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Ellsberg provides a vivid eyewitness account of the two years he spent behind the lines in Vietnam as a State Department observer, an experience that profoundly altered his own political thinking. And he tells how the release of the Pentagon Papers set in motion a train of events that ultimately toppled a president and helped to end an unjust war.
Infused with the political passion and turmoil of the Vietnam era, Secrets is the memoir of a daring man, a story about what it takes to make a dramatic life-change in the context of moral challenge, an expose of Washington power politics, and a searing portrait of America at a perilous modern crossroads.
"The story is fascinating, and one that anyone interested in Vietnam should hear. Ellsberg has a gruff voice, and he gives a true measure of himself as he reads his story." (AudioFile)
"Ellsberg's deft critique of secrecy in government is an invaluable contribution to understanding one of our nation's darkest hours." (San Francisco Chronicle)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By David on 01-25-04
5 stars for an account of a 5-star fiasco
This book is engrossing. Even at this far removed distance in time, and despite of all we know about it, the details of this story are shocking. The presentation is impassioned and at the same time matter of fact and direct about the decades of presidential deception on Vietnam. E.g., Elsberg is listening to a President Johnson speech and notes his reaction and details the lies LBJ told in it. Four presidents lied about Vietnam. All of the four ignored the best advice from the military advisors on what it would take to "win": all the presidents did less but hoped that what they did would bring a resolution to the conflict. An excellent narrator, perfect for this book, Dan Cashman. The introduction and some of the chapters are narrated by the 70-something Daniel Ellsberg. It's a winner.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
By J. Riley on 02-24-04
Great book, informative and interesting
I agree completely with the previous review. The information is fantastic. As a gen X'er, I am a little young to have real knowledge of what was going on in LBJ, Nixon, Vietnam era. At first I thought the switch between Ellsberg as reader and the other reader, which happens several times, distracting, but as the book progressed I appreciated hearing some of it from the authors own lips. The other reader is very good. I really liked this book. I felt by the end that I had a good mental picture of what was going on in Vietnam, what the issues were, and why we ended up in such a mess.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful