Saturday, April 30, 2011

Harrison/Mosher articles on McNaughton from 1964-1967

BENJAMIN T. HARRISON and. CHRISTOPHER L. MOSHER have written two fine articles on John T. McNaughton and his thoughts and actions on the Vietnam War.  Mosher writes that: “Professor Harrison and I began work on a McNaughton project late in 2001.  Our goal was to try and resolve the conflicting portraits of him in (1) The Pentagon Papers; (2) Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest.  We had a brief exchange with Halberstam in mid-2002 where he gave some advice, a few suggestions, and an important nod of encouragement.

We reviewed a great deal of literature -- general histories of U.S. involvement in Vietnam -- and began working our way through oral histories and various collections at the LBJ Library in Austin.  Late in 2003 I, I contacted Alex McNaughton and during our conversation he invited me to Connecticut to review the materials he retains relating to his father's service in Washington during the 1960s.  My wife and I made that trip in October 2003.  It was at that time that the existence of the diary first became known to Professor Harrison and myself.  Since a copy of the diary was stored with the original, Alex allowed me to bring that copy back to my home in Arlington, Virginia for photocopying -- two copies, one for me and one for my co-author.  That original photocopy was then returned to Connecticut and I believe it was that copy that was passed on to (Tom Paullin) a few weeks later.

Once Professor Harrison and I reviewed the journal we determined that rather than producing one article on McNaughton and Vietnam we would do two -- one based on all that we could gather for the first half of his service, 1964-1965, and then another covering 1966 and 1967 which was covered in, and enriched by, the diary.  That first article appeared in the British journal -- History -- in October 2007 and contained a footnote allerting readers that a second piece was to follow.  The second article was accepted by Diplomatic History in June 2009 and put in the que for publication which occured on-line on Monday, April 25, 2011.  The print version of the journal -- available to members of The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations -- will be released in June. 

Professor Harrison and I are greatly flattered by the initial response the article.”

I have read both of the articles and impressed with the level of academic rigor that is included.  For those who want to do a deeper dive on McNaughton's Pentagon years, I recommend that you access the Harrison/Mosher articles.