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Robert Dallek

Robert Dallek whose books include Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945 and The American Style of Foreign Policy, is a professor of history at UCLA. He is finishing the first of two volumes on the life of Lyndon Johnson.

Losing the War

Robert Dallek, 23 November 1989

Americans struggle to come to terms with the Vietnam War. The country’s longest and only losing conflict invokes painful memories of wanton killing, government lying and moral degeneration that seem for removed from the nation’s other 20th-century wars. The films Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, Hamburger Hill and Casualties of War present images of brave Americans overwhelmed by the brutality and senselessness of the struggle. Although American battlefield losses in World War One, Korea and Vietnam were roughly comparable and far less than in World War Two, the 58,000 dead in Vietnam seem to weigh more heavily on the country’s conscience. The respectful curiosity of visiting Americans at the Pearl Harbor Memorial, or at a Normandy cemetery I have observed, is pallid alongside the emotional reactions one sees at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC.

America Intervenes

Jackson Lears, 21 February 2019

FDR’s capacious style of leadership has vanished from the scene. In the shadow of the Pentagon, no one dares to reassert a sceptical perspective. This is a major loss.

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Henry Kissinger’s Vanity

Greg Grandin, 29 November 2007

Henry Kissinger’s realpolitik, with its moral relativism and easy acceptance of American limits, is often contrasted with the neocon evangelism that took off after the attacks of 9/11....

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JFK

Elizabeth Drew, 20 November 2003

The majority of books about John F. Kennedy have been written either by toadying family retainers or by people bent on destroying the Camelot myth. The historian Robert Dallek is neither; he...

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