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. When did the problem with the Buddhist monks begin?

2. What rule does Halberstam say Kennedy was following in trying to appoint a Secretary of State?

3. How long had Ho Chi Minh's communism associations been known to the U.S., in Halberstam's account?

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

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What issues were discussed as there started to be struggles over Vietnam strategy in mid-1965?

2. Describe the confrontation in Laos.

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

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

5. What did the Johnson administration tell America as it committed more troops to Vietnam?

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

7. What happened during the Gulf of Tonkin incident?

8. How did the fall of China and the Cold War affect the Kennedy administration?

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

10. What does Halberstam say became clear to the American government after Diem's death?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Argue for the appropriateness or the inappropriateness of executive secrecy as it was used during the Johnson administration. What factors and evidence mitigates the need for executive transparency? What factors and evidence makes transparency an absolute requirement?

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

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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