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 did Chester Bowles think was the most important issue to confront?

2. What committee had Kennedy served on in the Senate?

3. On which issue does Halberstam say Kennedy compromised with the military?

4. What does Halberstam say was Robert McNamara's role in the White House policy discussions?

5. What policies had Robert Lovett been involved in crafting?

Short Essay Questions

1. What happened to Diem and Nhu during the coup?

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

3. What program did Maxwell Taylor call for in the paper he wrote on his way back from Vietnam?

4. What does Halberstam say happened when Westmoreland assumed control?

5. What happened during the Gulf of Tonkin incident?

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

7. What was the result of the first direct confrontation with Vietcong and American troops?

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

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

10. Who was interested in overthrowing Diem?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Describe Halberstam as a biographer and historian. What are his preoccupations? What does he not consider? What are his narrative techniques, and what literary techniques does he use to describe the people and actions that comprise "The Best and the Brightest"?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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