Road to Disaster, with Brian VanDeMark

Episode 133 · October 25th, 2018 · 52 mins 16 secs

About this Episode

My guest is Brian VanDemark. His newest book Road to Disaster draws upon decades of archival research, his own interviews with many of those involved, and a wealth of previously unheard recordings by Robert McNamara and Clark Clifford, who served as Defense Secretaries for Kennedy and Johnson. Yet beyond that, Road to Disaster is also the first history of the war to look at the cataclysmic decisions of those in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations through the prism of recent research in cognitive science, psychology, and organizational theory to explain why the "Best and the Brightest" became trapped in situations that suffocated creative thinking and willingness to dissent, why they found change so hard, and why they were so blind to their own errors.

An epic history of America’s march to quagmire, Road to Disaster is a landmark in scholarship and a book of immense importance.

Brian VanDeMark teaches history at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where for more than twenty-five years he has educated midshipmen about the Vietnam War. He has also been a visiting fellow at Oxford University. VanDeMark was the research assistant on Clark Clifford's bestselling autobiography Counsel to the President _and the coauthor of Robert McNamara's #1 bestseller In Retrospect_. He is also the author of Into the Quagmire, which came out of his doctoral dissertation on LBJ and the war. He lives in Maryland.