Road to Vietnam

Road to Vietnam

Roots of War, by Richard J. Barnet. New York: Atheneum. 350 pp.

In his latest book, Richard Barnet, codirector of the Institute for Policy Studies, continues his examination of U.S. foreign policy, specifically “the roots of a generation of war” and the forces in U.S. society that have pushed this country into a series of military interventions. His premise is that only deeply entrenched forces would make the country persist in the disastrous Vietnam policy long beyond the point when it became evident that the economic, social, and moral costs far outweighed any possible advantage in international power relations. The book is written lucidly and concisely. Barnet’s analysis of the theories of imperialism by Hobson, Lenin, Kautsky, and Schumpeter is first-rate. He avoids moralizing and cheap polemics, and he usually stays away from sweeping simplifications.

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