The Price of Loyalty: Hubert Humphrey’s Vietnam Conflict

Rowman & Littlefield. Jul. 2020. 192p. ISBN 9780742544529. $45. HIST
Johns (history, Brigham Young Univ.) explores how Hubert Humphrey’s (1911–78) hopes of making a difference as vice president (1965–69) went wrong, and how his hawkish support of Lyndon B. Johnson’s Vietnam policy fatally damaged his run for the presidency against Richard Nixon in 1968. The author shows how Johnson persistently ignored the vice president’s recommendations and kept him out of policy discussions on Vietnam. He didn’t support Humphrey in his run for president, going so far as to hold backdoor discussions with Nixon while hiding information from his own party’s candidate. Meanwhile, Humphrey enthusiastically supported the administration’s war policy, only distancing himself when it was too late to make a difference. The book starts with a summation of Humphrey’s career in the Senate (1949–64), but the primary focus is on his relationship with Johnson, which the describes as merely transactional. Johns ends with a brief account of Humphrey’s return to the Senate in 1971, where he served until his death in 1978.
VERDICT For scholars of both the period and the career of Humphrey.

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