Inside the Pentagon Papers

John Prados, Editor, Margaret Pratt Porter, Editor University Press of Kansas $29.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7006-1325-0
""As with Vietnam, the current war on terrorism has a secret backstory far different from the one retailed so earnestly"" by the administration, say the authors of this illuminating new look at the Pentagon Papers scandal of the 1970s. Scholar Prados (The White House Tapes: Eavesdropping on the President) and Porter, director of communications and publications for Vietnam Veterans of America, reexamine the secret government papers that blew the whistle on the Vietnam War, led to the federal attempts to restrain the press and ultimately resulted in President Richard Nixon's resignation. The authors take readers into the meeting in which Times editors debated whether to publish the papers, a decision that presented""all the classic elements of journalistic dilemma."" They offer previously unpublished transcripts of White House tapes (Nixon says,""Henry talked to that damn Jew Times executive Max Frankel all the time, he's bad, you know....""). And in a final chapter, VVA general counsel Michael Gaffney considers the legal issues raised by the Pentagon Papers, and their implications for releasing classified government information today. Volumes about these issues abound, but Prados and Porter offer a concise look at those pivotal events and their long-term effects.
Reviewed on: 05/01/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Paperback - 260 pages - 978-0-7006-1423-3
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