National Press Club

Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama

June 24, 2011

About This Video

Run time: 52 minutes

A conversation with authors Marvin Kalb and Deborah Kalb was moderated by Ted Koppel on Friday, June 24

The United States had never lost a war - that is, until 1975, when it was forced to flee Saigon in utter humiliation and abandon South Vietnam to a victorious communist army. The legacy of this first defeat has haunted every president since, especially on the decision of whether to commit troops to war. In “Haunting Legacy,” the father-daughter journalist team of Marvin and Deborah Kalb presents a compelling, accessible, and hugely important history of presidential decision making on one crucial issue: In light of the Vietnam debacle, under what circumstances should the United States go to war?

The authors spent five years interviewing hundreds of officials from every administration and researching in presidential libraries and archives, and they've produced insight and information never before published. Equal parts taut history, revealing biography, and cautionary tale, “Haunting Legacy” is must reading for anyone trying to understand the power of the past to influence war-and-peace decisions of the present, and of the future.