The Year of the Hare
America in Vietnam, January 25, 1963–February 15, 1964

Francis X. Winters

"Provocative. Packs [an] intellectual wallop."—Joseph J. Ellis, Chicago Tribune

Reviews

"This work illuminates the uneasy blend of idealism and hardheaded realism underpinning U.S. political culture. An insightful look at the process of crafting foreign policy in a democracy."
Library Journal

"A substantial contribution to our understanding of this tragic period."
Washington Times


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Description
When the United States government engineered the overthrow of the troublesome South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem in November 1963, it set in motion a tumultuous course of events deepening the Vietnam War. The Year of the Hare asks why President John F. Kennedy decided to depose his ally of nine years, despite almost daily warnings from some cabinet officials that the most likely consequence of a coup would be chaos.

Why did Kennedy and his colleagues choose this perilous course in the midst of an uncertain civil war? To answer this question, The Year of the Hare takes us inside the Kennedy administration, where the State Department largely supported the coup while the Pentagon and the CIA consistently resisted it. Francis X. Winters’s research is based on in-depth interviews with high-ranking members of the Kennedy administration, including Dean Rusk, McGeorge Bundy, and George Ball, along with the newly issued multivolume compilation Foreign Relations and the United States, 1961-1964, Vietnam and the recently opened General Records of the U.S. State Department for 1963.

The reasons for American support of the coup in Vietnam, Winters asserts, lie both in the ethos of the era, with its dynamic confidence in the superiority of American ideals, and in Kennedy’s political aspirations. The Year of the Hare explores the synergy between the idealism and personal ambition that were at the root of the war that haunts us still.

Page count: 304 pp.
Trim size: 6.125 x 9.25

 



Paper
List price: $28.95
978-0-8203-2121-9
3/1/1999

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Francis X. Winters, a professor of ethics and international affairs with the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of Politics and Ethics and edited Ethics and Nuclear Strategy.