The Pentagon Papers is one of the greatest works of American letters. It is great because of its sheer size and the manner in which it was created. When it was completed, the Papers totaled about 7,000 pages. Three-dozen analysts worked on the text, each of them writing their separate volumes in the same conference room in the Pentagon. It was completed in less than one year.
The Papers is particularly great because it provides insight to the inner workings of the highest levels of American power during the course of 23 years. A cast of characters is ever-changing, but the processes, decisions, and deceits remain the same. The document reveals how that power actually operates.
If you are someone who came of age after the Carter Administration (1977-81), it is unlikely that you know about the Pentagon Papers except as it has been referenced during massive WikiLeaks disclosures. This recently abridged edition has been conceived specifically so that you can experience the broad scope of that entire original work in one or two sittings. In addition, there are online resources included to expand your experience.
The aim of this publication, drawn exclusively from the original work, is to restore the currency of the Papers to a new generation who find their nation engaged in another “endless war.” This new generation will discover that we have been here before and that it will not end without concerted effort to impose transparency and accountability on our leaders.
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