This monumental narrative clarifies, analyses and demystifies the terrible ordeal of the Vietnam war. Free of ideological bias, profound in its ...Show synopsisThis monumental narrative clarifies, analyses and demystifies the terrible ordeal of the Vietnam war. Free of ideological bias, profound in its understanding and compassionate in its portrayal of humanity, it is filled with fresh revelations drawn from secret documents and from exclusive interviews with the participants - French, American, Vietnamese, Chinese: diplomats, military commanders, high government officials, journalists, nurses, workers and soldiers. The Vietnam war was the most convulsive tragedy of recent times. This is its definitive history.Hide synopsis
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This is a really good book for a lot of information prior to about 1966, after that he seems to omit or gloss over, later developments.
General Abrams is not even listed as a 'Principal Character', his tenure is only dealt with in a small proportion of the book. I like Lewis Sorley's 'A better War' for this.
Likewise, the contribution made by non american forces is barely touched on. Being an Australian, I always look at how broad the coverage is. I particularly look to see if Australia is credited with the Long Tan victory on 18 Aug 1966, a victory which while not of the same scale as Ia Drang, is very similar and earned a presidential unit citation.
The South Koreans and Thais provided significant contribution in excess of Australia's efforts and this is rarely even mentioned.
What this book covers I find very good, especially the way it helps understand the French debacle, which while well documented by Bernard Fall, I found Fall's account somewhat disjointed (Street without joy).
This book is based on a TV series and so may have suffered somewhat in its depth because of this.
The bottom line is, however, I liked it.
The book has great information about the Vietnam war, including french involvment, communist takeover, American involvement, escalation and the like. Also includes overviews of each battle. Great Resource for anyone interested in Vientnam or military history.
Karnow has written one of the most objective and comprehensive early histories of the Vietnam War. (By early, I mean it was written before some significant documents and commentaries by government officials were published.)
It is shameful that so many Americans still refuse to accept the fact that the Vietnam War was unnecessary and unwinnable. Their attitude has been a signifant factor in getting us into another unnecessary and unwinnable war in Iraq.
If we cannot learn from history, we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.
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