In This Review
National Security Decisions: The Participants Speak

National Security Decisions: The Participants Speak

Edited by Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr. and Jacquelyn K. Davis

Lexington Books, 1990, 388 pp.

There is a nice grit of bureaucratic reality to the 23 interviews excerpted from the Fletcher School's oral history project. Yet while the interviews themselves will be valuable grist for future historians, organizing the excerpts into short sections on the National Security Council or Middle East crises is unsatisfying; the accounts are too partial and parochial. Rather than what the interviewees thought about, the editors might have searched for patterns in how they thought-the mindsets they brought, the analogies they jumped to, their sources of information and the trains of logic they followed.