Our Head of Sixth Form here at Berkhamsted, Mr Petty, wrote to me recently about a book which had made an impression on him during our Christmas holidays (I know, we’re still looking at books read whilst we still had time to read…). His choice this time was Gordon M Goldstein’s non-fiction title, Lessons in disaster : McGeorge Bundy and the path to war in Vietnam. As a historian and teacher of politics, I can imagine this to be a compelling read for Mr Petty. He says:
“I read a cracking book over Christmas… It’s based on interviews and diaries by Bundy, a national security adviser who was very close to decision-making in the Vietnam War, which most would surely regard as a disaster. It has remarkably candid reflections, as its title implies, and is a brilliant companion to that most moving film based on Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Fog of War, which is similarly honest in its admission of mistakes. Seemingly rare nowadays, from policy-makers?”
I’m sure that Mr Petty has recommended this title, and that of the film, to his Year 13 students, and can only imagine that it will support their studies. We should hope that our young people can learn so much from the honesty of politicians and use the past to reflect more deeply on how to improve decision-making and developing foreign policy in the future.