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A Bitter Peace: Washington, Hanoi, and the Making of the Paris Agreement (The New Cold War History) Paperback – Bargain Price, January 17, 2007

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Product Details

  • Series: The New Cold War History
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (November 25, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807854174
  • ASIN: B004JZWT60
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,555,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Demonstrating the centrality of diplomacy in the Vietnam War, Pierre Asselin traces the secret negotiations that led up to the Paris Agreement of 1973, which ended America's involvement but failed to bring peace in Vietnam. Because the two sides signed the agreement under duress, he argues, the peace it promised was doomed to unravel.

By January of 1973, the continuing military stalemate and mounting difficulties on the domestic front forced both Washington and Hanoi to conclude that signing a vague and largely unworkable peace agreement was the most expedient way to achieve their most pressing objectives. For Washington, those objectives included the release of American prisoners, military withdrawal without formal capitulation, and preservation of American credibility in the Cold War. Hanoi, on the other hand, sought to secure the removal of American forces, protect the socialist revolution in the North, and improve the prospects for reunification with the South. Using newly available archival sources from Vietnam, the United States, and Canada, Asselin reconstructs the secret negotiations, highlighting the creative roles of Hanoi, the National Liberation Front, and Saigon in constructing the final settlement.

Pierre Asselin has made good use of both American and Vietnamese sources. This is the best study I have seen of the process that produced the Paris Peace Agreement.
(Edwin E. Mo¯se, author of Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War)


This is an impressive work of diplomatic history and an important contribution to the growing body of 'new Cold War history.'--Virginia Quarterly Review|Asselin is a part of a new generation of Vietnam scholars who are defying the academic taboo against addressing the torturous war period from perspectives both north and south of the seventeenth parallel. . . . Asselin's work will undoubtedly advance the discussion on the Vietnamese-American War enormously. A Bitter Peace is an excellent contribution to the literature that will hopefully encourage present and future scholars of Vietnam to finally address issues of that most taboo war.--Journal of Asian Studies|Pierre Asselin has made good use of both American and Vietnamese sources. This is the best study I have seen of the process that produced the Paris Peace Agreement.--Edwin E. Moise, Clemson University |As good an account of the 1972 negotiations and the resulting agreement as we are likely to get.--American Historical Review|A Bitter Peace is a welcome addition to the burgeoning literature on the last stages of the Vietnam War.--International History Review|Making use of extraordinary new documents from archives in the United States and Vietnam, Pierre Asselin makes an important contribution in helping us understand what happened in the secret 'Nobel Prize-winning' negotiations between Le Duc Tho and Henry Kissinger. Two years later South Vietnam no longer existed. Asselin makes a powerful case that the outcome of the war was determined not on the battlefield, but at the negotiating table.--Larry Berman, author of No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger, and Betrayal in Vietnam|A well-researched, beginning work of scholarship that should be read by all interested in the Vietnam War.--Journal of American History --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jacque PORTES on June 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is the more recent devoted on such a subject. Not only did the author researched in the US archives but also in the Vietnam archives in Hanoi.He as a balanced and strong view of a question which is still discussed.
He proves that peace could not come before it came, as the North Vietnamese did not want to negotiate when they were hopeful to win.But Nixon was in the same mood, his Peace in Honor could only be reached by a victory: making Hanoi capitulate and keeping strong enough South Vietnam: he failed. But with common obstinacy both camps made the war lasting four years more with thousands of death and much destruction.
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More About the Author

Pierre Asselin was born in Quebec City, Canada. He is professor of history at Hawaii Pacific University and author of _A Bitter Peace: Washington, Hanoi, and the Making of the Paris Agreement_ (North Carolina, 2002) and _Hanoi's Road to the Vietnam War, 1954-1965_ (California, 2013). Other recent publications include "The Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the 1954 Geneva Conference: A Revisionist Critique" in _Cold War History_ (2011); "Revisionism Triumphant: Hanoi's Diplomatic Strategy in the Nixon Era" in _Journal of Cold War Studies_ (2011); and "'We Don't Want a Munich': Hanoi's Diplomatic Strategy, 1965-1968" in _Diplomatic History_ (2012). He is an avid hockey player/fan and stand-up paddler. He resides in Honolulu with his wife, Grace, and cat, Ursula.