The Best and the Brightest Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 49 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Best and the Brightest.
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The Best and the Brightest Summary & Study Guide Description

The Best and the Brightest Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam.

The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam is the story of the Vietnam war. It is an in-depth analysis of how the whole situation in Vietnam developed from the days of French imperialism. He examines the factors that contributed to the situation that developed into the Vietnam War. French colonialism was the primary factor that set the stage for Vietnam. At the peace talks at the end of World War II, the big concern was Europe and not Indochina. The peace conference allowed the French to return to Indochina and the result was almost immediate conflict.

Instead of the French leaving Indochina, they remained and the longer they remained, the graver the situation became. The United States misread the situation in China and Indochina. China fell because the Americans failed to support Chiang Kai Shek at the end. With China in the hands of Communist Mao, the situation in Indochina deteriorated. A neutral government was negotiated for Laos and the situation in Vietnam worsened. Eventually the French asked for American assistance. President Kennedy sent in American advisors, which was the beginning of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

The problem was caused by the U.S. ignoring the history of the people in Indochina and thinking that they were motivated by factors that were unimportant to them. First the French and then the Americans would not let them decide their own destiny. This was the real cause of the problems. The Americans viewed the problem in terms of the domino theory; if one country fell, then the other countries in Southeast Asia would also fall under the influence of communist domination.

The book covers a lot of ground with a myriad of dialogues and examinations of the different positions. There is a lot of discussion of meetings and reports and what was and was not covered in them. The positions of the various players in the different administrations are presented as well as the public stances for political reasons. There is also talk of the misrepresenting of statistics by various entities to cover the true situation of the deterioration that was taking place and of the failure of various programs in South Vietnam.

Halberstam's book shows the depth of his research and indicates the amount of interviewing he did for the book. The Best and the Brightest is written in an objective and factual manner, even though it is lengthy. He covers the topic thoroughly and it is a good book for people wanting to know the story of Vietnam and how the United States became involved in Indochina.

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This section contains 433 words
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