Kennedy's Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam

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Oxford University Press, Oct 19, 2000 - History - 560 pages
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In his thousand-day presidency, John F. Kennedy led America through one of its most difficult and potentially explosive eras. With the Cold War at its height and the threat of communist advances in Europe and the Third World, Kennedy had the unenviable task of maintaining U.S. solidarity without leading the western world into a nuclear catastrophe. In Kennedy's Wars, noted historian Lawrence Freedman draws on the best of Cold War scholarship and newly released government documents to illuminate Kennedy's approach to war and his efforts for peace. He recreates insightfully the political and intellectual milieu of the foreign policy establishment during Kennedy's era with vivid profiles of his top advisors--Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, Robert Kennedy--and influential figures such as Dean Acheson and Walt Rostow. Tracing the evolution of traditional liberalism into the Cold War liberalism of Kennedy's cabinet, Freedman evaluates their responses to the tensions in Berlin, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam. He gives each conflict individual attention, showing how foreign policy decisions came to be defined for each new crisis in the light of those that had gone before. The book follows Kennedy as he wrestles with the succession of major conflicts--taking advice, weighing the risks of inadvertently escalating the Cold War into outright military confrontation, exploring diplomatic options, and forming strategic judgments that would eventually prevent a major war during his presidency.
 

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User Review  - jcprowe - LibraryThing

Kennedy's Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam by Lawrence Freedman JFK was assassinated six years before I was born. I have been fascinated by JFK since I don't know when. One of my interests in JFK ... Read full review

Review: Kennedy's Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam

User Review  - Jc - Goodreads

Kennedy's Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam by Lawrence Freedman JFK was assassinated six years before I was born. I have been fascinated by JFK since I don't know when. One of my interests in JFK ... Read full review

Contents

Liberal Anticommunism
13
Beyond Massive Retaliation
18
The Third World Alternative
27
Policies and People
32
II BERLIN AND NUCLEAR STRATEGY
43
The New Strategy
45
To Vienna and Back
51
The Berlin Anomaly
58
Aftermath
225
Back to Square One
238
IV ALLIANCES AND DETENTE
247
The SinoSoviet Split
249
Toward a Test Ban
261
The Test Ban Treaty
270
Measured Response
276
V VIETNAM
285

A Contest of Resolve
66
The Wall
72
Tests and Tension
79
Flexible Response
92
Berlin to Cuba
112
III CUBA
121
Removing Castro
123
A Deniable Plan
129
An Undeniable Fiasco
139
Still Castro
147
Mongoose
153
Searching for Missiles
161
The Options Debated
170
Blockade
182
Military Steps
193
Political Steps
203
The Denouement
208
A Crisis Managed
218
Counterinsurgency
287
Laos
293
Commitment without Combat
305
Deciding not to Decide
313
The Taylor Report
322
Decisions
330
The Influence of Laos
340
In the Dark
356
Coercion and Clients
367
Diems Assassination
382
Kennedy to Johnson
398
Conclusion
415
Acknowledgments
421
Notes
423
Bibliography
489
Index
507
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About the author (2000)

Lawrence Freedman has been Professor of War Studies at King's College, London since 1982. He has written extensively on nuclear strategy and the Cold War, as well as commentating regularly on contemporary security issues. Elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1995, he was appointed by Prime Minister Tony Blair as Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign in 1997.

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