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1. Vietnam and the Chinese Model
2. Forging a Fateful Alliance: Michigan
3. Government and Revolution in Vietnam
4. The Debate over Vietnam (The American
5. Paths to Development in Asia:
6. Improper Practices, Commodity
7. Imprisoned or Missing in Vietnam:
8. Cold War Mandarin: Ngo Dinh Diem
9. Imagining Vietnam and America:
10. Our Vietnam: The War 1954-1975
11. Vietnam: Rising Dragon
12. Vietnam's Southern Revolution:
13. At War in the Shadow of Vietnam:
14. When Governments Collide: Coercion
15. Beyond Hanoi: Local Government
16. Vietnam Diplomatic Handbook (World
17. Light at the End of the Tunnel:
18. Vietnam Revisited: From Covert
19. How We Lost the Vietnam War
20. Nixon's Vietnam War (Modern War

1. Vietnam and the Chinese Model : A Comparative Study of Nguyen and Ch'ing Civil Government in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century (Harvard East Asian Monographs)
by Alexander Woodside
 Paperback: 374 Pages (1988-12-15)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$31.38
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Asin: 067493721X
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Why did the Vietnamese accept certain Chinese institutions and yet explicitly reject others? How did Vietnamese cultural borrowings from China alter the dynamics of traditional relations between Vietnam, Siam, Laos, and Cambodia? How did Vietnam's smaller Southeast Asian environment modify and distort classical East Asian institutions?

Woodside has answered these questions in this well-received political and cultural study. This first real comparison of the civil governments of two traditional East Asian societies on an institution-by-institution basis is now reissued with a new preface.

... Read more

2. Forging a Fateful Alliance: Michigan State University and the Vietnam War
by John Ernst
Paperback: 165 Pages (1998-06)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$19.80
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Asin: 0870134787
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3. Government and Revolution in Vietnam (R.I.I.A. S.)
by Dennis J. Duncanson
 Hardcover: 456 Pages (1968-02)
-- used & new: US$123.51
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Asin: 0192149695
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4. The Debate over Vietnam (The American Moment)
by David W. Levy
Paperback: 256 Pages (1995-10-01)
list price: US$27.00 -- used & new: US$21.87
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Asin: 0801851149
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David Levy's widely acclaimed Debate Over Vietnam examines the bitter national discussion that raged over the propriety, the necessity, and the morality of America's longest war. Levy begins with a brief history of Vietnam under foreign rule and recounts the growing American military presence--and the increasing reaction it provoked. He explores the fundamental values and assumptions of Americans on both sides of the growing debate, contrasting Republican consensus with Democratic division and the split between intellectuals of the left and right. ... Read more

5. Paths to Development in Asia: South Korea, Vietnam, China, and Indonesia
by Tuong Vu
Hardcover: 312 Pages (2010-03-22)
list price: US$85.00 -- used & new: US$66.99
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Asin: 0521761808
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Why have some states in the developing world been more successful at facilitating industrialization than others? Challenging theories that privilege industrial policy and colonial legacies, this book focuses on state structure and the politics of state formation, arguing that a cohesive state structure is as important to developmental success as effective industrial policy. Based on a comparison of six Asian cases, including both capitalist and socialist states with varying structural cohesion, Tuong Vu proves that it is state formation politics rather than colonial legacies that have had decisive and lasting impacts on the structures of emerging states. His cross-national comparison of South Korea, Vietnam, Republican and Maoist China, and Sukarno's and Suharto's Indonesia, which is augmented by in-depth analyses of state formation processes in Vietnam and Indonesia, is an important contribution to understanding the dynamics of state formation and economic development in Asia. ... Read more

6. Improper Practices, Commodity Import Program, U.S. Foreign Aid, Vietnam. Report of the Committee on Government Operations, United States Senate, Made By Its Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Together With Individual Views
by Committee On Government Operations, Permanent Subcommittee On Investigations United States Senate
 Paperback: Pages (1969-01-01)

Asin: B003NY77V0
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7. Imprisoned or Missing in Vietnam: Policies of the Vietnamese Government Concerning Captured and Unaccounted for United States Soldiers, 1969-1994
by Lewis M. Stern
 Library Binding: 203 Pages (1995-05)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$45.00
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Asin: 0786401214
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Despite their insistence that the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops was the condition for the release of prisoners of war, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam took little action to account for American POWs at the end of the Vietnam War. Almost two decades would pass following the end of the war before significant internal political changes, shifting regional alignments, changing Western interests, Sino-Soviet rapprochement, a nonmilitary settlement of the Cambodian conflict, and the collapse of the Soviet Union would bring Hanoi to the point of recognizing the importance of mending its relationship with the West. From the Paris peace talks to the U.S. government's decision in 1994 to lift the trade embargo against Vietnam, Hanoi's policy on American MIAs and POWs is examined, with particular focus on the influence of individual decision-makers on the process and the ways the Vietnamese leadership arrived at their negotiating strategies. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A maximum reading experience for those involved with the War
This book unlocked hidden truths and falsehoods for me and broadened my knowledge of the Vietnamese policy concerning the American M.I.As.It was widely thought-provoking and educational.Anyone interested in the aftermath of the war will be glad they choose to read this book.It helps to illustrate the relationship between these two countries and the growth both have endured since that catastrophic era. ... Read more

