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 does Halberstam say happened that threatened the relationship between Diem and the Buddhists?

2. How does Halberstam say McNamara learned about the affairs in Vietnam?

3. What does Halberstam say was the result of the Chinese Revolution and the McCarthy period?

4. What mistake had the Kennedy administration made in the Bay of Pigs invasion?

5. How many troops were in Vietnam when Kennedy was assassinated?

Short Essay Questions

1. Whom did Kennedy consider for the position of Secretary of State?

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

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

4. Describe the confrontation in Laos.

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

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

7. Who was Frederick Nolting, and what was his role in Vietnam?

8. How did the meeting between Lovett and Kennedy play in the press?

9. Describe Vietnam's problems with the Buddhist monks.

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Was it necessary for opponents of the war to be marginalized within the American government? Describe the organizational and bureaucratic rules and pressures that were used to effectively silence or transfer officials who spoke out against the war. Was this required, for efficient planning, or did the transfers constitute repression?

Essay Topic 2

Judging by what you know of contemporary culture, what lessons has America learned about domestic policies and politics after the Vietnam era? What has changed in how the government works, in how it funds wars, and in how it relates to internal opposition?

Essay Topic 3

Kennedy was a young president, and he was thought to be inexperienced. What was Kennedy's relationship with the past, and with politicians who went before him? What did he take from them, and which of their policies was he intent on changing?

(see the answer keys)

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