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The Essence of Security Reflections in Office

The Essence of Security Reflections in Office

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The Essence of Security Reflections in Office

by McNamara, Robert S

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  • Hardcover
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About This Item

Inscribed on first blank page: To Dan with best wishes Robert S. McNamara

Clean text. Price unclipped ($4.95). Protected by Brodart dust jacket cover.

Book in very good plus condition and dust jacket in very good condition, some fading along spine.

Robert Strange McNamara (June 9, 1916 – July 6, 2009) was an American business executive and the eighth Secretary of Defense, serving from 1961 to 1968 under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, during which time he played a large role in escalating the United States involvement in the Vietnam War. Following that, he served as President of the World Bank from 1968 to 1981. McNamara was responsible for the institution of systems analysis in public policy, which developed into the discipline known today as policy analysis. McNamara consolidated intelligence and logistics functions of the Pentagon into two centralized agencies: the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Defense Supply Agency.

Prior to public service, McNamara was one of the "Whiz Kids" who helped rebuild Ford Motor Company after World War II, and briefly served as Ford's President before becoming Secretary of Defense. A group of advisors he brought to the Pentagon inherited the "Whiz Kids" moniker.

McNamara remains the longest serving Secretary of Defense at over seven years.

According to Special Counsel Ted Sorensen, Kennedy regarded McNamara as the "star of his team, calling upon him for advice on a wide range of issues beyond national security, including business and economic matters." McNamara became one of the few members of the Kennedy Administration to work and socialize with Kennedy, and he became close to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, eventually serving as a pallbearer at the younger Kennedy's funeral in 1968.

McNamara left office on February 29, 1968; for his efforts, the President awarded him both the Medal of Freedom and the Distinguished Service Medal. McNamara's last day as Defense Secretary was a memorable one. The hawkish National Security Adviser, Walt Whitman Rostow, argued at a cabinet meeting that day that the United States was on the verge of winning the war. Rostow urged Johnson to send 206,000 more American troops to South Vietnam to join the half-million already there and to drastically increase the number of bombing raids on North Vietnam. At that point, McNamara snapped in fury at Rostow, saying: "What then? This goddamned bombing campaign, it's worth nothing, it's done nothing, they dropped more bombs than on all of Europe in all of World War II and it hasn't done a fucking thing!" McNamara then broke down in tears, saying to Johnson to just accept that the war could not be won and stop listening to Rostow. Henry McPherson, an aide to the president, recalled the scene: "He reeled off the familiar statistics-how we had dropped more bombs on Vietnam than on all of Europe during World War II. Then his voice broke, and there were tears on his eyes as he spoke of the futility, the crushing futility of the air war. The rest of us sat silently-I for one with my mouth open, listening to the secretary of defense talk that way about a campaign for which he had, ultimately, been responsible. I was pretty shocked".


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DRM Political Books US (US)
Bookseller's Inventory #
The Essence of Security Reflections in Office
McNamara, Robert S
Book Condition
Used - Very Good+
Jacket Condition
Very Good
Quantity Available
First Edition
Harper & Row
Place of Publication
New York
Date Published
0.00 lbs
Kennedy Administration Autograph; Johnson Administration Autograph

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