8. Cold War Mandarin: Ngo Dinh Diem and the Origins of America's War in Vietnam, 1950-1963 (Vietnam--America in the War Years (Unnumbered).)
by Seth Jacobs
Hardcover: 220 Pages (2006-07-24)
list price: US$81.00 -- used & new: US$81.00
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Asin: 0742544478
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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For almost a decade, the tyrannical Ngo Dinh Diem governed South Vietnam as a one-party police state while the U.S. financed his tyranny. In this new book, Seth Jacobs traces the tragic history of the so-called _Diem experiment_ from his first appearance in Washington as a penniless expatriate in 1950 to his murder by South Vietnamese soldiers on the outskirts of Saigon in 1963. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Cold War Mandarin: Ngo Dinh Diem and the Origins of America's War in Vietnam, 1950-1963
Jacobs bring a clarity and detail to the motivations of the both the Diem and larger Vietnam era. Anyone who seeks insight into the process in which America chose the path to war and involvement in South East Asia needs to read this book. A true original. ... Read more

9. Imagining Vietnam and America: The Making of Postcolonial Vietnam, 1919-1950 (The New Cold War History)
by Mark Philip Bradley
Paperback: 320 Pages (2000-09-18)
list price: US$26.00 -- used & new: US$20.99
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Asin: 0807848611
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In this study of the encounter between Vietnam and the United States from 1919 to 1950, Mark Bradley fundamentally reconceptualizes the origins of the Cold War in Vietnam and the place of postcolonial Vietnam in the history of the twentieth century. Among the first Americans granted a visa to undertake research in Vietnam since the war, Bradley draws on newly available Vietnamese-language primary sources and interviews as well as archival materials from France, Great Britain, and the United States.

Bradley uses these sources to reveal an imagined America that occupied a central place in Vietnamese political discourse, symbolizing the qualities that revolutionaries believed were critical for reshaping their society. American policymakers, he argues, articulated their own imagined Vietnam, a deprecating vision informed by the conviction that the country should be remade in America's image.

Contrary to other historians, who focus on the Soviet-American rivalry and ignore the policies and perceptions of Vietnamese actors, Bradley contends that the global discourse and practices of colonialism, race, modernism, and postcolonial state-making were profoundly implicated in--and ultimately transcended--the dynamics of the Cold War in shaping Vietnamese-American relations. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars (Re)Conceptualizing the Cold War in Vietnam
In this study of the confluence between Vietnam and the United States from 1919 to 1950, Mark Bradley in effect reconceptualizes the origins of the Cold War in Vietnam and the position of a postcolonial Vietnam in the narrative of the 20th century. According to Bradley, "The global discourse and practices of colonialism, race, modernism, and postcolonial state making at once preceded, were profoundly implicated in, and ultimately transcended the dynamics of the Cold War (Bradley, Imagining Vietnam and America 8). Moreover, that American views (once that Vietnamese shared) were, "a variation, rather than a sharp departure, from the hierarchical conceptions of racial difference and the exercise of power at the heart of European colonialism (Bradley, Imagining Vietnam and America 105). What if, in the immediate postwar years, the US had displayed a more accurate understanding of the Vietnamese struggle for freedom from the colonial yoke; could some 20 years of bloodshed have been avoided?

As a point of method, Bradley extracts on newly available Vietnamese-language primary sources and interviews as well as archival materials from France, Great Britain, and the United States to show how American officials tried to extract the French their colonial role and to push indigenous Vietnamese participation (in this case Bao Dai) in their country's economy. Bradley writes with about the admiration by the Vietnamese of American history. Ironically, many of these same nationalists, who expressed reverence and respect for American ideals would become communists in North Vietnam and fiercely fight the US.In the end, we cannot but be struck sense of failed opportunity.

4-0 out of 5 stars ironies abound
From an already fragmentary record, Bradley describes a Vietnam in its last years of French and Japanese colonialism. A sense of piquancy pervades the narrative. We see how American officials tried to wean the French off their colonial role and to encourage indigenous ["native"] Vietnamese participation in their country's economy. There is also shown admiration by the Vietnamese of American history. Ironic in light of how later many of these nationalists would become communists in north Vietnam and fiercely fight the US.

