Based on classified documents and first-person interviews, a startling history of the American war on Vietnamese civilians
The American Empire Project
Winner of the Ridenhour Prize for Reportorial Distinction
Americans have long been taught that events such as the notorious My Lai massacre were isolated incidents in the Vietnam War, carried out by just a few "bad apples." But as award-winning journalist and historian Nick Turse demonstrates in this groundbreaking investigation, violence against Vietnamese noncombatants was not at all exceptional during the conflict. Rather, it was pervasive and systematic, the predictable consequence of official orders to "kill anything that moves."
Drawing on more than a decade of research into secret Pentagon archives and extensive interviews with American veterans and Vietnamese survivors, Turse reveals for the first time the workings of a military machine that resulted in millions of innocent civilians killed and wounded-what one soldier called "a My Lai a month." Devastating and definitive, Kill Anything That Moves finally brings us face-to-face with the truth of a war that haunts America to this day.
A member of Light Attack Squadron 212's "Rampant Raiders," A-4 pilot Stephen R. Gray writes about his experiences flying combat sorties from the deck of an aircraft carrier during one of the most intense periods of aerial combat in U.S. aviation history. From the perspective of a junior officer, Gray reveals the lessons he learned first at the Naval Aviation Training Command and then in actual combat flying the Skyhawk from USS Bon Homme Richard in Vietnam. Training strengthens commitment, Gray points out, allowing ordinary men like him to fly dangerous missions. Readers will discover how circumstances created heroes--heroes who managed to overcome their personal fears for a greater cause--and how, despite the lack of public support for the war, the men remained committed to one another. The book also addresses how men react to service during contentious political times, lessons relevant for today.
The critically acclaimed author of Patriots offers profound insights into Vietnam's place in America's self-image.
How did the Vietnam War change the way we think of ourselves as a people and a nation? Christian G. Appy, author of the widely praised oral history of the Vietnam War Patriots, now examines the relationship between the war's realities and myths and its impact on our national identity, conscience, pride, shame, popular culture, and postwar foreign policy. Drawing on a vast variety of sources from movies, songs, and novels to official documents, media coverage, and contemporary commentary, Appy offers an original interpretation of the war and its far-reaching consequences. Authoritative, insightful, sometimes surprising, and controversial, American Reckoning is a fascinating mix of political and cultural reporting that offers a completely fresh account of the meaning of the Vietnam War.
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.
"Powerful. . . . A candid, highly informative, and heartfelt tale of forgiveness between former fierce enemies in the Vietnam War." -St. Petersburg Times
The #1 New York Times bestseller We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young brought to life one of the most pivotal and heartbreaking battles of the Vietnam War. In this powerful sequel, Lt. Gen Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway bring us up to date on the cadre of soldiers introduced in their first memoir.
Returning to Vietnam's Ia Drang Valley more than four decades after the battle, Moore and Galloway renew their relationships with ten American veterans of the fabled conflict--and with former adversaries--exploring how the war changed them all, as well as their two countries. We Are Soldiers Still is an emotional journey back to hallowed ground, putting a human face on warfare as the authors reflect on war's devastating cost. The book includes an Introduction by Gen H. Norman Schwarzkopf.
The bloody, month-long battle for the Citadel in Hue during 1968 pitted U.S. Marines against an entrenched, numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force. By official U.S. accounts it was a tactical and moral victory for the Marines and the United States. But a survivor's compulsion to square official accounts with his contrasting experience has produced an entirely different perspective of the battle, the most controversial to emerge from the Vietnam War in decades.
In some of the most frank, vivid prose to come out of the war, author Nicholas Warr describes with urgency and outrage the Marines' savage house-to-house fighting, ordered without air, naval, or artillery support by officers with no experience in this type of deadly combat. Sparing few in the telling, including himself, Warr's shocking firsthand narrative of these desperate suicide charges, which devastated whole companies, takes the wraps off an incident that many would prefer to keep hidden. His account is sure to ignite heated debate among historians and military professionals.
Despite senseless rules of engagement and unspeakable carnage, there were unforgettable acts of courage and self-sacrifice performed by ordinary men asked to accomplish the impossible, and Warr is at his best relating these stories. For example, there's the grenade-throwing mortarman who in a rage wipes out two machine-gun emplacements that had pinned down an entire company for days, and the fortunate grunt with thick glasses who stumbles blindly--without receiving a scratch--across a street littered with the dead and dying who hadn't made it. In describing the most vicious urban combat since World War II, this account offers an unparalleled view of how a small unit commander copes with the conflicting demands and responsibilities thrust upon him by the enemy, his men, and the chain of command.
Fifty years after the March on the Pentagon, Norman Mailer's seminal tour de force remains as urgent and incisive as ever. Winner of America's two highest literary awards, The Armies of the Night uniquely and unforgettably captures the Sixties' tidal wave of love and rage at its crest and a towering genius at his peak.
The time is October 21, 1967. The place is Washington, D.C. Depending on the paper you read, 20,000 to 200,000 protestors are marching to end the war in Vietnam, while helicopters hover overhead and federal marshals and soldiers with fixed bayonets await them on the Pentagon steps. Among the marchers is a writer named Norman Mailer. From his own singular participation in the day's events and his even more extraordinary perceptions comes a classic work that shatters the mold of traditional reportage. Intellectuals and hippies, clergymen and cops, poets and army MPs crowd the pages of a book in which facts are fused with techniques of fiction to create the nerve-end reality of experiential truth. " Mailer's] genuine wit and bellicose charm, and his fervent and intense sense of legitimately caring, render The Armies of the Night an artful document, worthy to be judged as literature."--Time "Only a born novelist could have written a piece of history so intelligent, mischievous, penetrating and alive."--Alfred Kazin, The New York Times Book Review
In this landmark study, two respected scholars provide a comprehensive, balanced, and authoritative account of what happened to the nearly eight hundred Americans captured during the Vietnam War. The authors were granted unprecedented access to previously unreleased materials and interviewed more than a hundred former POWs to meticulously reconstruct their captivity record and produce a compelling narrative of this sketchy chapter of the war. First published in 1999, some twenty-five years after the prisoners were released from Hanoi, the book remains a powerful and moving portrait of how men cope with physical and psychological ordeals under horrific conditions. Its analysis of the shifting tactics and temperaments of both captive and captor as the war evolved, skillfully weaves domestic political developments and battlefield action with prison scenes that alternate between Hanoi's concrete cells, South Vietnam's jungle stockades, and mountain camps in Laos. Details are included of dozens of cases of individual acts of bravery and resistance from such heroes as James Stockdale, Jeremiah Denton, Bud Day, and Medal of Honor recipient Donald Cook. Along with epic stories of endurance under torture, breathtaking escape attempts, and ingenious prisoner communication efforts, Honor Bound reveals Code of Conduct lapses and instances of collaboration with the enemy. This important work serves as a testament to the courage and will of Americans in captivity and as a reminder of the sometimes impossible demands made on U.S. POWs.