U.S. Army Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, newly named as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, is now also a best-selling author, for a book he wrote two decades ago.
McMaster’s widely acclaimed 1997 book, Dereliction of Duty, about the failure of U.S. military and political leadership in their conduct of the U.S. war against communist aggression in Vietnam in the 1960’s, jumped Wednesday to the top of Amazon.com’s list of best-selling books.
The 54-year-old McMaster, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, was working on a doctoral degree in American history when he wrote the book, poring over voluminous military and national security documents from the Vietnam War era to reach his conclusions about the U.S. involvement in the war that ultimately ended with the North Vietnamese takeover of U.S.-supported South Vietnam in 1975.
McMaster was sharply critical of high-ranking military leaders from the 1960s, arguing that they failed to challenge Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and President Lyndon Johnson about their strategy for conducting the war, which became extraordinarily divisive within the U.S. as the death toll of American soldiers mounted.
McMaster said the U.S. leaders, both those in the Pentagon and White House, failed to develop a plan to pacify a Viet Cong insurgency or to defeat the North Vietnamese Army.
In his conclusion, McMaster wrote, “The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of The New York Times or the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C.”