A current reader cannot fail but be struck by a sense of failed opportunity. What if, in the immediate postwar years, the US had displayed a more accurate understanding of the Vietnamese communists. Some 2 decades of bloodshed might have been avoided. Of course, this is with hindsight. But still... ... Read more

10. Our Vietnam: The War 1954-1975
by A.J. Langguth
Paperback: 768 Pages (2002-03-05)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$3.18
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Asin: 0743212312
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Winner of the Overseas Press Club's Cornelius J. Ryan Award for Best Nonfiction Book, the Commonwealth Club of California's Gold Medal for Nonfiction, and the PEN Center West Award for Best Research Nonfiction

Twenty-five years after the end of the Vietnam War, historian and journalist A. J. Langguth delivers an authoritative account of the war based on official documents not available earlier and on new reporting from both the American and Vietnamese perspectives. In Our Vietnam, Langguth takes us inside the waffling and deceitful White Houses of Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon; documents the ineptness and corruption of our South Vietnamese allies; and recounts the bravery of soldiers on both sides of the war. With its broad sweep and keen insights, Our Vietnam brings together the kaleidoscopic events and personalities of the war into one engrossing and unforgettable narrative.Amazon.com Review
By the evidence former New York Times war correspondentA. J.Langguth presents in Our Vietnam, that long conflict can beseen as a steadily accumulating series of missteps,misinterpretations, and mistakes. Some had their origins in earnestattempts to bring scientific method to bear on the business ofkilling, such as Defense Secretary Robert McNamara's belief in thetheory of "statistical control," a cost-benefit accounting procedurethat, hitherto confined to factories, was applied to the battlefieldwith tragic result. Some, such as the endless argument at the Parispeace talks over the shape of the conference table, were born in theendless struggle to win the war on the propaganda front. And some,like the CIA's misreading of events that led to the 1963 coup againstSouth Vietnamese leader Diem, arose from an almost willful refusal torecognize the realities of Vietnamese society.

In this thoroughgoing history of America's adventure in Vietnam,Langguth shows a clear appreciation for the war's many ironies--LyndonJohnson's plan to build a huge dam on the Mekong River while bombingthe neighboring countryside into submission, Ho Chi Minh's distress athaving to battle the Americans, whose ally he had once been--whilecharting a clear narrative course through a dauntingly complex seriesof events. His highly readable book, ranking alongside StanleyKarnow's Vietnam: AHistory, promises to become a standard history of the era, andit is superb in every respect. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great insight.
This is a great read.A good overview for those of us who were kids while the war was underway.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read the title, folks
It's amazing how many people give this book poor reviews because "the author's not hard enough on North Vietnam."

Look at the title:"OUR Vietnam."He's not as interested in the fact that a Communist regime behaved murderously and tyrannically; one rather expects that.Langguth is interested more in how *we* failed *ourselves*, and the South Vietnam we claimed to be serving, in Vietnam.

It's not a comprehensive history -- I wish someone would write one; Karnow's book is good but insufficiently in-depth -- but it's an excellent treatment of how we got in and how we blew it, if indeed those aren't the same thing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Viet Nam: A Global Portrait
Of the hundreds of Viet Nam history books I have read, this is one of the best. Mr. Langguth's narrative intersperses events in Viet Nam during this period with important correlating anecdotes about the governments, and leaders, of the USSR and China. It is one of the few Viet Nam books to analyze our misadventure in a global perspective. I don't think a better written, informative book about Viet Nam exists.

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterful Exploration Of Origins & Progress Of Vietnam War!
One can now add this interesting and informative book to the growing list of recent tomes adding to our understanding of how we can so inextricably drawn into the unfortunate miasma called Vietnam. Certainly, according to able historian A. J. Langguth, there is more than enough culpability in the stream of administrations stretching back as far as the Eisenhower years to add to the coals on the slowly spreading conflagration it eventually became. According to the author, there is little doubt that the Vietnam War wound up being the single most divisive war since the Civil war more than 100 years before. The reasons it split the country into two angry and warring camps were related to its very causes, namely the arrogance and hubris of the WWII generation of those believing in their un power and invulnerability, the so called "best and brightest" that David Halberstam described so beautifully in his book of the same name.

Langguth employs a treasure-trove of new material to examine the way sin which the various administrations made decisions leading us along the deceptive path that led to ever deeper and deeper involvement in Vietnam. And although Eisenhower had warned about the dangers of relying on the wisdom and purposes of the rising clique of the "military-industrial'' complex, he made decisions that facilitated the further extension of policy into Vietnam by the young and relatively unwary president who followed him. Yet it was through Kennedy's reliance on old cold warriors for advice and counsel that led him into a deepening commitment. Indeed, increasingly Kennedy fell under the charismatic influence of defense Secretary Robert McNamara charismatic appeals to escalate the conflict, using euphemistic ideas such as like statistical control and other cost-benefit analysis techniques to seemingly rationalize the process of making decisions into a business decision mentality, rather than recognizing it was men's lives and deaths they were discussing. In such a way, the movement down the path toward ever greater engagement in Vietnam can be viewed as a series of series of tragic mistakes, a series of decision points involving misinterpretations of what was happening and what it meant.

