Westmoreland: A Biography of General William C. Westmoreland

Samuel Zaffiri, Author
Samuel Zaffiri, Author William Morrow & Company $25 (502p) ISBN 978-0-688-11179-3
Reviewed on: 07/04/1994
Release date: 07/01/1994
Paperback - 978-0-688-14345-9
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As commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, Gen. William C. Westmoreland was point man for an increasingly unpopular war and eventually a symbol of all that went wrong there. In this admiring--but not fawning--biography, Zaffiri ( Hamburger Hill ) asserts that the challenges facing Westmoreland in Vietnam were more complex than generally realized. Given the political restrictions imposed from Washington, Westmoreland had little choice, Zaffiri contends, but to wage the attritional warfare that led to his vilification by the antiwar movement. The author describes Westmoreland's dissatisfaction with the Marines (he established a separate headquarters in I Corps to keep an eye on them) and problems with the press, whose representatives he believed guilty of biased and distorted reporting. Also reviewed in this comprehensive portrait are the general's family roots, his education, WW II service, his years as superintendent at West Point, his assignment as Army chief of staff, and his unsuccessful gubernatorial bid in South Carolina. Zaffiri includes an account of Westmoreland's 1985 libel suit against CBS News; although it was dropped before it went to jury, the general, as a result of the case, commanded greater popular respect than at any time in his career. Photos. (July)
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