Craig McNamara came of age in the political tumult and upheaval of the late 60s. While Craig McNamara would grow up to take part in anti-war demonstrations, his father, Robert McNamara, served as John F. Kennedy's Secretary of Defense and the architect of the Vietnam War. This memoir offers a picture of one father and son at pivotal periods in American history.
... loving but brutally honest ... gives readers a vivid, front-row view of the divisiveness in one very prominent family, and through that family, a view of the national divisiveness that continued long after the Vietnam War.
... staggering ... There is an awkward, halting quality to Craig McNamara’s prose, which gives it credibility and power. Craig seemed to live much of his life in a state of shock. Terrible things happened to him, and, over and over again, he can’t remember his reaction.
... a valiant and abrasive attempt to sift through a legacy his father refused to abjure. If Camelot really was a kind of court of midcentury kings, a high watermark for liberal capitalism distant from our moment of fracture, how fortunate we are to have such a thoughtful account of that world from someone who was born into it. Unlike many memoirs from this milieu and journalistic treatments of it, Craig McNamara’s book evinces the sort of hippie humanity that his dad, in his own way, worked to squash ... You can tell Craig McNamara means business because he directly links his formative experiences with geopolitical explosions, the elite class of U.S. bureaucrats reacting to them, and how these encounters might connect to the lives of their children ... a captivating text for anyone grappling with the pain of possessing a parent who did horrible things. It is also a charming account of a long-since-dead international liberal aristo-bureaucracy. That a son published such a loving denunciation of his father is fairly astonishing.