Of course, later in the war, a number of mistakes were made as the domestic political considerations in terms of the associated political advantage or liability of any particular military decision added further complications to the decision making process. Finally, attempts to win the war through the use of propaganda and manipulation of the facts released to the American public disregarded the evidence in favor of further distortions. This had the terrible and politically indefensible policy of leaving the American soldiers at risk in order to gain political advantage both across the negotiating table with the Hanoi regime as well as lying about the conduct and progress of the war to the American public. In essence, the political superstructure here at home became more and more concerned with the self-contained political universe they operated in, and more and more oblivious to the realities of the situation on the ground for American forces in Vietnam. Indeed, they often seemed to being engaging in a willful denial of the basic realities of the military situation and the cultural facts of life in South Vietnam.

This is a very carefully written and quite comprehensive book, one in which the author clearly demonstrates a true appreciation for the unintended consequence and irony of the war. This is easily the best of a spate of recent books published on the subject, and ranks favorably on the same shelf as Stanley Karnow's masterful presentation of the war's overall history in "Vietnam: A History". It also shares an appreciation for the complexities of the war and the ways in which our descent into the madness was triggered by the arrogance, stupidity, and callousness of American politicians. In this sense it share s the perspective of two other fairly recent books, "American Tragedy" by David Kaiser, and "Choosing War" by Frederik Logevall.

5-0 out of 5 stars Power and failure
This work shows exactly how the United states gradually became involved in Vietnam from the details on up. Other reviews have commented on Langguth's objectivity and accuracy. I will mention the most lasting impression this book left on me:
Most of us have the perception that the great men of power throughout history are made of something different from ourselves. We only see them on the world's stage, made up and prepared; speeches rehearsed; ceremony and station lending gravity to their every word and action. We don't think of them sleepless; with a bit of popcorn stuck in their teeth; complaining to their wives; or any of the other everyday situations that even these men of power experience. And so we assume their minds are always bent to grand designs. We think they hold a certain wisdom that lets them maneuver through politics and war, making decisions based on facts or morality.
Langguth's tale tells a different story. Decisions that cost tens of thousands of lives and reshape the world are made by men as sweaty and itchy as you and I. Wars are started because of ego, petty squabbles, and job security. Elections! How many have died so that one man could keep his job? So we see Kennedy and Johnson and Nixon, and all the well-dressed men around them, chewing their lips and eyeing one and other with mistrust, stabbing one and other in the back, lying and cheating, making mistakes.
Wars are started all because we make the mistake of investing such power in mere humans. ... Read more

11. Vietnam: Rising Dragon
by Bill Hayton
Hardcover: 272 Pages (2010-04-06)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$18.64
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Asin: 0300152035
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The eyes of the West have recently been trained on China and India, but Vietnam is rising fast among its Asian peers. A breathtaking period of social change has seen foreign investment bringing capitalism flooding into its nominally communist society, booming cities swallowing up smaller villages, and the lure of modern living tugging at the traditional networks of family and community. Yet beneath these sweeping developments lurks an authoritarian political system that complicates the nation’s apparent renaissance. In this engaging work, experienced journalist Bill Hayton looks at the costs of change in Vietnam and questions whether this rising Asian power is really heading toward capitalism and democracy.

Based on vivid eyewitness accounts and pertinent case studies, Hayton’s book addresses a broad variety of issues in today’s Vietnam, including important shifts in international relations, the growth of civil society, economic developments and challenges, and the nation’s nascent democracy movement as well as its notorious internal security. His analysis of Vietnam’s “police state,” and its systematic mechanisms of social control, coercion, and surveillance, is fresh and particularly imperative when viewed alongside his portraits of urban and street life, cultural legacies, religion, the media, and the arts. With a firm sense of historical and cultural context, Hayton examines how these issues have emerged and where they will lead Vietnam in the next stage of its development.
(20100220) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best on contemporary Vietnam
Considering myself something of an expert on contemporary Vietnam, I thought I might write a book.Then I discovered that Bill Hayton has already written it, and far better than I might have done!Vietnam: Rising Dragon perfectly reports the complex reality of a nation that, having left its legacy of war and economic failure far behind, may -- or may not -- succeed in its goal of becoming 'becoming a developed country by 2020.' Dozens of telling vignettes illuminate Hayton's critique of Vietnam's rapid socio-economic progress and the much slower pace of political evolution.The BBC's former Vietnam correspondent is an expert analyst of the shadowed inner workings of the Vietnamese Communist Party, showing it to be nowhere nearly so monolithic nor effective in enforcing its wishes as is commonly assumed.Hayton deftly exposes the stresses that exposure to global markets and information flows have put on Vietnam's national life, leaving us wondering -- as indeed we should -- whether all this will lead to sustainable prosperity or a new cycle of instability.Highly recommended for curious backpackers, teachers, expatriate executives and anyone who's wondered what happened to Vietnam after it disappeared from the daily newspapers. ... Read more

