Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers
Daniel Ellsberg began his career as the coldest of cold warriors-a U. S. Marine company commander, a Pentagon analyst, and a staunch supporter of America’s battle against Communist expansion. But in October 1969, Ellsberg-fully expecting to spend the rest of his life in prison-set out to turn around American foreign policy by smuggling out of his office the seven-thousand-page top-secret study, known as the Pentagon Papers, of U.S. decision making in Vietnam. Now, for the first time, Ellsberg tells the full story of how and why he became one of the nation’s most impassioned and influential anti-war activists-and how his actions helped alter the course of U.S. history.
Covering the decade between his entry into the Pentagon and Nixon’s resignation, Secrets is Ellsberg’s meticulously detailed insider’s account of the secrets and lies that shaped American foreign policy during the Vietnam era. Ellsberg provides a vivid eyewitness account of the two years he spent behind the lines in Vietnam as a State Department observer-an experience that convinced him of the hopelessness of Johnson’s policies and profoundly altered his own political thinking. As Ellsberg recounts with drama and insight, the release of the Pentagon Papers, first to The New York Times and The Washington Post, set in motion a train of events that ultimately toppled a president and helped to end an unjust war.
Infused with the political passion and turmoil of the Vietnam era, Secrets is at once the memoir of a committed, daring man, an insider’s exposé of Washington, and a meditation on the meaning of patriotism under a government intoxicated by keeping secrets.