View Full Version : please recommend vietnam history book
11-16-2002, 09:14 PM
I have just become aware of how oblivously unaware I am of the history of our (US) involvement in Vietnam. I am interested in a soup to nuts history book of how we came to be there, chronology of battles etc. On a side note, I am interested in how it can possibly be construed that we lost the war/ didn't fight to win. With the overwhelming difference in casualties between US/North Vietnam, it seems that we certainly didn't fight to lose. But as I have previously stated, I am fairly ignorant on the subject. I know I am mixing questions. I would like a recommendation of a good history book. I would also be interested to read any related topics in some of the other more appropriate forums. thanks
11-16-2002, 09:19 PM
A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan is considered one of the best books about the war.
11-16-2002, 09:38 PM
I recommend Stanley Karnow's "Vietnam: A History," which was the companion book to the PBS series.
11-17-2002, 04:13 AM
Up Country by De Mille is an interesting fiction book of post war Vietnam.
11-24-2002, 01:17 AM
The best single volume work on the Vietnam War is one called "America's Longest War" by George Herring. It's very readable, comprehensive and concise.
11-24-2002, 06:18 AM
No one has mentioned Fire in the Lake by Frances Fitzgerald and The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam.
11-24-2002, 06:45 AM
I've read the books mentioned above by Halberstam, Karnow and Sheehan.
A Bright Shining Lie really stands out. It is brilliant. However, it is not a textbook-like history. If you want a broad overview, go with Karnow.
11-24-2002, 10:39 AM
Loren Baritz' Backfire focused on the politcal mechanations of the Vietnam War. I found the book a shocking insight into the behavior of our elected officials.
Two things struck me the most:
1. That presidents from two opposing parties (LBJ and Nixon)could be equally conniving and misleading about their objectives for American involvement in Vietnam.
2. That the war continued for so long despite the knowledge that our concept of the most basic military facts about the situation were wrong.
Another is Chance & Circumstance by Baskir and Strauuss. This book examines the process of the draft, and how unfair it really was.
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