12. Vietnam's Southern Revolution: From Peasant Insurrection to Total War, 1959-1968 (Culture, Politics, and the Cold War Culture, Politics, and t)
by David Hunt
Paperback: 296 Pages (2009-01-31)
list price: US$28.95 -- used & new: US$28.50
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Asin: 1558496920
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In Vietnam, the American government vowed to win the hearts and minds
of the people. On the other side, among those who led and sympathized with the insurgents, the term people s war gained a wide currency. Yet while much has been written about those who professed to speak for the Vietnamese population, we know surprisingly little about the everyday life of the peasants who made up the bulk of the country s inhabitants. This book illuminates that subject. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including interviews conducted by the Rand Corporation with informants from My Tho Province in the Mekong Delta, David Hunt brings to light the daily experience of villagers in the midst of war and revolu-tion.
The peasants of southern Vietnam were neither onlookers nor mere victims as fighting raged throughout their country. From the concerted uprising in 1959 1960 to the Tet Offensive of 1968, the revolutionary movement they created was in fact the driving force within the war. Known as the Viet Cong to their adversaries, the rebels called themselves the Liberation Front. They demanded an end to landlordism and an egalitarian distribution of the means of subsistence as well as a democratization of relations between town and countryside, parents and children, men and women. They hoped the Vietnamese people would achieve a fuller sense of their place in the world and of the power they possessed to fashion their own destinies, without reliance on supernatural forces.
In the first half of the book, Hunt analyzes this cultural revolution. As fighting spread and became more destructive, especially after the U.S. escalation in 1965, villagers were driven from their homes, the rural infrastructure collapsed, and customary no-tions of space and time lost purchase on an increasingly chaotic world. In the second half of the book, Hunt shows how peas-ants, who earlier had aspired to a kind of revolutionary modernism, now found themselves struggling to survive and to cope with the American intruders who poured into My Tho, and how they managed to regroup and spearhead the Tet Offensive that irrevo-cably altered the course of the war. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Get some balance
First: I haven't read the book and probably won't. I just gave it an "its okay" rating because the editorial reviews indicate its well written.
Books about the horrors of war usually contain few surprises. War is brutal and particularly on civilians caught in the middle of it. But here's my suggestion--anyone actually interested in the 'truth' about that war, and in this case the rise and fall (and believe me they fell) of the Viet Cong should at least read "Victory in Vietnam: The Official History of the People's Army of Vietnam." Written by the Vietnamese. Like much of the American anti-war crowd, the peasants of South Vietnam were dupes and puppets of the North. Those not slaughtered at TET '68 (meaning very few) were cast aside by the Communists when they followed up their Peace Treaty of 1973 (signed because their army had been soundly defeated by the Americans and ARVN) by casting it aside also and invading and conquering South Vietnam.
Much has been made about the Diem government's unpopularity with the people. Anyone checked the popularity rating of the U.S. Congress lately? I paraphrase Vietnamese 'true nationalist' Ton That Thien after the war: What was missing during the war was common sense. Was there actually anyone anywhere who believed that individual freedom and hope for prosperity would be gained with a Communist Victory?

5-0 out of 5 stars C. Michael Hiam, author of Who the Hell Are We Fighting? The Story of Sam Adams and the Vietnam Intelligence Wars
David Hunt has written a thoroughly researched and very readable account of the communist struggle in the Mekong Delta. Based upon the transcripts of American interviews of Viet Cong defectors made between 1965 and 1968, Hunt provides a "rice roots" perspective of the war as experienced by the other side. The author is at his best when he closely follows the often poignant stories of the interviewees; his occasional theoretical digressions slow the narrative down. While the book is intended for an academic audience, it is recommended reading for the Vietnam War buff who is ready for a unique view of the conflict. ... Read more

