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War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals by David Halberstam. The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian looks at events that have shaped contemporary politics and political leaders in Washington. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Halberstam, the former Vietnam War correspondent and redoubtable historian (The Best and the Brightest), assesses the lasting influence of the Indochina war on U.S. foreign policy. Popular lore has it that the Gulf War, a convincing triumph over a Third World despotism, banished the "Vietnam Syndrome," whose most obvious feature is an extreme reluctance to put American troops at risk for fear of alienating the public. Halberstam demolishes this fiction. Fascinating capsule biographies of Colin Powell, Bill Clinton, and other leaders establish beyond a doubt that the Indochina debacle was the formative event in their lives and continues to shape policy today. Indeed, post-Cold War operations such as the Kosovo campaign seem to have consummated the Vietnam Syndrome witness the spectacle of NATO warplanes delivering their munitions from 15,000 feet for fear of losing allied pilots. This sobering account of the factors that have misshapen U.S. military operations is an ideal companion to the recent memoir by Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO commander in Kosovo (Waging Modern War, LJ 8/01). An indispensable addition to all public libraries. James R. Holmes, Ph.D. Candidate, Fletcher Sch. of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts Univ., Medford, MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Leslie H. Gelb president, Council on Foreign Relations Halberstam's most important book, more ambitious and revealing than "The Best and the Brightest, " in what it tells of politics and decision making in America during the nineties. Just as Vietnam was the test case for our elders, the Balkans and other tragic conflicts became the proving ground for the Bush and Clinton administrations. What Halberstam has written is nothing less than a "War and Peace" for our generation.