1/23/2014

    " interesting read by someone who was there. he clearly regrets many of the decisions he has made although he does try and shift some blame to others. defiantly worth reading "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 1/22/2014

    " Learned a ton about the Vietnam War and executive office politics. A good book for our generation to read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hung | 1/22/2014

    " Offered some insights into the Diem's coup in 1963. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Bob Costello | 1/16/2014

    " I only read half of it, up to page 188. I'm not a McNamara fan, and had better things to read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Steven Salaita | 11/16/2013

    " McNamara stuck with the "we were young idealists who made inevitable mistakes but always thought we were doing good" defense for his war crimes until the day he died. The full range of his self-aggrandizing bullshit is on display in this pitiful memoir. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yvonne | 8/26/2013

    " Explained a lot about why this war went as it did. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ray | 7/11/2013

    " An old Cold Warrior from the Kennedy and Nixon administrations makes a confession way too late. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matteo | 4/11/2013

    " Very well written book on the Vietnam War. Although many blame him for the events in the Vietnam War, this book (although written from his perspective) makes us consider the Vietnam War from a different viewpoint. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rhyan | 1/11/2013

    " This book was informative at most but also a bit slanted still. Worth reading if you're into primary sources about Vietnam, U.S. History, etc. Robert S. McNamara may be many things, but a great writer, I would say, he is not. I'll just leave it at that. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 max | 12/24/2012

    " lots of tragedy, not many lessons. pretty poorly written, not all that insightful or even reflective. and my vietnamese bootleg copy was full of typos "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill Kyzner | 10/25/2012

    " McNamara's description of the decisions at the highest levels of government that led to and occurred during the Vietnam War. The lessons McNamara learned from this period appear to have escaped successive US administations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hadrian | 9/22/2011

    " Revealing, and remorseful memoir of Vietnam War by one of its prime architects. Gordian Knot of geopolitics. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 3/16/2011

    " One of the best books I have read in a long time. Four stars. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 1/11/2011

    " Very courageous! And a great book for anyone looking to learn more about the Vietnam War. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaworu | 12/16/2010

    " Revealing, and remorseful memoir of Vietnam War by one of its prime architects. Gordian Knot of geopolitics. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Al | 9/12/2010

    " I think he is very pragmatic....and I think this is the same as saying he is very intelligent. Having said that, I realize this book is his narrative. Now it is my job to interpret his story as best I can. I now have a new level of appreciation for his contributions to society. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsay | 8/14/2010

    " An interesting insiders view of the behind the scenes machinations of the Vietnam war. The levels of chaos, mis-communication and mis-information really surprised me, as well as the realisation that many of the mistakes are occuring today. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lorenzo | 12/19/2009

    " A really fascinating account of the decision-making that went into escalating and then conducting the Vietnam War. Not technical, not policy-oriented. More of a psychological study of the actors executing our Vietnam policy. Read it, but don't expect any astounding revelations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rohan | 10/19/2009

    " Essential reading, especially given the times. I also highly recommend the film adaptation, "The Fog of War." "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hung | 9/22/2009

    " Offered some insights into the Diem's coup in 1963. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 8/20/2009

    " Learned a ton about the Vietnam War and executive office politics. A good book for our generation to read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Steven | 8/13/2009

    " McNamara stuck with the "we were young idealists who made inevitable mistakes but always thought we were doing good" defense for his war crimes until the day he died. The full range of his self-aggrandizing bullshit is on display in this pitiful memoir. "

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