13. At War in the Shadow of Vietnam: U.S. Military Aid to the Royal Lao Government, 1955-1975
by Timothy N. Castle
 Hardcover: 210 Pages (1993-07)
list price: US$84.00 -- used & new: US$75.71
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Asin: 0231079761
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Based on newly declassified documents and interviews with senior American and Lao officials, this study uncovers American covert operations in Laos during the Vietnamese War. It examines the structure of the US "secret war" in Laos and its long-term consequences. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Thesis
At War in the Shadow of Vietnam by Timothy N. Castle was the result of extensive research the author conducted for his doctoral dissertation. The author's thesis is that the U.S. was involved in a secret war in Laos from 1955 to 1975. This covert war was kept secret because of the agreement that was reached in 1954 that forbid foreign involvement or military aid to the area. Castle interviewed hundreds of both current and previous military service personnel, from the U.S., Laos and Vietnamese governments. He also interviewed personnel from the U.S. run Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In addition he was able to wade through hundreds of declassified documents which described U.S. involvement in Laos and Vietnam during these years. He begins with the question of why Laos was so important to the U.S. and after a brief introduction and background history of Laos, Castle outlines U.S. involvement through the supply of food, medical aid, as well as weapons and military aid to Laos.
Castle's history is brief but essential to the overall story he is telling. Laos was under the control of Thailand from the late 18th century until the late 19th century when it became part of French Indochina. At the Geneva Conference of 1954, agreements were drafted that required the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the region. A group known as the Pathet Lao, which was a Communist, nationalist movement and organization in Laos, was given, as a result of these agreements, free reign to establish itself in Laos's two northern provinces. However, the Viet Minh or North (Communist) Vietnamese, in spite of this agreement, never really withdrew from the border areas of Laos. They effectively controlled and directed all Pathet Lao movement. Castle admits that this paved the ground for North Vietnam to control the Communist regime while the U.S. controlled the non-Communist regime in Laos. Therefore, it was in response to North Vietnam's control of the Pathet Lao that prompted covert U.S. involvement in Laos. Castle says it was covert because it was totally against the 1954 Geneva Conference for the U.S. to supply either non-military or military aid to Laos.
Castle writes extensively about the American airline, Air America, which was used by the U.S. in its effort to keep the North Vietnamese and Communism out of Laos and especially South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese were funneling troops into South Vietnam through Laos and Air America was an effective tool against this threat. He writes, "The CIA's proprietary airline, Air America Inc., was established, along with the 4802d JLD, at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. The role of Air America in the supply and movement of troops and refugees, as well as in clandestine missions and search-and-rescue operations, was a vital component of the overall U.S. effort (2)."
Castle proceeds to show that U.S. aid, both non-military as well as military, was the thrust of their effort to prevent all of South East Asia falling to Communism. He says that the Soviet Union was supplying aid to the Communists and the U.S. felt compelled to do it's best to prevent such aid. This of course resulted in the threat of a confrontation between the two superpowers. He writes, "By December 1960 the conflict in Laos had, tragically, developed into a war supported by competing external forces. Moreover, the increasing levels of Soviet and American air power in Laos underscored the unyielding determination of Moscow and Washington to support their surrogates...(25)."
Castle begins by asking the question of why Laos was so important to the U.S. and through the interviews and declassified materials, he attempts to answer that question. The overall answer is that the U.S. simply feared that Communism, left unchecked, would eventually topple all of South East Asia. Castle says that U.S. involvement was so extensive only because the U.S. simply did not believe the Laotians were able to combat the Communist threat. He writes, "The possibility of American military intervention in Laos evinced a well-founded Pentagon conviction that the Royal Lao Army (FAR) was incapable of defending the kingdom. Recent intelligence reports showed that Pathet Lao soldiers, joined by North Vietnamese `advisers,' were easily achieving daily territorial gains against the Royal Lao government (30)." Therefore, the U.S. felt it had to send military aid and supply military training to the Royal Lao government.
Castle then concludes by stating that he believes the record proves that U.S. aid "fell miserably short (128)." The result was a war--in Vietnam--that the U.S. could not possibly win. It was a war in Laos in the shadow of Vietnam. Castle writes, "This examination has shown, however, that Laotian neutrality was never achieved (135)." However, Castle says that, whether or not American policy toward Laos was a failure, "depends upon one's criteria (135)." Some believe it was a huge victory, while others a huge failure. Regardless, Castle writes, "America's war in Laos, hidden from public view for so long, deserves greater study (137)."
Castle's work for the most part is difficult reading. Unless one possesses a unique understanding and historical perspective of South East Asia, as well as being well versed in military terms and strategy, this is not easy reading. However, Castle has offered a unique perspective of U.S. involvement in foreign affairs. For that reason alone I believe it fits well into this assignment. Castle draws extensively from primary and secondary source material as well as declassified military documents as evinced by the nineteen-page bibliography. The student of the war in Vietnam should find this work useful, and the thirty-seven pages of notes excellent research material.
... Read more

14. When Governments Collide: Coercion and Diplomacy in the Vietnam Conflict, 1964-1968
by Wallace J. Thies
 Paperback: 466 Pages (1982-05-17)
list price: US$15.95
Isbn: 0520046463
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15. Beyond Hanoi: Local Government in Vietnam
by Benedict J. Tria and David G. Marr (editors( Kerkvliet
 Paperback: 288 Pages (2004)

Isbn: 8791114551
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16. Vietnam Diplomatic Handbook (World Business, Investment and Government Library)
by Ibp Usa
 Paperback: 300 Pages (2009-01-01)
list price: US$149.95 -- used & new: US$99.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0739759698
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Vietnam Diplomatic Handbook (World Business, Investment and Government Library) ... Read more

