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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Too many things are shown in the wrong places on the maps.
The most hilarious example is on page 97. Laos had two capital cities: the royal capital of Luang Prabang, where the (purely ceremonial) king lived, and the administrative capital of Vientiane, where there was an actual government. On this map, Luang Prabang has been moved across the border into North Vietnam (a very strange place for the royal capital of Laos), while Vientiane has been moved across the other border into Thailand. The same map also has the town of Vinh, in North Vietnam, shifted westward from its actual location near the coast; it appears on this map to be closer to the Laotian border than to the sea.
Flip one page back to look at the map on page 95, which shows the Tonkin Gulf Incidents and the U.S. air strikes of August 5, 1964. This map has Vinh in the right place, but Hanoi has been mislocated; it is shown as being southwest of Haipong (Hanoi is actually northwest of Haiphong). More important, the map shows Hon Gai, one of the targets of the U.S. air strikes, as being right next to the Chinese border. Hon Gai is actually well to the southwest of the location shown; if it had been close to the Chinese border, Lyndon Johnson would not have approved the strike against it in this operation. The location shown for the aircraft carrier Constellation, which launched the planes for the strike against Hon Gai, is also seriously inaccurate.
A small inset map on page 95 shows the tracks of the two U.S. destroyers Maddox and Turner Joy, on the night of August 4, 1964, and the tracks of objects that appeared on their radar, believed to be torpedo boats attacking them. The track shown for the supposed torpedo boat designated V2 bears no resemblance to any track that shows in the records of the destroyers, and the track shown for V1 does not bear a close resemblance to any track that shows in the records of the destroyers.
I have not found so many errors in other maps in this atlas, but I have found more than I liked. The one thing an atlas is absolutely supposed to do is show things in the correct locations on the maps.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 1998
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Adds a new dimension sorely lacking in other good books about Vietnam. Good historical coverage all the way back to pre-history, sharp clear graphics and comprehensive coverage. I was there in 1968-69 and think this book is a valuable addition to anyone's Vietnam collection -- or a fine place to start if you are just learning about this country and its wars. Kudos to Colonel Summers, the author, for producing such a fine atlas.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Some battle details that I have seen in no other books on the Vietnam war. Easily deciphered grahics, especially those showing degrees of passification. Photographs capture feeling of the current stage of the war. Victory campaign of '75 section fills void in my library about the Nam. Book feels good in the hand. Some are too bulky or too little to sit and read!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I would consider The West Point Atlas of American Wars to be the gold standard of Military Atlases, by comparison this is tin. The maps are beautiful, well produced, and inaccurate all to often. The location of major Cities; Military units, and bases constantly change, are in the wrong place, or are left out completely. I don't believe that Qui Nhon the largest city in Central Viet Nam was ever located in the proper place, (how hard is it to put sea ports on the sea? ) and was often not shown. This would be like leaving Richmond out of an atlas of Civil War battles in the East. Other examples Tuy Hoa and Song Cau are also important coastal cities. They come and go move to other cities locations or are replaced by other cities or even towns. This is like having maps were Baltimore, Washington, and Philadelphia randomly appeared, disappeared, and changed places, or move, in a random manner. Interestingly the only map which seems to show all the coastal cities of Viet Nam where they really are is the 1945 French map on p45. This also applies to military bases. Phu Cat was one of the largest Air Force bases in Viet Nam, it originally was located 40 miles northwest of Qui Nhon before it started to move. It is first seen on p71 20 miles south of where it started; by p97 it has replaced Tuy Hoa 100 miles southwest and now on the coast; p171 has it back where it was first located, but never fear, the first tactical fighter wing that was stationed at Phu Cat is shown on p93 located in the mountains under triple canopy northwest of Tuy Hoa before Tuy Hoa vanishes, replaced by Van Canh, then Phu Cat, Tuy Hoa vanishes again, but then reappears in the proper place, interesting. Every City in South Viet Nam Except Saigon, and Da Nang move and vanish on these maps, I'm just getting tired of giving examples. The real question is, what good is a supposed atlas if the maps are this carelessly done?
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book provides much needed information on how the biggest campaigns of both the Indochina War and Vietnam War,referred too (rightly)as the Second Indochina War,were fought.Here you will find detailed maps and narratives showing the development of a given battle or campaign.
This book dispels the idea that somehow the military operations in Indochina could not be traced in a clear,coherent way.THE HISTORICAL ATLAS OF THE VIETNAM WAR does just that thanks to excellent,high quality graphics and maps and authoritative commentary from STANLEY KARNOW and HARRY G.SUMMERS.These two historians(in my opinion the top experts on Vietnam)make this book something much more than just a book of maps.From pre-colonial to post-war Indochina,from coverage of set piece battles to Phoenix Program and Naval Forces,to the anti-war movement,My Lai and congress,HISTORICAL ATLAS OF THE VIETNAM WAR is THE new reference about the war.
Buy it with confidence.I did and i am not dissapointed.
Buy this book...I did and I'm not dissapointed.HARRY G SUMMERS and STANLEY KARNOW deserve recognition for putting together this masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
All in all, this book is a pretty good narrative of the entire Vietnam War. The text is simple and concise, thus making it a relatively easy read. It is about 213 pages long but the reader will only read half these pages as the other half contain full page maps. The book is broken into seven major sections. Each section starts with a short narrative. Thus, the reader has a quick understanding of the upcoming battles.

