The Best and the Brightest Test | Final 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 Khanh overthrow the generals in Vietnam?

2. When does Halberstam say that McNamara realized he had been misled about the conditions in Vietnam?

3. What happened in the Gulf of Tonkin as a part of 34A?

4. When does Halberstam say the President's thinking about bombing began to change?

5. What stance does Halberstam say the administration took as the public sentiment deteriorated?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Halberstam say McNamara found in Vietnam when the Johnson administration took over?

2. What does Halberstam say Maxwell Taylor said were the three issues confronting the U.S. in its Vietnam planning?

3. Describe what Halberstam calls 'the Bundy trip' to Vietnam.

4. Who was interested in overthrowing Diem?

5. What were the alternatives the staff in Vietnam laid out for Maxwell Taylor when he visited Vietnam in the fall of 1964?

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

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

8. What happened during the second Gulf of Tonkin incident?

9. What does Halberstam say began to change in early 1964?

10. What was the public story of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and what was the truth?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What must McGeorge Bundy or Robert McNamara or President Johnson have thought about the Vietnam war? Write a journal entry as if you were them.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama share certain similarities, insofar as they were both young and charismatic leaders with relatively little experience, but represented a new way of doing things. Compare and contrast the early political careers and elections of these two presidents. How were they temperamentally similar? How did they relate to the old guard? How were their ascensions different?

(see the answer keys)

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