Secrets by Daniel Ellsberg
OF THE members of the Amer- ican foreign-policy establish- ment who disowned the Vietnam war, Daniel Ellsberg was the most un- usual and perhaps also the most in- fluential. A bureaucratic adviser but never a high-profile official, he shot to prominence in 1971 for leaking the classified “Pentagon Papers,” a 7,000-page government study of American involvement in Vietnam that created a sensation when it ap- peared in the New York Times and the Washington Post. In Papers on the War (1972), a book he wrote immediately after his role in the expose became public, Ellsberg set out the grounds of his opposition to America’s involvement in Vietnam, but he did not provide much in the way of a personal reck- oning. Thirty years later, in Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pen- tagon Papers, he seeks to fill that gap, providing both an insider’s view of policy-making during the war and an account of his own unlikely odyssey from ardent anti-Commu- nist to hero of the radical Left.
About the Author
Jacob Heilbrunn is a writer in Washington, D.C.