04 August 2007

Osprey: The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War 1956 1975 (Osprey Essential Histories 38)
Author: Andrew Wiest
Paperback; 96 pages

The Vietnam War was arguably the most important event, or series of events, of the "American Century." America entered the brutal conflict certain of its Cold War doctrines and certain of its moral mission to save the world from the advance of communism. As this book explains, however, the war was not at all what the United States expected. Outnumbered and outgunned the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces resorted to a guerrilla war based on the theories of Mao Zedong of China. This was war reduced to its most basic level - find the enemy and kill him.

Background to war: The Cold War
Warring sides: Superpower verus guerrilla forces
Outbreak: An undeclared war
The fighting: Battles of attrition
Portrait of a soldier: John Young
The world around war: A nation divided
Portrait of a civilian: Kim Herzinger
How the war ended: US withdrawal
Conclusion and consequences: Legacies of victory and defeat

My overall comment: A good starters guide and very good overall narrative including domestic and international aspects, but not much in the way of details if you are after a particular battle or unit.

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