Helsing provides a unique perspective on the escalation of the Vietnam War. He examines what many analysts and former policymakers in the Johnson administration have acknowledged as a crucial factor in the way the United States escalated in Vietnam: Johnson's desire for both guns and butter--his belief that he must stem the advance of communism in Southeast Asia while pursuing a Great Society at home. He argues that the United States government, the president, and his key advisers in particular engaged in a major pattern of deception in how the United States committed its military force in Vietnam. He then argues that a significant sector of the government was deceived as well. The first half of the book traces and analyzes the pattern of deception from 1964 through July 1965. The second half shows how the military and political decisions to escalate influenced--and were influenced by--the economic advice and policies being given the President. This in-depth analysis will be of particular concern to scholars, students, and researchers involved with U.S. foreign and military policy, the Vietnam War, and Presidential war powers.