17. Light at the End of the Tunnel: A Vietnam War Anthology
by Andrew J. Rotter
Paperback: 486 Pages (2010-03-16)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$29.48
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Asin: 0742561348
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Of all of the wars in which the U.S. has been engaged, none has been as divisive as the conflict in Vietnam. The repercussions of this unsettling episode in American history still resonate in our society. Although it ended more than 30 years ago, the Vietnam War continues to fascinate and trouble Americans. The third edition of Light at the End of the Tunnel gives a full overview of the conflict. Starting with Ho Chi Minh's revolt against the French, editor Andrew Rotter takes the reader through the succeeding years as scholars, government officials, journalists, and others recount the important events in the conflict and examine issues that developed during this tumultuous time.This book is essential reading for anyone who has an interest in understanding the Vietnam War. The readings in it will enlighten students about this turning point in the history of the United States and the world.The third edition includes greater coverage of the Vietnamese experience of the war and reflects the growing interest in understanding the war as an international event, not just a bilateral or trilateral conflict. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent, Balanced, Accessible Account of the War in Vietnam
This is an excellent collection of documents from both sides of the conflict in Vietnam.I had the pleasure of taking a course with Prof. Rotter (the author of this book) in college, and currently use it in my own high school history course on Vietnam.Rotter organizes and introduces documents from different periods in the war and includes accounts from both American and Vietnamese perspectives.

3-0 out of 5 stars A good overview of the Vietnam Conflict.
This book is a good balanced account of the history of the Vietnamese Conflict. A nice compilation. ... Read more

18. Vietnam Revisited: From Covert Action to Invasion to Reconstruction
by David Dellinger
 Paperback: Pages (1986-10)
list price: US$9.00 -- used & new: US$10.50
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Asin: 0896083195
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19. How We Lost the Vietnam War
by Nguyen C. Ky
Paperback: 248 Pages (2002-12-25)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$7.88
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Asin: 0815412223
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Ky, the former Prime Minister of South Vietnam, gives an insider's account of the disputes and corruption within the South Vietnamese government, and the diplomatic struggles with the U. S. government during the war. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Iraq is Vietnam Deja Vue.
Doesn't anybody in our government read history? South Vietnam didn't want Communism, but they weren't exactly excited about American Democracy. And, in our simplistic American way, we didn't understand we could not impose our system on top of the South Vietnamese. Ky's assessment of America's mistakes are, in parallel with the mistakes we are making in Iraq--just as we didn't give South Vietnam what they needed to win and gave them what we thought they needed to win--so we are doing the same thing to the newly elected government of Iraq.

Ultimately, Congress cut and ran on the deal Nixon made with South Vietnam.South Vietnam was overrun by North Vietnam who had the full military support of the Soviet Union.We abandoned the South and let them be crushed, while the Communist stayed true to the North and made them the victors.Looks like we are going to cut and run in Iraq.Same losing strategy, different war.

5-0 out of 5 stars how we lost the vietnam war
well written and very informative. Since i have met the author , i enjoyed the book more. I also served in viet nam two tours in the late 60's

I assumed this would be another book bashing of our Vietnam experience.

Instead this was an interesting perspective from a major player in this historic endeavor.

It provides a timeless truth leadersand foreign policy makers seem to ignore but must learn if we are to enjoysuccessful foreign policy.


"Applying Occidental solutionsto Oriental problems is a recipe for failure!"

When Ky said "WElost"he is not refering to the American military but to the Americanand South Vietnameese Policies and approach to the conflict.

Nguyen CaoKy professes to have uncompromising values and being above the corruptionthat infected the politics and policies of the South East Asian war. Hisdefinition of corruption may be very different from that of a westerner.

Regardless if it is in Vietnam, Somolia, Haiti, Iraq, Bosnia or now inKosovo, the American politicians and military leaders are destined to failif they persist in not learing that "You cannot project your values,beliefs and customs on an alien culture and expect success".

RVNClass of "68" ... Read more

20. Nixon's Vietnam War (Modern War Studies)
by Jeffrey Kimball
Paperback: 528 Pages (2002-03-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$22.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0700611908
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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This is the first book to focus exclusively on Nixon's direction of the Vietnam War. Based on extensive interviews with principal players and original research in Vietnam, it goes behind the scenes in Washington and into the minds of America's leaders to provide the most complete and balanced analysis of Nixon's and Kissinger's complex and tortuous strategy and diplomacy. Winner of the Robert H. Ferrell Book Prize and Selection of the History Book Club. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great read.
Nixon's Vietnam War is stunningly informative.It is a tour de force and a joy to read.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Balanced if marginal account
This was an anticipated read.Here for the first time is an account of the Vietnam war fought by the Nixon administration. Nixon began his experience with Vietnam with more then 500,000 men in Vietnam, and he inherited the massive protests from the LBJ administration.Nixon's first reaction, since the Army had crushed the Vietnamese in the aftermath of Tet, was to break the will of the enemy.Nixon's instincts led him into the Christmas bombing in 72, the bombing of Hanoi, the intervention in Cambodia and the mining of Haiphong harbor.All these acts came just short of crippling N. Vietnam.And then, just as the war was about to be won Kissinger signed the Paris accords.Why?Because Nixon had promised `peace with honor'.Nixon had ended the draft, re-instituted the volunteer army and eventually brought all the Americans back home.But in the end he ensured the end of the freedom of S. Vietnam.This book tries to blacken the Nixon legacy further by showing that he needlessly prolonged the war and that he caused undue destruction of the North.