The only shortcoming of the text is that the descriptions of the various battles are sometimes too brief. The Battle of the Ia Drang is essentially described as the Americans landing on an NVA Regiment, a battle ensued, the Americans called in air strikes and won the day. The reader is forced to look at other sources for any meaningful description of the battle.

Nevertheless, this book has some very good qualities. The often vague battlefield descriptions are overcome by excellent graphic maps. These full color maps provide a clear detail of the various units in a battle as well as their line of attack or retreat. The book also contains a good selection of photographs relating to each specific battle. Finally, this book is more than a collection of maps, pictures, and brief battlefield narratives. It also describes events and organizations such as MACV, the Green Berets, and the assassination of President Diem.

Bottom line: this book is a quick easy read about the entire Vietnam War. Although the battle narratives are weak, they are compensated by excellent graphic maps. This is a good addition to any home library about the Vietnam War.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully illustrated book with battlefield plans of the Vietnam Wars and details of all the troop movements. It places the reader right at the center of the war zone. The text on the left handside details the events involved at the time while maps are drawn on the right handside.
The texts are concised, focused and give the reader a clear and broad picture of the war.
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on August 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I would consider The West Point Atlas of American Wars to be the gold standard of Military Atlases, by comparison this is tin. The maps are beautiful, well produced, and inaccurate all to often. The location of major Cities; Military units, and bases constantly change, are in the wrong place, or are left out completely. I don't believe that Qui Nhon the largest city in Central Viet Nam was ever located in the proper place, (how hard is it to put sea ports on the sea? ) and was often not shown. This would be like leaving Richmond out of an atlas of Civil War battles in the East. Other examples Tuy Hoa and Song Cau are also important coastal cities. They come and go move to other cities locations or are replaced by other cities or even towns. This is like having maps were Baltimore, Washington, and Philadelphia randomly appeared, disappeared, changed places, or moved, in a random manner. Interestingly the only map which seems to show all the coastal cities of Viet Nam where
they really are is the 1945 French map on p45
This also applies to military bases. Phu Cat was one of the largest Air Force bases in Viet Nam, it originally was located 40 miles northwest of
Qui Nhon before they started to move. It is first seen on p71 20 miles south of where it started by p97 it has replaced Tuy Hoa 100 miles southwest and now on the coast, p171 has it back where it was first located, but never fear, the first tactical fighter wing that was stationed at Phu Cat is shown on p93 to located in the mountains under triple canopy northwest of Tuy Hoa before it vanished.
Every City in South Viet Nam Except Saigon, and Da Nang move and vanish on these maps, I'm just getting tired of giving examples.
The real question is, what good is a supposed atlas if the maps are this carelessly done?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Colonel Summers has an axe to grind---he has no regard for Secretary McNamara. This happens to be a bias which I share, but it does make the book suspect as to its historical balance. (Referring to the Secretary of Defense as the "general-in-chief" doesn't leave the impression of even-handedness.) Most of the pictures are without attribution, and many seem to be almost generic in nature (and one is obviously printed in reverse, with military decorations being displayed on the right side of the uniform jackets). But the maps make the book. They are excellent, and add greatly to the effort to tell the stories of individual engagements.
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