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Subject: Book recommendation - Vietnam rss

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Antonio B-D
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My parents are going to the USA this week, and I would like to get a few books from there while they are there.

I have asked them to bring "Defeat into Victory" as I am interested in the Burma campaign and I know nothing on it.

I am also interested in Vietnam, and I don't know anything at all, so I would like to have a recommendation, with a few caveats.

One tome only. (space is always an issue)
The whole war.
Interesting to read (I mean not a pure historical dry stuff, some journalist became great writer)
Not exclusively focused in Vietnam (I want to understand what was happening at the "home front")

Thanks in advance
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Bill the Pill
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John Prados, _Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945-1975_, 550 text pages of political and military goodness. Plus the author is an old school wargame designer (in addition to being a top-notch professional historian)--the AH Third Reich being his most popular game design.
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Pone McPoneface
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Will give a second vote for the recent John Prados's Vietnam: The History of the Unwinnable War, 1945-1975.

James Olsen and Randy Robert's work, Where the Domino Fell: America and Vietnam, 1945-1990 is an outstanding book in my opinion.

A collection of essays concerning various topics about Vietnam is Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War; Documents and Essays edited by Robert J. McMahon.

Another outstanding series is from the PBS's American Experience and available on DVD is Vietnam: A Television History. A very good series and worth watching and/or owning.
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DrFlanagan wrote:
John Prados, _Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945-1975_, 550 text pages of political and military goodness. Plus the author is an old school wargame designer (in addition to being a top-notch professional historian)--the AH Third Reich being his most popular game design.


Seconded (thirded?). Prados is an excellent historian, and it's a very well constructed book.
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Edmund Hon
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For the air war over Vietnam I recommend:

Clashes - Air combat over North Vietnam, by Marshall L. Michel III.

On Yankee Station - The naval air war over Vietnam, by John B. Nichols and Barrett Tillman

Both published by Naval Institute Press
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Greg Sager
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Regarding Prados' book, I would recommend you read the one star reviews on Amazon.
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Max Coffey
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Stanley Karnow's VietNam A History is a companion to the PBS series and is a very comprehensive overview. I highly recommend it.
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Steven Mitchell
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Check out the following previous discussions on this subject. Some really good back-and-forth:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/526016
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/569180
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patton1138 wrote:
Check out the following previous discussions on this subject. Some really good back-and-forth:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/526016
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/569180


Thanks for the links; very interesting discussions.

Even in the longer thread, I didn't see any mention that the popular idea that the 1954 Geneva Accords recognized the creation of two nations (North and South Vietnam) is false; the Accords are very clear that Indochina is to be clear of foreign influence and military action, and that the demarcation line is a temporary artifact meant to facilitate the separation of the recently-embattled French and Vietnamese troops. The implications behind the hasty erection of the French (then US) backed Diem 'government', and Diem's corruption of the mandated elections, is often buried under the notion that two nations, South and North Vietnam, went to war.

Recognizing the Vietnam War as the continuation of a independence movement (as well as a Cold war proxy battle, and a renegotiation of the fate of Asia in regards to Western Imperial powers, and a lot more besides) can be uncomfortable for a lot of people.
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Nadir Elfarra
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A Vietnam veteran once suggested this book to me in the strongest possible terms:

http://www.amazon.com/Bright-Shining-Lie-America-Vietnam/dp/...

"A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam"

-N
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William Barnett-Lewis
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The 10,000 Day War: Vietnam
Michael MacLear

Best one volume history I've found so far.
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Ben Delp
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Nadir_E wrote:
A Vietnam veteran once suggested this book to me in the strongest possible terms:

http://www.amazon.com/Bright-Shining-Lie-America-Vietnam/dp/...

"A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam"

-N

This was required reading from one of my professors in college. Excellent book.
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Troy Winfrey
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I can also recommend A Bright Shining Lie, The Ten Thousand Day War, and Karnow's Vietnam very highly.

For a highly idiosyncratic but brilliant journalistic account of the war's "flavor," see Michael Herr's Dispatches.

See also Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried for an outstanding fictive account (heavily based on autobiography) of soldiering in Vietnam.

Bernard B. Fall's Street Without Joy and Hell in a Very Small Place should be read by anyone with a serious interest in this subject, especially those who wish to understand the roots of the conflict in the French Indochinese war. Fall, a noted historian, also had combat experience and was unusually close to both French and American soldiers during the fighting, so much so that he was killed in 1967 while patrolling the Street Without Joy with the 4th U.S. Marines. His early prescience about what was likely to happen in Vietnam (which was based on his deep understanding of the French in Indochina) has had a significant effect on American military leaders of following generations, including Colin Powell.
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Jim Millard
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Pone4games wrote:

Another outstanding series is from the PBS's American Experience and available on DVD is Vietnam: A Television History. A very good series and worth watching and/or owning.

