Al Santoli's bestselling Everything We Had was a landmark book about the Vietnam War - hailed by the Chicago Sun-Times as "oral history at its best" and praised by soldiers and civilians alike as one of the most powerful, truthful accounts of that conflict. Now in Leading the Way, Santoli brings us a stunning oral history of the United States military from Vietnam through Desert Storm, and beyond. Leading the Way is a historic record of the rebuilding and reenergizing of America's armed forces, as told by the combat veterans who helped to bring it about.
Fifty-six military professionals bring to life the most critical moments they have experienced in combat, from the Central Highlands of Vietnam to the air-strips of Panama and the deserts of Kuwait and Somalia. But just as riveting as their battle stories are their behind-the-scenes accounts of how confidence, discipline, and integrity were restored to the military after Vietnam by the work and example of its leaders. In Leading the Way, senior sergeants and officers tell their own stories in their own voices.
General Charles ("Chuck") Horner was thrust as a young, untested Air Force captain into the Rolling Thunder mission over North Vietnam - and drew on his crucial experiences there when he served as Commanding General of the Central Command Air Forces during Desert Storm.
Command Sergeant Major William Earl McCune fought in Vietnam as a draftee, then decided he didn't want to go back to the Chicago ghetto. He soldiered for the next twenty-six years, and enforced discipline for an inexperienced tank battalion in Saudi Arabia.
General Alfred Gray worked to solve the drug problems and racial tensions that plagued the Marine Corps during the "wilderness years" after Vietnam. Later, with dedicated officers like Colonel Michael Wyly, Gray pioneered the revolutionary new Maneuver Warfare Doctrine that has helped to save Marines' lives.
Commander Timothy Holden served on a frigate off the coast of Vietnam, then trained to become one of the elite Navy SEALs. His command of coastal special operations missions involving Navy SEALs in the Gulf War was crucial to the Allies' success.
Colonel Wes Fox, a Marine private in Korea and recipient of the Medal of Honor in Vietnam, blasts the notion that technology alone won the Persian Gulf War and praises the intelligence of the soldiers and the judgment of their officers during the war.
As compelling to read as it is far-reaching in its implications, Leading the Way reveals crucial truths about the heart and mind of America's military, a military which now faces new challenges in a world torn by ethnic violence and regional instability. Anyone who cares about the recent past, the present, and the future of our armed forces will find Leading the Way essential, and fascinating, reading.
"A compelling portrait of a man once serenely confident, searching decades later for self-understanding."--Richard Holbrooke, The New York Times Book Review
"I had a part in a great failure. I made mistakes of perception, recommendation and execution. If I have learned anything I should share it."
These are not words that Americans ever expected to hear from McGeorge Bundy, the national security adviser to presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. But in the last years of his life, Bundy--the only principal architect of Vietnam strategy to have maintained his public silence--decided to revisit the decisions that had led to war and to look anew at the role he played.
In this original and provocative work of presidential history, Gordon M. Goldstein distills the essential lessons of America's involvement in Vietnam, drawing on his prodigious research as well as interviews and analysis he conducted with Bundy before his death in 1996. Lessons in Disaster is a historical tour de force on the uses and misuses of American power, and offers instructive guidance that we must heed if we are not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
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.
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.
Whether he is evoking the blind carnage of the Tet offensive, the theatrics of his fellow Americans, or the unraveling of his own illusions, Wolff brings to this work the same uncanny eye for detail, pitiless candor and mordant wit that made This Boy's Life a modern classic.
Includes a preface written by McNamara for the paperback edition.
An in-depth study of American involvement in Vietnam, from French dominion to the final withdrawal of American forces, discusses the historical background, political maneuvers, military campaigns, participants in, and consequences of American involvement.
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.
"A great, courageous fellow, a man of deep moral convictions and an uncompromising disposition."--John Kerry on Ron Kovic"As relevant as ever, this book is an education. Ron is a true American, and his great heart and hard-won wisdom shine through these pages." --Oliver Stone, filmmaker "Born on the Fourth of July brings back the era of the Vietnam War at a time when the Establishment is trying to make the nation forget what they call the "Vietnam syndrome." Ron Kovic's memoir is written with poetic passion and grips your attention from the very first page to the last. It is a classic of antiwar literature and I hope it will be read by large numbers of young people, who will be both sobered and inspired by his story. --Howard Zinn "If you want to understand the everlasting reverberations of our war in Vietnam and how it impacts our current events, you must read this book." --LARRY HEINEMANN "There is no book more relevant in the 21st century to healing the wound of Vietnam, which continues to bring so much pain to our country, as reflected in the last presidential election . . . It remains to Kovic to remind us that history matters, and that the cost of our high follies persists." --ROBERT SCHEER, Los Angeles Times columnist This New York Times bestseller (more than one million copies sold) details the author's life story (portrayed by Tom Cruise in the Oliver Stone film version)--from a patriotic soldier in Vietnam, to his severe battlefield injury, to his role as the country's most outspoken anti-Vietnam War advocate, spreading his message from his wheelchair.
The 40th anniversary edition of the classic Vietnam memoir--featured in the PBS documentary series The Vietnam War by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick--with a new foreword by Kevin PowersIn March of 1965, Lieutenant Philip J. Caputo landed at Danang with the first ground combat unit deployed to Vietnam. Sixteen months later, having served on the line in one of modern history's ugliest wars, he returned home--physically whole but emotionally wasted, his youthful idealism forever gone. A Rumor of War is far more than one soldier's story. Upon its publication in 1977, it shattered America's indifference to the fate of the men sent to fight in the jungles of Vietnam. In the years since then, it has become not only a basic text on the Vietnam War but also a renowned classic in the literature of wars throughout history and, as the author writes, of the things men do in war and the things war does to them. Heartbreaking, terrifying, and enraging. It belongs to the literature of men at war. --Los Angeles Times Book Review