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Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (American Empire Project) Hardcover – January 15, 2013


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Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (American Empire Project) + Vietnam: The Real War: A Photographic History by the Associated Press
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Product Details

  • Series: American Empire Project
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; 1St Edition edition (January 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805086919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805086911
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (302 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The shocking images of the mounds of corpses, including women, children, and even babies, murdered by American troops in the Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai symbolized for many the horror of that war. At the time, military officials insisted that the massacre was an aberration and stressed that American troops in the field behaved with discipline and restraint, and strived to avoid civilian casualties. Not so, according to Turse, an investigative journalist who has been researching and writing about American “war crimes” in Vietnam for a decade. If his goal was to illustrate that atrocities committed against civilians were more widespread than previously acknowledged, Turse succeeds. He has mined Pentagon archives and conducted interviews with American veterans to credibly support his assertion. Unfortunately, Turse has a broader agenda, which is to show that the murder of civilians was systematic and encouraged by U.S. policy. He implies that our soldiers were on an out-of-control rampage on a regular basis.The nation could use a balanced view of the conduct of our combat troops in Vietnam, but this misses the mark. --Jay Freeman

From Bookforum

After reading Turse's meticulous, extraordinary, and oddly moving account, it's hard to avoid concluding that the US record in Vietnam has more in common with the Wehrmacht and the Imperial Japanese Army than "the greatest generation" that fought those enemies in World War II. —Jeff Stein

More About the Author

Nick Turse is a journalist, historian, and the author of Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam. Turse's work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Nation, among other publications. His investigations of U.S. war crimes in Vietnam have gained him a Ridenhour Prize for Reportorial Distinction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a fellowship at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Customer Reviews

Many others are mentioned in this book by Nick Turse's very well researched book.
Leo Van Veldhuizen
Read about "kill anything that moves" as a policy that was conceived of and implemented at the highest levels of the U.S. military and political establishment.
MAA
Though this book is very one-sided, I would recommend reading it to anyone who want to know about the war.
32434

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

113 of 129 people found the following review helpful By MAA on December 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Enough has been said, here and elsewhere, about the content of KATM and the meticulous archival and field research on which it is based. It is a brilliant (a word I use sparingly) work about one of the most tragic periods of Vietnamese and American history. It is also without a doubt the most painful book I have ever read. This might have to do with the fact that the subject matter is intensely personal for me. I still have vivid recollections of many of the scenes Nick Turse describes in excruciating detail. I am haunted by them.

Many of the comments in the 1 and 2 star category are eminently predictable and also reflect the views of some veteran Vietnam observers and scholars who should know better. The categories into which they fall are presented here in A-Z order.

Atrocities Committed By The "Other Side"

They did it, too! Whenever I hear this sophomoric comment, the first thought that comes to mind is that the Americans and their allies, including the Australians, South Koreans and others, had no right to be there in the first place. This is not an issue of moral equivalence. The "other side" was fighting against yet another foreign invader and its collaborators in the name of national liberation. It's that simple.

Fallacy of Generalizing from Personal Experience

If I had a nickel for every time I've read "I didn't witness any atrocities during my tour"... So because you didn't witness it first-hand means it didn't happen, right? Turse does not claim that every US combat soldier was a war criminal who was out raping, torturing and killing civilians. I know many veterans who, if they didn't know before they went, quickly realized after they arrived that the war was a colossal mistake.
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64 of 78 people found the following review helpful By George James Kalergis on September 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A comment about the review by MAA. I agree with most of his comments. I think however he
Fails to give due and measured credibility to observations of veterans like myself and those like myself who did not see the kind of horrific abuse Turse reported is not valid and a disservice to soldiers like myself. No doubt the body count was BS, but I still maintain the rape, baby and women killings etc. is quite overstated. See my comments below.

There is some evidence for his proposition. He greatly overstates the incidence of rape and deliberate murder of civilians however. He makes it sound as if this was a routine/daily occurrence. In my year there in combat, I did not see one incident such as this.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about my experience in Vietnam as a result of reading this book. It has some elements of truth to it, especially concerning the inflated body counts and influence from the chain of command for bodies. However, from my experience he has looked for (and found) many individual instances of abuse of civilians in that war and made it seem that was much more of a regular occurrence than it was.

He doesn't point out the danger we were in from women and children who would set booby traps or shoot at us. It was a nightmare scenario and I'm sure many soldiers lost their lives because they were not cautious enough with women and children.

To some degree, I think he takes the worst instances of a 12 year war and expounds on them making it sound like all units did this every day. In my experience that was not the case. I was a forward observer with a maneuver company in Vietnam in 1967. I patrolled the length of the An Lao Valley many times. His descriptions of what happened there have some merit.
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112 of 143 people found the following review helpful By S. Wilde on January 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nick Turse exposes, and expands upon already known, atrocities committed by US troops throughout Vietnam, throughout the war, sometimes in very graphic detail. From the documentary record through firsthand accounts from victims as well as perpetrators, the details are here. My Lai was one of the few mass murders of civilians that reached the mainstream press, but there were many many more atrocities. Mr. Turse's book attempts to reveal some of them and succeeds in doing so.

That a culture of contempt for the Vietnamese people existed at all military ranks is clearly revealed here through thorough investigation. However, readers may not be aware of the military's obsession with body counts, which essentially propped up this culture.

For "reviewers" who rip Turse for "cherry picking" and not being a veteran of the war himself, let me say this: first, as is well known, more than 30,000 books have been written about the Vietnam war - Turse acknowledges this much himself. The book is concise, but could easily be twice three times as long with factual interviews and records. Turse chose the most reliable, documented examples available. Second, good journalists and historians are able to view, investigate, and present findings on an issue, objectively, from reliable source material from all sides of the issue.

I read the book on my Kindle. When I finished a chapter about 3/4 of the way through, I noticed the last "chapter" seemed enormous, but I was ready to grind through it. It turns out that last "chapter" was probably 75-80 pages of footnotes and source material. That was impressive and amazing. The proof is in the pudding. And the accolades from people like Daniel Ellsberg and Andrew Bacevich are to be taken seriously. Turse's other books, as well as his amazing contributions to TomDispatch.com well worth investigating for readers who found thus book interesting, educational, and enlightening.
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