A portrayal of the Johnson presidency and its spiraling descent into the Vietnam War. Acting on often conflicting advice from his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara and other advisers, President Johnson finds his domestic policy agenda for the Great Society overtaken by an ever demanding commitment to ending the war. It also depicts his political skills as he crosses swords with political foes such as Bobby Kennedy and Governor George Wallace. Despite support and encouragement from stalwart friends such as Clark Clifford, Johnson realizes his management of the war no longer has the confidence of the American people and announces that he will not seek the nomination of the Democratic party for the the 1968 election.Written by
At one point Robert McNamara tells President Johnson that there are 13 US battalions in Vietnam, and goes on to say this is 51,000 troops. This would mean approximately 4,000 troops per battalion. Given that a US battalion would only have 500-800 troops he is actually talking about 13 brigades (each containing several battalions) and not 13 battalions. See more »
George Ball, Undersecretary of State:
[Looking at McNamara and being slightly drunk]
Look at him! His wife's got an ulcer. His kid's got an ulcer. Everybody's got Bob McNamara's ulcer but Bob McNamara. Sometimes I think it's all just a Goddamn academic exercise to him.
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Another excellent historical docudrama from HBO...
...on the heels of "The Gathering Storm". "Path to War" begins with Lyndon B. Johnson's inaugural ball and ends with his rejection of candidacy for another term. Between, unlikely Brit-cum-Texan Gambon delivers a masterful portrayal of President Johnson as a crude but sagacious politician who struggled with the demons of the Vietnam era not unlike another American president who served during an unpopular war which tore at the fabric of this country a century before. A well crafted HBO documentary which needs and takes little license with history, "Path to War" will likely prove a spell-binding watch for those interested in American political history and a good historical review for anyone with an interest in the Vietnam era.
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