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Ending the Vietnam War: A History of America's Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietnam War Paperback – February 11, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; annotated edition edition (February 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074321532X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743215329
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As a relatively unknown Harvard professor, Kissinger played an interesting-though entirely cloaked and somewhat serendipitous-role in one of Lyndon Johnson's muddled attempts to end the Vietnam War through diplomacy. Later on, he sat at the nexus of American power during his days as Nixon's foreign policy adviser, national security adviser and secretary of state. In addition to being a major player in the events he narrates here, Kissinger is also a scholar of the first rank and a gifted prose stylist. Thus readers interested in the Vietnam period but unfamiliar with Kissinger's previous books will find this new volume worthwhile. All others will find it redundant, nearly entirely derivative from chapters previously published in his three volumes of memoirs and his study Diplomacy. "I have rearranged and occasionally rewritten the material to provide a consecutive narrative," Kissinger writes in his foreword, and "reshaped the narrative from the anecdotal tone of memoirs to a more general account of the period...." Like the previous works from which it is mined, this new book provides a cogently written insider's take on the process of shutting down America's involvement in the long Southeast Asia conflict. The sections documenting Kissinger's day-to-day, face-to-face skirmishes with the North Vietnamese over a negotiating table in Paris are particularly engaging. Overall, Kissinger's account of America's venture in Vietnam and his role in that shipwreck is factually accurate, eminently informed and masterfully crafted. But it is also an account that many of us have already read.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

"This book deals with the way the United States ended its involvement in the longest war in its history." The opening line of this book is as unambiguous as its title. Kissinger was, of course, President Nixon's national security advisor, later his secretary of state, and is currently an academic and author. In fact, Kissinger's latest book is really a selection of chapters gathered from four previous books, which he has rearranged and somewhat rewritten. In this insider book par excellence, Kissinger keeps fairly, if not wholly, grounded in objectivity as he records and interprets events in this "black hole of American historical memory." As he sees it, the problem with the Vietnam War by the time Nixon became president was not that American involvement there needed to be terminated--"every administration in office during the Vietnam war sought to end it"--but how to end it. The war on the home front brought into glaring light the "tension" between U.S. idealism and the need to be immersed in the pragmatic world of international power-play. To the author, the lesson of Vietnam--"the tragedy described in these pages"--is that "America must never again permit its promise to be overwhelmed by its divisions." The density of Kissinger's prose style will not keep most readers from realizing the important place of this book within the complete historiography of the Vietnam War. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

The book is well written with much insight from a stateman that deeply involved in the Vietnam War.
Joe
Others should read it to get a good feel for how much dishonesty and incompetence existed in journalism and academia at the time.
it
As an avid reader of Military History, Vietnam in particular, I thought Dr. Kissinger's book was one of the best i have read.
Gene Ammirata

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have been meaning to read some of Kissinger's work for quite a while. From the critic reviews of this book, I thought this would be a logical place to start because it encapsulates a large swath the Vietnam War writing Kissinger has produced over the years.
Personally, I found this book is an incredibly involving recount and analysis of the Vietnam War. I thought I had a fairly in-depth understanding of the Vietnam War beforehand, but quickly discovered that there was so much I was never aware of. Because Kissinger was part of the inner circle of powers that shaped the Vietnam conflict, he writes from a vantage point only an insider can lay claim to. The competing egos, opposing political agendas, infighting, confusion, hope and desperation-all these factors played a part in the conflict and Kissinger does a wonderful job of presenting how each influenced the Vietnam War.
I picked up this book one weekend and could not put it down. If you're looking for an engaging reading on the Vietnam War, you cannot go wrong with this selection.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ted Marks on January 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
More than three decades have passed since the fall of Saigon and Phnom Penh--two seminal events that finally ended the American war in Indochina. And now that we have the benefit of hindsight, it is appropriate that one of the key figures of that era gives us a new version of how the American foreign policy debacle in Southeast Asia came about.

Henry Kissinger has written a new book, "Ending the VietnamWar; a History of America's Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietnam War", (Simon and Schuster) that documents his version of the events leading up to American withdrawal from Indochina. And while a large part of the book is drawn from his previously published memoirs, this new book on Vietnam provides fresh information and historical material that make it must reading for anyone seriously interested in the history of war in Vietnam.

As usual, Kissinger writes cogently about his perspective of history. He's as feisty as ever, too. While he acknowledges that the Nixon and Ford administrations (in which he played crucial roles) made their shares of mistakes, he doesn't hesitate to take on his legion of critics. In fact, Kissinger cedes nothing to his enemies in the government and the media who continue to lambast him as some sinister, Dr. Strangelove-like manipulator of American foreign policy. And he laments the fact that the war in Vietnam has become a scar, as it were, on his record as a statesman:

"A balanced judgment on Vietnam continues to elude us--and therefore the ability to draw lessons from a national tragedy which America inflicted on itself," Kissinger writes in the Foreword to his new book. "As a result, Vietnam has become the black hole of American historical memory.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Matthew P. Arsenault on November 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
Aristotle once wrote that man is a political animal. Indeed, history has proved his sentiments correct, and there are few greater examples of a more voracious political animal than that of Dr. Henry Kissinger.

Regardless of one's opinions of Dr. Kissinger, his contribution to the field of political science: diplomacy, foreign policy and international relations, is unquestionable. During his long and often tumultuous career, Dr. K has met with the most notable global powers and has been at the fore of many of the most pressing political issues of the last forty years. Perhaps the most important and certainly most noted were his negotiations to end the Vietnam War.

In this one volume, taken from his memoirs and supplemented with new information, Kissinger examines not only the Nixon administrations attempts at finding a resolution to the conflict, but also discusses the long history of American entanglement in the conflict.

Once the historical basis is firmly in place, Kissinger delves into the negotiations between himself and high-level North Vietnamese cadre, namly Le Duc Tho.

Dr. K's discussion and analysis of the negotiations not only well illustrates the steps of American foreign policy (interesting in their own right) but allows the reader to see deeper into the Vietnam Conflict and why it took so long to conclude.

Kissinger also discusses his controversial role in the bombing of Cambodia and Laos. Much has been written to condemn Dr. K, and although his analysis of the bombing is enlightening, the work does little in the way of vindication.

All in all, Kissinger provides a very good source documenting his participation in the Vietnam War and the subsequent de-escalation, as well as illustrating the process of high-level negotiations in global diplomacy.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Aden Zydo on April 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The subtitle of this book is misleading. It is in no way a "history of America's involvement and extrication" in Vietnam. What it is is a very detailed account, from Kissinger's poing of view, of the laborious negotiations with the North Vietnamese to end the Vietnam War in as honorable a way as possible.

I can't say it was a bad book. I learned a lot. I finished it with a new appreciation for the difficult situation we were in. It changed some of my opinions about this war and reinforced others. But, a history of America's involvement in the war it was not. There is anectotal information on the broader military and political context at best. Most of the book is a meticulous account of the negotiations between Kissinger and the N. Vietnamese.
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