Kontum: The Battle to Save South Vietnam

University Press of Kentucky
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In the spring of 1972, North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam in what became known as the Easter Offensive. Almost all of the American forces had already withdrawn from Vietnam except for a small group of American advisers to the South Vietnamese armed forces. The 23rd ARVN Infantry Division and its American advisers were sent to defend the provincial capital of Kontum in the Central Highlands. They were surrounded and attacked by three enemy divisions with heavy artillery and tanks but, with the help of air power, managed to successfully defend Kontum and prevent South Vietnam from being cut in half and defeated. Although much has been written about the Vietnam War, little of it addresses either the Easter Offensive or the Battle of Kontum. In Kontum: The Battle to Save South Vietnam, Thomas P. McKenna fills this gap, offering the only in-depth account available of this violent engagement. McKenna, a U.S. infantry lieutenant colonel assigned as a military adviser to the 23rd Division, participated in the battle of Kontum and combines his personal experiences with years of interviews and research from primary sources to describe the events leading up to the invasion and the battle itself. Kontum sheds new light on the actions of U.S. advisers in combat during the Vietnam War. McKennaÕs book is not only an essential historical resource for AmericaÕs most controversial war but a personal story of valor and survival.
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About the author

Thomas P. McKenna, Lt. Col., USA (Ret.), served as a military adviser to the Army of South Vietnam and has published articles on military history in Vietnam, Military Officer, and Military Heritage magazines. He lives in Stowe, Vermont.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University Press of Kentucky
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Published on
Sep 1, 2011
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Pages
376
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ISBN
9780813134017
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / Vietnam War
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Robert Hecht-Nielsen
Formal study of neuroscience (broadly defined) has been underway for millennia. For example, writing 2,350 years ago, Aristotle! asserted that association - of which he defined three specific varieties - lies at the center of human cognition. Over the past two centuries, the simultaneous rapid advancements of technology and (conse quently) per capita economic output have fueled an exponentially increasing effort in neuroscience research. Today, thanks to the accumulated efforts of hundreds of thousands of scientists, we possess an enormous body of knowledge about the mind and brain. Unfortunately, much of this knowledge is in the form of isolated factoids. In terms of "big picture" understanding, surprisingly little progress has been made since Aristotle. In some arenas we have probably suffered negative progress because certain neuroscience and neurophilosophy precepts have clouded our self-knowledge; causing us to become largely oblivious to some of the most profound and fundamental aspects of our nature (such as the highly distinctive propensity of all higher mammals to automatically seg ment all aspects of the world into distinct holistic objects and the massive reorganiza tion of large portions of our brains that ensues when we encounter completely new environments and life situations). At this epoch, neuroscience is like a huge collection of small, jagged, jigsaw puz zle pieces piled in a mound in a large warehouse (with neuroscientists going in and tossing more pieces onto the mound every month).
George Veith
The defeat of South Vietnam was arguably America’s worst foreign policy disaster of the 20th Century. Yet a complete understanding of the endgame—from the 27 January 1973 signing of the Paris Peace Accords to South Vietnam’s surrender on 30 April 1975—has eluded us.

Black April addresses that deficit. A culmination of exhaustive research in three distinct areas: primary source documents from American archives, North Vietnamese publications containing primary and secondary source material, and dozens of articles and numerous interviews with key South Vietnamese participants, this book represents one of the largest Vietnamese translation projects ever accomplished, including almost one hundred rarely or never seen before North Vietnamese unit histories, battle studies, and memoirs. Most important, to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of South Vietnam’s conquest, the leaders in Hanoi released several compendiums of formerly highly classified cables and memorandum between the Politburo and its military commanders in the south. This treasure trove of primary source materials provides the most complete insight into North Vietnamese decision-making ever complied. While South Vietnamese deliberations remain less clear, enough material exists to provide a decent overview.

Ultimately, whatever errors occurred on the American and South Vietnamese side, the simple fact remains that the country was conquered by a North Vietnamese military invasion despite written pledges by Hanoi’s leadership against such action. Hanoi’s momentous choice to destroy the Paris Peace Accords and militarily end the war sent a generation of South Vietnamese into exile, and exacerbated a societal trauma in America over our long Vietnam involvement that reverberates to this day. How that transpired deserves deeper scrutiny.
Robert Hecht-Nielsen
Formal study of neuroscience (broadly defined) has been underway for millennia. For example, writing 2,350 years ago, Aristotle! asserted that association - of which he defined three specific varieties - lies at the center of human cognition. Over the past two centuries, the simultaneous rapid advancements of technology and (conse quently) per capita economic output have fueled an exponentially increasing effort in neuroscience research. Today, thanks to the accumulated efforts of hundreds of thousands of scientists, we possess an enormous body of knowledge about the mind and brain. Unfortunately, much of this knowledge is in the form of isolated factoids. In terms of "big picture" understanding, surprisingly little progress has been made since Aristotle. In some arenas we have probably suffered negative progress because certain neuroscience and neurophilosophy precepts have clouded our self-knowledge; causing us to become largely oblivious to some of the most profound and fundamental aspects of our nature (such as the highly distinctive propensity of all higher mammals to automatically seg ment all aspects of the world into distinct holistic objects and the massive reorganiza tion of large portions of our brains that ensues when we encounter completely new environments and life situations). At this epoch, neuroscience is like a huge collection of small, jagged, jigsaw puz zle pieces piled in a mound in a large warehouse (with neuroscientists going in and tossing more pieces onto the mound every month).
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