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. What does Halberstam say was the result of Johnson's method of planning for the war?

2. What does Halberstam say conditions were like in South Vietnam by the end of 1964?

3. What was McNamara beginning to suspect in Vietnam?

4. Who was it who authorized a paper that would rationalize an exit from Vietnam?

5. The war continued until which President took office?

Short Essay Questions

1. What happened during the Gulf of Tonkin incident?

2. Who expressed doubt about the Vietnam war, and what happened to their opposition?

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

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

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 was the intelligence community's assessment of Rolling Thunder?

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

8. How did the reality of the war become public information?

9. What does Halberstam say the effect of the Vietnam war on the American people was?

10. What was President Johnson's position with regard to bombing?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Compare and contrast John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson's strategies for handling the war in Vietnam. How did they negotiate the complex mixture of voices within the U.S. government in similar ways? How were they different? How did the changes in conditions in the U.S. and in Vietnam account for Johnson's different strategies?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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