Sunday, January 24, 2016

Book nine: Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin

Wow, what a great frickin' book! Daniel Ellsberg was an intelligent and motivated guy with a job that required him to review classified materials and keep secrets. He believed in the Vietnam War at the beginning. He really thought we were trying to avoid wider conflict and help the Vietnamese people fight the communists. But he realized that his own country was involved in deception and lies. The more he learned, first by having access to said documents and later by actually traveling to Vietnam in service, the more he realized he could not sit idly by and watch as soldiers were sent overseas to be slaughtered. So, he copied what became known as the Pentagon Papers and then began looking for an effective way to get the information out so the public would know and the madness that was this effort against the communists would end.

Excellent book. A great read. I can't imagine what it must have been like for Ellsberg to know the government was after him and that the only way he could win was to become a traitor.

Book excerpt:
Setting: Nixon is in the White House, 1970 / President announces he is ordering forces into Cambodia
Nixon's Cambodia invasion sparked the biggest protests to date. And he was right–college campuses absolutely erupted…There was a major disturbance on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio…Protestors had smashed windows and set fire to a building used by the military. The National Guard had been called out to occupy the campus…the news came on the radio–the guardsmen had opened fire at Kent State…The campus looked like a war zone…Guardsmen in gas masks shot tear gas at the crowd. Some students threw rocks at the guardsmen. Most were just shouting. A platoon of guardsmen fired their rifles. Four students had been killed, two women and two men…"To answer stones and bad language with a random volley of .30-caliber bullets was not imaginable in America." -186

9 down plus 43 to go.

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