The Best and the Brightest Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What does Halberstam say McNamara learned that he had to do in order to argue against nuclear weapons?
(a) Make emotional appeals to the electorate.
(b) Make a good argument for conventional weapons.
(c) Demonize his opponents.
(d) Discredit military analysts in favor of nuclear weapons.

2. Where was the war going badly, at the time when the White House was losing faith in Diem?
(a) In Quang Nam.
(b) Around Saigon.
(c) In the Mekong Delta.
(d) In Pleiku.

3. How does Halberstam say Lyndon Johnson felt in the Kennedy administration?
(a) He felt like a midwesterner among East-coast men.
(b) He felt like a relic of previous administrations.
(c) He felt like a socialist among capitalists.
(d) He felt like a teacher among his students.

4. Why didn't Kennedy offer the position of Secretary of State to J. William Fulbright?
(a) Fulbright had some unresolved scandals in his past.
(b) Fulbright did not have the support of Negroes or Jews.
(c) Fulbright was too old and conservative.
(d) Fublright was too young and inexperienced.

5. Why was Chester Bowles assigned to a different position?
(a) He had quarreled with Bobby Kennedy over who was in charge in Kennedy's absence.
(b) He had leaked confidential information to the press.
(c) He had been caught saying embarrassing things on an open mic.
(d) He had disgraced himself by having an affair with one of his pages.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Halberstam say marked the end of the generals' faith in Diem?

2. What does Halberstam say was the state of tensions within the White House as involvement in Vietnam escalated?

3. Why didn't Kennedy offer the position of Secretary of State to David Bruce?

4. Why did the Americans back down on demands for reform in Vietnam in 1962, in Halberstam's account?

5. When did Kennedy become well known in Washington?

Short Essay Questions

1. What did Lovett and Kennedy discuss during their meeting?

2. What crises confronted the Kennedy administration in 1961?

3. Describe U.S. engagements in Vietnam in the 1950s.

4. Describe the confrontation in Laos.

5. What kind of reports does Halberstam say the U.S. got from Vietnam?

6. What three plans does Halberstam say the U.S. was considering in Vietnam in 1961?

7. Who was Robert A. Lovett, and what does Halberstam say he signified for Kennedy?

8. Who was Chester Bowles, and what did Kennedy get by tapping Bowles to be an adviser?

9. What does Halberstam say Kennedy was confronted with at the beginning of "The Best and the Brightest"?

10. Why did Diem and the U.S. end up working together?

(see the answer keys)

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