In This Review

The Path To Vietnam: Origins Of The American Commitment To Southeast Asia
The Path To Vietnam: Origins Of The American Commitment To Southeast Asia
By Andrew J. Rotter
Cornell University Press, 1988, 278 pp.

A recent test of the general knowledge of American high school students asked which president led the United States into the Vietnam War. The "right" answer on the test was Lyndon Johnson. The historian's answer, as this fine book shows, must be Harry Truman. The great merit of Mr. Rotter's work lies in his demonstration of how the commitment to supporting the French in Indochina was connected to the economic reconstruction of Europe and Japan as essential elements of containment.