Not talking about my Thai iced coffee-induced euphoria, my merry introduction to the wonders of Mandopop, or the opening of The Hurt Locker.


Talking about Fredrik Logevall. Specifically, the paper he gave (or delivered — I’ve not quite figured out the right verb for talking about a paper) at the the roundtable discussion of The Politics of Troop Withdrawal this afternoon at the annual meeting of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations

I’ve been a Logevall fan since his first book, Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam, which came out in 1999, the same year I wrote a Boston Globe Magazine cover story on the Diem coup, one of the many topics the book covers. What surprised me about Logevall’s take on Kennedy and Vietnam was that it was (1) quite different from previous scholars’ and (2) right. I had dived deep into then-recently declassified Kennedy White House tapes and documents and had found much to criticize in many accounts of the period, but then I found much to admire in Logevall’s. 

His topic today was the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. The Nixon that Logevall described this afternoon — considering his Vietnam options with the 1972 election in mind, resigned to a face-saving defeat — is the Nixon I hear on the tapes and the Nixon America needs to know more about. 

And now I see that he’s preparing another Vietnam book. Good heavens, I’d better get to work on mine. 







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