Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stuff I Liked

I'm severely dating myself here, but I have always enjoyed listening to Jethro Tull, and I always had a soft spot for their accoustic songs, like Fat Man and Thick as a Brick.

This March, they released an accoustic album titled The Best of Accoustic Jethro Tull, and it's quite good. There are 24 tracks, and it's an excellent mix of popular and obscure. Here's an Amazon link if you're interested.

If you picked up The Perfect Spy after I mentioned it a few weeks ago, you'll be pleased to know that Larry Berman has written several other excellent books as well. Both Lyndon Johnson's War (can't find an Amazon paperback link) and No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger, and Betrayal in Vietnam are fascinating reads.

No Peace, No Honor is particularly engrossing, and it's filled with stories that have only been revealed after documents from that period have been declassified.

Here's one example. Before the 1968 elections, Nixon had secret (and illegal) contact with the government of South Vietnam, trying to convince them to stay away from the Paris peace talks until after the election (they did).

LBJ knew this, and compiled a thick file on Nixon's activities. If he had made this information public before the election, it might have cost Nixon the Presidency.

So why didn't LBJ make the information public? Because the only reason he knew was because he was bugging Nixon's campaign. Even his private plane, if I remember correctly.

When Watergate started to explode in Nixon's face, he tried to get LBJ to call off the Congressional investigations by threatening to reveal that LBJ had been doing essentially the same thing in 1968. LBJ threatened to respond by revealing Nixon's secret contacts with South Vietnam.


There are many, many remarkable stories in this book, and it makes for a terrific read.

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