Sunday, October 30, 2011

BOOKS- Marigold: The Lost Chance for Peace in Vietnam

Here's a first look at a great new book by Cold War historian Jim Hershberg on the Vietnam War, from Publishers Weekly.  Check it out:  

Operation Marigold is typically treated as little more than a footnote to the American war in Vietnam, but cold war historian Jim Hershberg, of George Washington University, unalterably changes that view. 

President Lyndon Johnson, who scuttled
1966 peace talks by turning loose the bombers.
This book delves into every aspect of Operation Marigold, a failed secret mission led by Polish diplomat Janusz Lewandowski, to set up peace negotiations between the U.S. and North Vietnam in the last weeks of 1966. The conventional wisdom was that the presumptive talks had little chance of success, since both sides believed they could prevail militarily and had no reason to talk, which is what President Johnson claimed to his dying day. 

Based on his reading of newly released documents and primary sources—including his own interviews with Lewandowski—Hershberg shows that Johnson’s decision to resume bombing Hanoi after a five-month pause caused the collapse of the talks before
they began. 

Hershberg also convincingly shows that the Poles (along with Italian diplomats) had authorization from the Vietnamese Communists to approach the Americans to start peace talks—something Johnson and his supporters argued was not the case. 

This is a well-written, in-depth look at the facts of a controversial and convoluted peace effort that could have significantly altered the course of the Vietnam War. Maps, photos.   --  Publisher’s Weekly, October 10, 2011.  

Jim Hershberg if also the author of James B. Conant: Harvard to Hiroshima and the Making of the Nuclear Age.


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