More than one hundred letters left at Washington's Vietnam Veterans Memorial are accompanied by interviews with the authors of the letters, families of soldiers killed in the war
Each year, the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps selects one book that he believes is both relevant and timeless for reading by all Marines. The Commandant's choice for 1993 is We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young.
In November 1965, some 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore, were dropped by helicopter into a small clearing in the Ia Drang Valley. They were immediately surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. Three days later, only two and a half miles away, a sister battalion was chopped to pieces. Together, these actions at the landing zones X-Ray and Albany constituted one of the most savage and significant battles of the Vietnam War.
How these men persevered--sacrificed themselves for their comrades and never gave up--makes a vivid portrait of war at its most inspiring and devastating. General Moore and Joseph Galloway, the only journalist on the ground throughout the fighting, have interviewed hundreds of men who fought there, including the North Vietnamese commanders. This devastating account rises above the specific ordeal it chronicles to present a picture of men facing the ultimate challenge, dealing with it in ways they would have found unimaginable only a few hours earlier. It reveals to us, as rarely before, man's most heroic and horrendous endeavor.
Phillips's short chapter on lessons the U.S. should have learned from the Vietnam War should be mandatory reading in Washington, D.C. -- Publishers Weekly
It is, among other things, a wonderful read, full of detail and drama. --George Packer, The New Yorker
Rufus Phillips offers an extraordinary inside history of the most critical years of American involvement in Vietnam, from 1954 to 1968, and explains why it still matters. Describing what went right and then wrong, he ﬁnds that our failure to understand the Communists, our South Vietnamese allies, or even ourselves took us down the wrong road of a conventional war until it was too late--we missed the war's essential political character. Documenting the story from his own personal ﬁles, now available at the Texas Tech Vietnam Archive, as well as from the historical record, the former government ofﬁcial paints striking portraits of such key ﬁgures as John F. Kennedy, Maxwell Taylor, Robert McNamara, Henry Cabot Lodge, Hubert Humphrey, and Ngo Dinh Diem, among others with whom he dealt.
where my mother embraces my grandmother's tomb in the rain,
the soil of Nghe An so dry the rice plants cling to rocks.
My mother chews dry corn; hungry, she tries to forget.
When John F. Kennedy was shot, millions were left to wonder how America, and the world, would have been different had he lived to fulfill the enormous promise of his presidency. For many historians and political observers, what Kennedy would and would not have done in Vietnam has been a source of enduring controversy.
Now, based on convincing new evidence--including a startling revelation about the Kennedy administration's involvement in the assassination of Premier Diem--Howard Jones argues that Kennedy intended to withdraw the great bulk of American soldiers and pursue a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Vietnam.
Drawing upon recently declassified hearings by the Church Committee on the U.S. role in assassinations, newly released tapes of Kennedy White House discussions, and interviews with John Kenneth Galbraith, Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, and others from the president's inner circle, Jones shows that Kennedy firmly believed that the outcome of the war depended on the South Vietnamese. In the spring of 1962, he instructed Secretary of Defense McNamara to draft a withdrawal plan aimed at having all special military forces home by the end of 1965. The "Comprehensive Plan for South Vietnam" was ready for approval in early May 1963, but then the Buddhist revolt erupted and postponed the program. Convinced that the war was not winnable under Diem's leadership, President Kennedy made his most critical mistake--promoting a coup as a means for facilitating a U.S. withdrawal. In the cruelest of ironies, the coup resulted in Diem's death followed by a state of turmoil in Vietnam that further obstructed disengagement. Still, these events only confirmed Kennedy's view about South Vietnam's inability to win the war and therefore did not lessen his resolve to reduce the U.S. commitment. By the end of November, however, the president was dead and Lyndon Johnson began his campaign of escalation. Jones argues forcefully that if Kennedy had not been assassinated, his withdrawal plan would have spared the lives of 58,000 Americans and countless Vietnamese.
Written with vivid immediacy, supported with authoritative research, Death of a Generation answers one of the most profoundly important questions left hanging in the aftermath of John F. Kennedy's death.
A journalist and former Vietnam draft resister explores the divisive legacy of the Vietnam War, offering an insider's view of the antiwar movement of the era and the moral implications of the war and its aftermath
The Boys of '67 and the War They Left BehindThe human experience of the Vietnam War is almost impossible to grasp - the camaraderie, the fear, the smell, the pain. Men were transformed into soldiers, and then into warriors.
These warriors had wives who loved them and shared in their transformations. Some marriages were strengthened, while for others there was all too often a dark side, leaving men and their families emotionally and spiritually battered for years to come.
Focusing in on just one company's experience of war and its eventual homecoming, Andrew Wiest shines a light on the shared experience of combat and both the darkness and resiliency of war's aftermath.
A history of the American War in Vietnam that provides a rich overview of that war and an evocative reminder of the human faces of the generation who served.The Vietnam War is largely recalled as a mistake, either in the decision to engage there or in the nature of the engagement. Or both. Veterans of the war remain largely anonymous figures, accomplices in the mistake. Critically recounting the steps that led to the war, this book does not excuse the mistakes, but it brings those who served out of the shadows. Enduring Vietnam recounts the experiences of the young Americans who fought in Vietnam and of families who grieved those who did not return. By 1969 nearly half of the junior enlisted men who died in Vietnam were draftees. And their median age was 21--among the non-draftees it was only 20. The book describes the "baby boomers" growing up in the 1950s, why they went into the military, what they thought of the war, and what it was like to serve in "Nam." And to come home. With a rich narrative of the Battle for "Hamburger Hill," and through substantial interviews with those who served, the book depicts the cruelty of this war, and its quiet acts of courage. James Wright's Enduring Vietnam provides an important dimension to the profile of an American generation--and a rich account of an American War.