New Books Network

Aurélie Basha i Novosejt

'I Made Mistakes'

Robert McNamara's Vietnam War Policy, 1960-1968

Cambridge University Press 2018

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Military HistoryNew Books in National SecurityNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network November 4, 2019 Charles Coutinho

Speaking to an advisor in 1966 about America’s escalation of forces in Vietnam, American Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara confessed: ‘We’ve made mistakes...

Speaking to an advisor in 1966 about America’s escalation of forces in Vietnam, American Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara confessed: ‘We’ve made mistakes in Vietnam … I’ve made mistakes. But the mistakes I made are not the ones they say I made’. In her book, ‘I Made Mistakes’: Robert McNamara’s Vietnam War Policy, 1960-1968 (Cambridge University Press, 2018), Dr. Aurélie Basha i Novosejt, Lecturer in American History at the University of Kent, provides a fresh and controversial examination of McNamara’s decisions during the Vietnam War. Although McNamara is remembered as the architect of the Vietnam War, Dr. Novosejt draws on new primary sources – including the diaries of his close confidant & advisor John T. McNaughton – to reveal a man who resisted the war more than most. As Secretary of Defense, he did not want the costs of the war associated with a new international commitment in Vietnam, but he sacrificed these misgivings to instead become the public face of the war out of a sense of loyalty to the President Lyndon B. Johnson.  Cambridge University Professor Andrew Preston calls Dr. Novosejt’s book: ‘boldly original’, which sheds ‘new light on the subject’. In short Dr. Novosejt’s books is a must read for any serious student of the Americanization of the Vietnam War in the 1960’s.


Charles Coutinho has a doctorate in history from New York University. Where he studied with Tony Judt, Stewart Stehlin and McGeorge Bundy. His Ph. D. dissertation was on Anglo-American relations in the run-up to the Suez Crisis of 1956. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for the Journal of Intelligence History and Chatham House’s International Affairs. It you have a recent title to suggest for a podcast, please send an e-mail to Charlescoutinho@aol.com.