On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War

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Stunning in its insight, On Strategy is required reading not just for everyone who is interested in the Vietnam War, but for anyone who is concerned about the place of the United States on the world stage and how America can, and more importantly cannot, employ its immense military force to help bring peace to an increasingly troubled world.

On Stategy is just about the best thing I have read on Vietnam.”—Drew Middleton, The New York Times
“Perhaps the most trenchant single postmortem to date of our defeat in Vietnam . . . a classic . . . compact, subtle—and surprisingly readable.”Newsweek
“At our house, we sleep less easily now that Harry G. Summers Jr., Colonel of Infantry, is no longer defending us. After two wars and 38 years of active duty, Summers has retired from the Army. . . . Every taxpayer should mourn his loss. Colonel Summers is perhaps the most influential thinker of our time: his book On Strategy is required reading at the Army and Naval War Colleges.”—Jack Beatty,  Boston Globe
“This investigation of the U.S. army’s role in the Vietnam War is widely recognized as the single most useful postmortem on the unpopular war.”The Washington Post Book World
“The most detailed exposition of this view—that the U.S. threw away whatever chance for victory it may have had through blunders that must not be repeated—comes from Col. Harry Summers, whose book, On Strategy, has become must reading for young officers.”Time
“A masterful analysis of the strategy, or lack thereof, in the Vietnam War . . . The best critique of the war I have read and a book every policy maker in Washington should absorb.”—Max Cleland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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About the author

Harry G. Summers was an infantry squad leader in the Korean War and a battalion and corps operations officer in the Vietnam War. He later served on the faculty of the Army War College and worked as the editor of Vietnam magazine and as a nationally syndicated columnist on national defense and security affairs. He died in 1999.
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Additional Information

Presidio Press
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Published on
Feb 4, 2009
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History / Military / Strategy
History / Military / Vietnam War
History / Modern / 20th Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time

In this magisterial book, a monument of history and biography that was awarded the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, renowned journalist Neil Sheehan tells the story of Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann–"the one irreplaceable American in Vietnam"–and of the tragedy that destroyed that country and the lives of so many Americans.

Outspoken and fearless, John Paul Vann arrived in Vietnam in 1962, full of confidence in America's might and right to prevail. A Bright Shining Lie reveals the truth about the war in Vietnam as it unfolded before Vann's eyes: the arrogance and professional corruption of the U.S. military system of the 1960s, the incompetence and venality of the South Vietnamese army, the nightmare of death and destruction that began with the arrival of the American forces. Witnessing the arrogance and self-deception firsthand, Vann put his life and career on the line in an attempt to convince his superiors that the war should be fought another way. But by the time he died in 1972, Vann had embraced the follies he once decried. He went to his grave believing that the war had been won.

A haunting and critically acclaimed masterpiece, A Bright Shining Lie is a timeless account of the American experience in Vietnam–a work that is epic in scope, piercing in detail, and told with the keen understanding of a journalist who was actually there. Neil Sheehan' s classic serves as a stunning revelation for all who thought they understood the war.

From the Hardcover edition.
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