Over the years, the Central Intelligence Agency has released redacted versions of every President's Daily Brief from 1961 to 1977. They are, of course, available via the CIA website, but there are thousands of PDFs and tens of thousands of pages, so there's a lot to digest. David Priess wrote an excellent book about the CIA and CIA historians wrote a number of monographs, but I think it's fair to say that there is a lot more that could be learned about the role of the PDB in modern international politics.
As a publisher, I'm always thinking about "hooks" for series, and as I pondered "what was happening fifty years ago?" it occurred to me that it might be an interesting exercise to proceed through the PDBs one day at a time.
So ... watch my Twitter feed @fredzannarbor for daily comments about each PDB under the hashtag #PDB50 and check out Amazon, where I have provided conveniently bound and printed collections of the complete PDBs from fifty years ago. I have also provided a crowd-sourceable Google Drive version of each month's volume that can be edited to provide insight and context. We'll see how that goes!
|January 1971||Amazon pb, Amazon hc||Google Drive|
|February 1971||Amazon pb||to come|
Here is the PDB cover page for for January 1, 1971.
President Richard Nixon was confronted with a complex world situation that was in many ways even more dangerous than the one we inhabit today. Perhaps what jumps out the most from this page is that the US was at war in three Southeast Asian countries – Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The remainder of the PDB includes several pages of maps and war details.
The focus shifts on January 2 to China.
This is quite fascinating IMHO because it reads as if attention is being drawn to the opportunity to improve relations with China. What was the dynamic between Kissinger, Nixon, and the CIA leading up to Nixon's visit to China?