Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $8.90
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 64%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $8.90   
  • New (6) from $21.50   
  • Used (2) from $8.90   


The Virtual JFK DVD is now available! For more information on the film companion to the book, visit It Matters Who Is President—Then and Now At the heart of this provocative book lies the fundamental question: Does it matter who is president on issues of war and peace? The Vietnam War was one of the most catastrophic and bloody in living memory, and its lessons take on resonance in light of America's current devastating involvement in Iraq. Tackling head-on the most controversial and debated "what if" in U.S. foreign policy, this unique work explores what President John F. Kennedy would have done in Vietnam if he had not been assassinated in 1963. Drawing on a wealth of recently declassified documents, frank oral testimony of White House officials from both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and the analysis of top historians, this book presents compelling evidence that JFK was ready to end U.S. involvement well before the conflict escalated. With vivid immediacy, readers will feel they are in the president's war room as the debates raged that forever changed the course of American history—and continue to affect us profoundly today as the shadows of Vietnam stretch into Iraq.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Robert S. McNamara
I urge everyone interested in Kennedy, Johnson, and Vietnam, and everyone concerned about the kind of leadership we need to keep our nation out of war, to read this book. It is far and away the best book on these subjects I have ever read—lucid, rich, and balanced, with all sides getting a fair, but critical, hearing.
Wayne S. Smith
The authors deftly analyze all sides in the debate. They also draw lessons from the Kennedy presidency that can now be useful as the nation moves to rescue U.S. foreign policy from the morass into which it has fallen during the presidency of George W. Bush. JFK has never looked more persuasive or more relevant than he does here.
Robert K. Brigham
As an exercise in virtual history, this book is impeccable. The authors have brought together the relevant policy makers, scholars, and newly released documents to examine the major question of the Vietnam War. Their conclusion—that Kennedy would not have Americanized the war—is reasonable and significant, as is their methodology. This is must reading for any student of American foreign relations.
Bruce Riedel
A fascinating and important book that uses innovative research to explain how America got into the Vietnam quagmire. It is deeply relevant to today's debates about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the danger of war with Iran with timely lessons on presidential leadership.
Joseph S. Nye Jr.
In this carefully documented but very readable account, Blight, Lang, and Welch provide a ringside seat on an important debate that is more than a historical curiosity. They show how a change of leaders can make a profound difference in the unfolding of historical events—then and now. Anyone interested in America's role in the world should read this absorbing book.
The New York Review Of Books
On the two most treacherous issues Kennedy left unresolved, the jury will always be out. Mindful of the southern segregationists in his own party, he moved timidly in advancing civil rights for African-Americans. We'll never know whether his powerful Oval Office addresses, promoted by the National Guard-enforced admission of black students into the University of Alabama in June 1963, was the harbinger of a greater commitment to civil rights activism or not. Nor, of course, will we ever know whether Kennedy would have followed Johnson's disastrous course in Vietnam. The closest we have to an answer can be found in Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived.
Foreign Affairs
The authors . . . make a fair case that . . . 'virtual history' is a much more serious exercise than counterfactual history. . . . The liveliness of the exchanges and the enthusiasm of the participants do illuminate this critical period in U.S. history.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742557000
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/16/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 472
  • Sales rank: 931,182
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

James G. Blight is CIGI Chair of Foreign Policy Development, Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo. janet M. Lang is research professor, Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo. David A. Welch is CIGI Chair of Global Security, Balsillie School of International Affairs, and professor of political science, University of Waterloo.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

New Preface to the Paperback Edition: Virtual JFK to President Barack Obama: Is the Game in Afghanistan Worth the Candle?
Prologue: Whither Vietnam, If Kennedy Had Lived?
Chapter 1: Why Kennedy, Johnson, and Vietnam? Why Now?
Chapter 2: Who's Who at the Musgrove Conference
Chapter 3: What JFK Decided: November 1961
Chapter 4: What JFK Decided: October–November 1963
Chapter 5: What LBJ Decided: The "Long 1964"
Chapter 6: Virtual JFK, Not Counterfactual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived
Epilogue: Does it Matter Who Is President in Matters of War and Peace?: A Tale of Three Choices
Appendix A: Excerpts From Declassified Documents and Secret Audio Tapes
Appendix B: JFK What If Questionnaire for Musgrove Participants

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)