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

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What were Eleanor Roosevelt's feelings about Kennedy?

2. Why was Chester Bowles assigned to a different position?

3. Which problem did NOT arise for the Kennedy administration during 1961?

4. What does Halberstam say was the result of the Thanksgiving Day Massacre?

5. What had happened to reduce the Communism threat by the time McNamara took over as Secretary of Defense?

Short Essay Questions

1. What was McNamara's stance with regard to nuclear weapons?

2. What does Halberstam say was Robert McNamara's background before becoming Secretary of Defense?

3. Who was Dean Rusk, and what was his role and place in the Kennedy administration?

4. What was the Kennedy administration's stance with regard to Russia?

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

6. What were Americans beginning to say with regard to Diem after the Buddhist monk problems began?

7. Who was Kennedy, and how did he become well known?

8. Why does Halberstam say Chester Bowles' popularity faded?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare and contrast John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson's strategies for handling the war in Vietnam. How did they negotiate the complex mixture of voices within the U.S. government in similar ways? How were they different? How did the changes in conditions in the U.S. and in Vietnam account for Johnson's different strategies?

Essay Topic 2

Analyzing the evidence from Halberstam's text, describe the change that took place in American minds as a result of the Vietnam War. Put another way: Compare and contrast the administrations that preceded Kennedy's administration, and the Nixon administration, which followed the Johnson administration. How does Halberstam describe the different cultures that existed before and after the Vietnam war?

Essay Topic 3

What lessons did the U.S. learn from the Bay of Pigs invasion, and how were these lessons visible in the planning for military campaigns in Vietnam? Did the Bay of Pigs invasion sour the U.S. war planners on relying on local forces? Did it foster the argument for bombing instead of troops on the ground?

(see the answer keys)

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