A concise, accessible history of one of the most important and fascinating conflicts of the 20th century

On March 8, 1965, 3,500 U.S. Marines of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade made an amphibious landing at Da Nang on the south central coast of South Vietnam, marking the beginning of a conflict that would haunt American politics and society for many years, even after the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1972. For the people of North Vietnam it was just another in a long line of foreign invaders. For 2,000 years they had struggled for self-determination, coming into conflict during that time with the Chinese, the Mongols, the European colonial powers, the Japanese, and the French. Now it was the turn of the United States, a far-away nation reluctant to go to war but determined to prevent Vietnam from falling into Communist hands. This history explains how the U.S. became involved in its longest war, a conflict that, from the outset, many claimed it could never win. It details the escalation of American involvement from the provision of military advisors and equipment to the threatened South Vietnamese, to an all-out shooting war involving American soldiers, airmen, and sailors, of whom around 58,000 would die and more than 300,000 would be wounded. Their struggle was against an indomitable enemy, able to absorb huge losses in terms of life and infrastructure. The politics of the war are examined and the decisions and ambitions of five presidents are addressed in the light of what many have described as a defeat for American might. The book also explores the relationship of the Vietnam War to the Cold War politics of the time.


This book begins first with the struggle that the country Vietnam has had for over 2000 years leading through the French and then to us being involved. The author shows you how politics from inside the country, and from surrounding countries has always had a hand in whatever the problem may have been. He then shows you how really Truman slowly got us there. Then it was passed on to Eisenhower, to Kennedy and the plans he was wanting to put in place and had actually started but then was assassinated, which led to Johnson and this really was the turning point for us because then he started approving more and more troops on the ground. This is when you get a look at how the war was fought not by just the young men sent over there and women, but also by the media. Every night on the news there would be reports from Vietnam not always good and then they would show some protest somewhere. The author really puts these two events into perspective. For example, the author talks about the Tet offensive, it was portrayed by the press and media as a victory when in reality it was not. After the few days, it turned into a massive defeat for the Vietnamese, but it was not portrayed that way and still today people believe we lost that battle when we did no such thing. Having an Uncle fighting with the Marines, a cousin flying cobras, and growing up in a military home and in a military town, I saw a different war. I knew that we were winning battles the problem was we were giving back the ground after fighting for it. Example: Hamburger Hill, not a small battle but the powers to be felt that they needed that hill 937, the battle started May 10, 1969- May 20, 1969, consisted of the 101st Airborne 3rd Brigade, and 9th Marine Regiment, and 5th Calvary. Cut to the chase American’s were having to assault the hill from the bottom to take the top the enemy were rolling down grenades for example. Not in book but from a personal from who fought with the 101st that day and lived, the 101st would send in five infantry battalions and had ten batteries firing on top of the mountain he made it to the top with two other of his buddies and was later awarded the Bronze Star, I worked with this man for twenty years and me never once knew his story until six months before he was retiring, what did we do give up the mountain after these young men fought losing men and friends beside them. The policies that were made that the author speaks about is the real reason. In WWII they never gave back a piece of ground once they had it. Anyway, he continues through the secret bombing by Nixon, which was another thing I could never figure out listening to these men talk when I was a kid. If you know supplies are coming in from another country aren’t they also against you and helping your enemy, but then it is wrong to stop them from giving the people you are fighting against weapons what? See that is why we finally had to leave. The author takes you through all of that. A good book, sorry for my ramble. I got this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com 

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