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 state does Halberstam say the Vietcong were in when Kennedy sent the fact-finding mission in 1961?

2. What does Halberstam say was the problem with the Kennedy administration's pragmatism?

3. Whom did Robert Lovett recommend to Kennedy for Secretary of Defense?

4. Whom did Kennedy ask to be Secretary of State instead of Adlai Stevenson?

5. When Kennedy did not authorize more troops, what does Halberstam say he told the Pentagon?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How did the White House eventually try to limit the military?

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

5. Why didn't the U.S. gain the loyalty of the Vietnamese peasants?

6. How did the situation in Vietnam unfold?

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

8. Who was McGeorge Bundy, and what was his role in the Kennedy administration?

9. What was the American government's relationship with Diem in 1961?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write a critical review of "The Best and the Brightest": what does Halberstam do well, and what parts of the book are not well-executed? Considering recent revelations regarding the war, how prescient was Halberstam in his history?

Essay Topic 2

Using evidence from Halberstam's text, describe how the Vietnam War affected America's relationship with the community of nations--particularly China and Russia, its Communist foes. What did the Vietnam war do for American interests abroad? How did it affect America's reputation and image?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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