In This Review
Promise and Power: The Life and Times of Robert McNamara

Promise and Power: The Life and Times of Robert McNamara

By Deborah Shapley

Little, 1993, 734 pp.

Can we honor and respect Robert McNamara? From the time the young California native left a teaching position at Harvard Business School to join the Army Air Corps during the Second World War, McNamara has been a tireless improver and rationalizer of military and industrial institutions, even of the world. But as Deborah Shapley makes abundantly clear in Promise and Power, her eminently readable and cleverly crafted biographical study of McNamara, what the nation needed during the Vietnam War era was not a whiz kid, not a supreme bean-counter, but a leader of vision, moral courage and scrupulous honesty. And

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