Yet the book has several gaps.First and foremost it is a political, not a military account, which is unfortunate for anyone interested in the facts on the ground and the truth behind the `Vietnamization' of the war.So we don't learn much about the competence or abilities of newly trained S. Vietnamese units nor do we learn about the successes of programs like Phoenix.Also missing is the truth behind the fact that the protestors were actually looked to by the North as inspiration to keep fighting.In the end this is a necessary addition to the scholarship on the Nixon period 1968-72, but lacks many points.

Seth J. Frantzman

1-0 out of 5 stars Phony scholarship no sub for the real thing
I'm writing a review because the rest of these reviews sound like they were all taken from the same dust jacket, which is where reviews like those belong!

The Kimball books all have in common that they are ideologically driven. All Kimball does is arrange the so-called "evidence" --- that is, the out-of context quotes, the out-of-context items and figures and so forth --- to suit a certain viewpoint of the Viet Nam war.

For instance, Kimball goes on at some length in attempts to "prove" the patently ridiculous theory that the relentless opposition to the war on the part of the press and the pro-Hanoi, communist-lead"anti-war" movement did not prolong the war, when in fact as those of us who were there clearly know from direct experience, the anti-war movement and protests enouraged the North Viet Namese.

Kimball's endorsement of and his zany attempts to "prove" that ridiculous theory clearly demonstrate the ideological fantasizing behind this book.

To make a claim to the contrary is just nothing more than ideological blather, wishful thinking on the part of "'60's liberals" who cr@pped on us in the war.

Whether Kimball is one of these or not, he certainly knows his audience and how to play them.

This book is not and will NOT be the last word on Viet Nam. Those of us who lived through it all will see to that.

5-0 out of 5 stars Is Nixion a new particle with negative energy?
I just wanted to add a 5-star review to help buffer the earlier 2-star rating that said "nixion blows".

5-0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Examination Of Nixon's Conduct Of War In Vietnam!
This smart, incisive, and telling book neatly unzips the clever reconstruction that many neo-conservative authors have bought into regarding the conduct of the Vietnam War by the Nixon administration.While few of us would quarrel with the idea that Nixon accomplished much on the world scene, we still must protest the idea held by many that he was so severely hampered in his prosecution of the war by a combination of internal and external constraints that he was unable to execute the compassionate, intelligent, and objective policies toward southeast Asia that he and Henry Kissinger had so painstakingly devised. Rather, we learn here that his Vietnam policies were as full of the `sturm und drang' contradictions seen elsewhere in his administration.For Nixon, prosecution of the Vietnam War was just another case of "politics as usual", another opportunity to pit conservative against liberal, hawk against dove, for personal aggrandizement and short-term political gain.

Far from flying with the angels, both Nixon and Kissinger bloodied their hands by instituting policies that resulted a dramatic increase in both American and Vietnamese casualties, instituting policies that continued the escalation of the war and its extension to new areas such as Laos and Cambodia.Using the conflict in Vietnam as a key element to engage both the Soviet Union and Communist China, Nixon seemed to lose sight of the need to deal with the specific factors propelling the war even as he became increasingly engaged with it, thinking he could simply "bomb" the North Vietnamese into capitulating regardless of the mounting evidence to the contrary. At times his conduct of the war was not only irrational and extremely counter-productive, but also criminal and unnecessary, as with the incursions into Cambodia in 1970, which spurred an avalanche of student protest and increasing political resistance at home.

Nixon's presidency is a study in contrasts, a reflection of the internal contradictions propelling the President himself. Nixon is truly one of the most fascinating of our modern presidents, a remarkable amalgam of his genius, daring, and all-too human flaws, a man so haunted and tortured by his interior demons that he spent the balance of his post=presidency years attempting to reconstruct the truth about his conduct of the presidency and the war in Vietnam.Here is revealed a man so anxious to gain the presidency that he outrageously influenced the President of South Vietnam during the 1968 presidential campaign to disengage from an effort by sitting President Lyndon Johnson to end the war. How can we expect a man capable of such perverted motives to do "the right thing" to save life and treasure by bringing the war to an "honorable" conclusion?

Instead, we find the same irrational, pseduo-macho tendencies as led to the debacle of Watergate perpetrated onto the war in Vietnam, resulting in thousands of additional deaths and casualties. This is a wonderful book, one that lays bare the truth about the self-serving efforts by Nixon, Kissinger, and a number of over-eager neo-conservatives to reconstruct the truth about the conduct of the war in Vietnam in order to salve their structure of beliefs and also lay blame for the war at the doorsteps of sixties liberals. I found myself engaged and excited by the author's interesting approach, and was quite impressed by the interviews, documents, and research used to present the evidence included in the book. This is one I can heartily recommend, and enthusiastically give a full five star rating to. Enjoy! ... Read more

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