By far the greatest contribution of the narrative is the insight it provides into the hows and whys of United States involvement in Vietnam, and the attempt of that involvement to bring freedom to those who were unable to achieve it by their own efforts. We see the United States more as a caretaker and less as a policeman in terms of motivation for its involvement half a world away. And...we see the tremendous price paid by those who served to ensure that freedom - ordinary men who, by fate, were thrown together in a strange land, and who fulfilled a part of their destiny, and their Nation's, on the brown water.
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.
Like the widely praised original, this new edition is compact, clearly written, and accessible to the nonspecialist. First, the book chronicles and analyzes the twenty-year struggle to maintain South Vietnamese independence. Joes tells the story with a sympathetic focus on South Viet Nam and is highly critical of U.S. military strategy and tactics in fighting this war. He claims that the fall of South Viet Nam was not inevitable, that an abrupt and public termination of U.S. aid provoked a crisis of confidence inside South Viet Nam that led to the debacle. Students and scholars of military studies, South East Asia, U.S. foreign policy, or the general reader interested in this fascinating period in 20th century history, will find this new edition to be invaluable reading.
After discussing the principal American mistakes in the conflict, Joes outlines a workable alternative strategy that would have saved South Viet Nam while minimizing U.S. involvement and casualties. He documents the enormous sacrifices made by the South Vietnamese allies, who in proportion to population suffered forty times the casualties the Americans did. He concludes by linking the final conquest of South Viet Nam to an increased level of Soviet adventurism which resulted in the invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. military build-up under Presidents Carter and Reagan, and the eventual collapse of the USSR. The complicated factors involved in the war are here offered in a consolidated, objective form, enabling the reader to consider the implications of U.S. experiences in South Viet Nam for future policy in other world areas.
This unique study argues that the draft dodgers who went to Canada during the Vietnam War were not always the anti-war radicals portrayed in popular culture. Many were the products of stable, conservative, middle class homes who were more interested in furthering their education and careers than in fighting in Southeast Asia. The conflict in Vietnam was just one cause among many for their deep sense of disaffection from the land of their birth. These expatriates remained quintessentially American, because evading the draft was in their opinion consistant with the very best American traditions of individualism and resistance to undue authority or state servitude.
Although the war was not the only or even the primary reason for their immigration to Canada, it was the final action in response to an increasing sense of alientation from America that many had felt since childhood. Kusch's work also raises questions about what it means to be an American. Intriguingly, it suggests the actions of these expatriates should be seen not merely as a drastic response to the Vietnam war, but as a commitment to the core ideals of American and European thought since the Enlightenment.
The aircraft carrier USS Forrestal was preparing to launch attacks into North Vietnam when one of its jets accidentally fired a rocket into an aircraft occupied by pilot John McCain. A huge fire ensued, and McCain barely escaped before a 1,000-pound bomb on his plane exploded, causing a chain reaction with other bombs on surrounding planes. The crew struggled for days to extinguish the fires, but, in the end, the tragedy took the lives of 134 men. For thirty-five years, the terrible loss of life has been blamed on the sailors themselves, but this meticulously documented history shows that they were truly the victims and heroes.
Chief Petty Officer James "Patches" Watson was there at the start. One of the first to come out of the famed Underwater Demolition Team 21, he was an initial member -- a "plank owner" -- of America's deadliest and most elite fighting force, the U.S. Navy SEALs.
Through three tours in the jungle hell of Vietnam, he walked the point -- staying alert to trip wires, booby traps and punji pits, guiding his squad of amphibious fighters on missions of rescue, reconnaissance and demolition -- confronting a war's unique terrors head-on, unprotected . . . and unafraid.This is the story of a hero told from the heart and from the gut -- an authentic tour of duty with one of the most legendary commandoes of the Vietnam War.
The Viet Nam War/the American War: Images and Representations in Euro-American and Vietnamese Exile Narratives
The Indochinese Experience of the French and the Americans: Nationalism and Communism in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam
"Dommen's book promises to be the definitive political history of Indochina during the Franco-American era." -- William M. Leary,
E. Merton Coulter Professor of History, University of Georgia
This magisterial study by Arthur J. Dommen sets the Indochina wars 'French and American' in perspective as no book that has come before. He summarizes the history of the peninsula from the Vietnamese War of Independence from China in 930-39 through the first French military actions in 1858, when the struggle of the peoples of Indochina with Western powers began.
Dommen details the crucial episodes in the colonization of Indochina by the French and the indigenous reaction to it. The struggle for national sovereignty reached an acute state at the end of World War II, when independent governments rapidly assumed power in Vietnam and Cambodia. When the French returned, the struggle became one of open warfare, with Nationalists and Communists gripped in a contest for ascendancy in Vietnam, while the rulers of Cambodia and Laos sought to obtain independence by negotiation.
The withdrawal of the French after their defeat at Dien Bien Phu brought the Indochinese face-to-face, whether as friends or as enemies, with the Americans. In spite of an armistice in 1954, the war between Hanoi and Saigon resumed as each enlisted the help of foreign allies, which led to the renewed loss of sovereignty as a result of alliances and an increasingly heavy loss of lives. Meticulous and detailed, Dommen's telling of this complicated story is always judicious. Nevertheless, many people will find his analysis of the Diem coup a disturbing account of American plotting and murder.
This is an essential book for anyone who wants to understand Vietnam and the people who fought against the United States and won.