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Losing the War

Robert Dallek, 23 November 1989

A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam 
by Neil Sheehan.
Cape, 861 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 224 02648 8
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... 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 ...

Vigah

Elizabeth Drew: JFK, 20 November 2003

John F. Kennedy: An Unfinished Life 1917-63 
by Robert Dallek.
Allen Lane, 838 pp., £25, September 2003, 0 7139 9737 0
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... by toadying family retainers or by people bent on destroying the Camelot myth. The historian Robert Dallek is neither; he decided to enter the field, as he explains in his introduction, in part because documents had become available that threw new light on several aspects of Kennedy’s life, and in part because he thought the old ones should be ...

Sucking up to P

Greg Grandin: Henry Kissinger’s Vanity, 29 November 2007

Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power 
by Robert Dallek.
Allen Lane, 740 pp., £30, August 2007, 978 0 7139 9796 5
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Henry Kissinger and the American Century 
by Jeremi Suri.
Harvard, 368 pp., £18.95, July 2007, 978 0 674 02579 0
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... are legendary, and often attributed to some character flaw, to paranoia or arrogance. Robert Dallek in Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power situates their deceitfulness within a broader transformation of diplomacy, where the line that separated foreign and domestic policy, always unclear, was practically erased. ...

Inside Every Foreigner

Jackson Lears: America Intervenes, 21 February 2019

Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life 
by Robert M. Dallek..
Allen Lane, 692 pp., £30, November 2017, 978 0 241 31584 2
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... The welfare state became the warfare state – an outcome Roosevelt neither foresaw nor desired. Robert Dallek is troubled by the absence of leadership in contemporary American politics, and his biography of FDR is meant to show us what the real thing looks like. ‘In this time of demoralisation,’ he writes, ‘it seems well to remind Americans that ...

A Preference for Strenuous Ghosts

Michael Kammen: Theodore Roosevelt, 6 June 2002

Theodore Rex 
by Edmund Morris.
HarperCollins, 772 pp., £25, March 2002, 0 00 217708 0
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... better part of a year, and his John Adams (2001) is providing an astonishing repeat performance. Robert Caro’s dramatically detailed look at The Years of Lyndon Johnson has been unfolding since 1982, and large chunks of Volume Three have been serialised in the New Yorker. In the meantime, Robert Dallek scooped him ...

Strait is the gate

Christopher Hitchens, 21 July 1994

Watergate: The Corruption and Fall of Richard Nixon 
by Fred Emery.
Cape, 448 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 224 03694 7
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The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House 
by H.R. Haldeman.
Putnam, 698 pp., $27.50, May 1994, 0 399 13962 1
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... use of the findings – probably because they would reveal too much about the workings of the CIA. Robert Dallek, Johnson’s biographer, also thinks that internecine Democratic jealousies may have been involved: LBJ’s failure to pursue the lead Demetracopoulos gave Larry O’Brien ‘speaks volumes about his reluctance to help Humphrey defeat ...

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