...and importantly from Joe Norris:

Quote:
Stanley Karnow's VietNam A History is a companion to the PBS series and is a very comprehensive overview. I highly recommend it.


---

Stanley Karnow did the original PBS series [which is *excellent*]. He wrote the book as a companion, NOT as a replacement. The whole idea behind the PBS series was that it was the USA's first "TV War", and is oriented that way. The book, while paralleling the PBS series, goes into more historical depth [I am currently about 1/4 through it] and background.

Karnow's PBS series is gripping; and his companion book thoroughly engrossing - both recommended with full marks.
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Antonio B-D
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Thanks guys for your comments. I have given my parents a few names of books and I'll see which one they can find!
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Richard Partin
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Stanley Karnow, "Vietnam: A History" 1983 (Viking). Good basic overview, and quite readable.
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Lea Schneider
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Beyond a general kistory I can recommend "Rolling thunder in a gentle land". A very interesting collection of essays concerning different aspects of the war, containing contributions by northern and southern participants of the war.
A compelling read.
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Matias Dahlbäck
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Doesn't cover a lot of the war, and isn't really where I'd go for facts or some such, but a great read nevertheless...

Dispatches - by Michael Herr


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dispatches-Picador-Michael-Herr/dp/0...
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Runes wrote:
Beyond a general kistory I can recommend "Rolling thunder in a gentle land". A very interesting collection of essays concerning different aspects of the war, containing contributions by northern and southern participants of the war.
A compelling read.


Now there is something that just clicked with me. I wonder how many of the mentioned titles focus solely on the American side of the equation?

Does anyone know of a book that brings to light the war from the perspective of the North Vietnamese? I seem to remember Karnow at least touched on it. Do any others?

Thanks.

(And, no, this has nothing to do with my currently playing the Red side in "Hearts and Minds"....nope....nothing at all....ninja)
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Bill Lawson
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Capt_S wrote:


(And, no, this has nothing to do with my currently playing the Red side in "Hearts and Minds"....nope....nothing at all....ninja)



Sure................


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Markus Pausch
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I might be a bit late, but I strongly recommend Summons of Trumpet: U.S.-Vietnam in Perspective by Dave R. Palmer. At amazon you can find this book with price ranging from 10 to 20 Euro.


It covers the whole war and analyzes the US and Nortvietnamese strategy very well. How ever almost nothing is said about the situation in the USA at that time. Also, the My Lay massacre isn't mentioned. The tone is sometimes overly pro-american but on the other hand he severly critizes the stratgy in Vietnam. He for examples condemn the Search and Destroy method that was typical for the whole war. All in all it is a very fascinating read, a real page turner.


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Jim Millard
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Karnow: Book recommendation - Vietnam
Capt_S wrote:

Now there is something that just clicked with me. I wonder how many of the mentioned titles focus solely on the American side of the equation?

Does anyone know of a book that brings to light the war from the perspective of the North Vietnamese? I seem to remember Karnow at least touched on it.


Karnow's work covers the Vietnamese perspective, inasmuch as he is not from Viet Nam.

FWIW, the thing that really caught my eye when I picked up the copy I now own. I was in a used bookstore in Seattle, WA, and noticed a personal note from the original owner, giving the book as gift to an acquaintance -

"Dear June,
For you to know a little bit about Viet Nam history.

[M]ao Cung

6-19-87

Born: Hanoi (North)"

I would love to see a well-translated book from an inhabitant of Vietnam, if such a thing is possible.


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しんぶん赤旗
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Capt_S wrote:

Does anyone know of a book that brings to light the war from the perspective of the North Vietnamese? I seem to remember Karnow at least touched on it. Do any others?

Thanks.

(And, no, this has nothing to do with my currently playing the Red side in "Hearts and Minds"....nope....nothing at all....ninja)


"The Rape of Vietnam"(1966) and "Vietnam Fights Back" (1972), both by H.G.Slingsby, both look at the war from the perspective of the North Vietnamese. They are excellent books and although they are rare they can both be found on abebooks for less than $10 each.
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Just realized no one had yet added Howard Zinn's, 'Vietnam: the Logic of Withdrawl,' which is excellent. 'Howard Zinn on War' has a relevant piece on Vietnam as well.
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Arrigo Velicogna
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Still suggesting:

"Triumph Forsaken" and "Phoenix and the Birds of Prey" both by Mark Moyar
"Eyewitness Vietnam" by Gillmore and Giangreco
"Abandoning Vietnam" and "The Battle of An Loc" both by James Willbanks
"America Last Vietnam Battle" by Dale Andrade
"Hamburger hill" by Samuel Zaffiri
"Valley of Decision" By Prados and Stubbe (far more useful than the latest political ranting of Prados, shame on him!).

And get the two volume history of MACV by Graham Cosmas and the the history of US Army coin operations by Andrew Birtle. All available in PDF from the US Army center of Military History (for free).
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