BBC NEWS | Americas | Obituary: Robert McNamara
holy shit I can't believe that he's dead. He's been old for my whole life but he was a hell of a guy.
I highly recommend "Fog of War." a documentary that is essentially just a long interview with him.
The Fog of War - Robert McNamara's Korea to Vietnam : TV Shows Other - Mininova
The guy was involved in a ton of stuff, from the Cuban missile crisis to fallout protection, to pioneering auto safety at Ford. He was involved in the logistics and planning of the Vietnam war from before it was a war and was one of the architects of the withdrawel. He legislated the end of racial segregation in the military.
He also was the head of the world bank for 13 years, during which time he focussed the world bank on poverty reduction. Using statistical methods to see what projects would lead to the biggest improvements in quality of life and thereby economic output of the regions in question. This caught a lot of flack but I personally think he was dead nuts on the money there. There's a lot of "cute" issues that people like to talk about, MacNamara had the balls to cut thru it and prioritize the problems in terms of return on investment, rather than throwing the money away on "hot" political issues that would get approval but cost an exorbant amount for very little improvement in quality of life.
Anyhow, he was/is a deeply controversial man, love him or hate him he had more influence over the shaping of the modern world than most presidents.
He died yesterday at age 93.