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Misalliance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and the Fate of South Vietnam Hardcover – April 15, 2013

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Misalliance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and the Fate of South Vietnam + Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam (The New Cold War History) + Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam
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Editorial Reviews

Review

An extraordinary book, brilliantly conceived and cogently argued. Miller transcends the scholarly and political polemics of Vietnam War literature, presenting readers with a fresh and original take on Ngo Dinh Diem and South Vietnam's relationship with the U.S. Misalliance is sure to be greeted with widespread acclaim. (Andrew Preston, author of The War Council: McGeorge Bundy, the NSC, and Vietnam)

Miller rejects the simplistic and partisan interpretations that have dominated earlier accounts of America's partnership with Vietnam. Misalliance will be not only a major advance in our understanding of Ngo Dinh Diem and U.S.-Vietnamese relations, but it will fundamentally alter the direction of scholarship on the Vietnam War. (Keith Weller Taylor, author of The Birth of Vietnam)

A monumental contribution to our understanding of America's misguided intervention in Vietnam. Great books advance knowledge as well as historical debate, and this is exactly what Miller achieves. Misalliance could easily be the best new book of the year. (Larry Berman, author of Zumwalt: The Life and Times of Admiral Elmo Russell "Bud" Zumwalt, Jr.)

An exemplary work of research and scholarship. Miller dispels in definitive fashion the myth that Ngo Dinh Diem owed his appointment as prime minister of a nascent South Vietnam to American intercession or that he was ever a 'tool' of the Americans. (Rufus Phillips, author of Why Vietnam Matters: An Eyewitness Account of Lessons Not Learned)

[Miller's] book skillfully places the establishment of the new nation in the great debate after World War II between the high modernist (Walt Rostow et al.) and low modernist (The Ugly American) development schools. Miller's command of the various parties and factions that jostled for power at the collapse of, first, Japanese occupation and then French rule is exhaustive, and his analysis of the economic development programs--land reform, the Agrovilles, the Strategic Hamlet program--is fascinating in its own right. (Charles Trueheart Weekly Standard 2013-06-10)

[Miller] mines new Vietnamese and French sources to advance important arguments. Miller offers numerous new details of Diem's early career to present him as a serious modernizer seeking to retain traditional principles. He illuminates Diem's close personal friendship with the iconic Vietnamese anticolonialist Phan Boi Chau, with whom he spent long hours discussing the relevance of Confucianism--its moral and philosophical precepts--to modern politics and society.
(Mark Moyar Wall Street Journal 2013-06-28)

About the Author

Edward Miller is Associate Professor of History at Dartmouth College.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (April 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674072987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674072985
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #729,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Robert Miller on June 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Diem remains a misunderstood and elusive historical figure. Miller's book opens up this important and underrated leader as no biography has done so far showing how Diem was far more his own man than a simple American puppet as portrayed by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. Had he not been overthrown there would probably not have been 550,000 Americans in Vietnam. An excellent and essential study, highly recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cycleforlife on December 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Well written, organized, and readable account of an important figure during the tragic decades-long conflict in Vietnam. Would give it five stars, but felt Miller could have expounded a little more on why Diem ultimately fell out of favor with US policymakers. Perhaps those discussions have yet to be declassified. For anyone who wants to know more about what Diem's government tried to do, right or wrong, to build a strong anti-Communist South Vietnam, this is a good choice.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By paul zisserson on March 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Those of us who came of age during the Vietnam war still have an unpleasant association with the name Diem. We saw him as a corrupt tyrant who was a dupe of US policy whose leadership would assure a justifiable defeat for the non Communist forces and their allies, particularly the US. Miller's book doesn't show him to be a Jeffersonian democrat, but it does present him as a far more complicated, and less reprehensible, figure than the aforementioned stereotype does. To his credit, Miller does not fight the Vietnam war again, but, like his in-depth analysis of Diem's ideas and policies, does clearly show that the story of that unfortunate episode was layered with a number of subtle policies and their execution, not all of which were misguided.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Mullally on May 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mr. Miller's examination reaches beyond the confines of what Americans want to know and hear about Vietnam, thereby offering us a valuable perspective to current interventions in Asia as well. He shows how there was deliberative, nationalistic purpose to the Diem regime (despite the fact that the Americans could not appreciate it), and also makes us realize how various US agencies were competing with, coveting, and undermining the nascent Republic of Vietnam from the outset. It becomes easy to recognize how our working to overthrow Diem in 1963 was really where the War was lost.

Therefore this is a "must-read" in order to realize how a few hubristic groups of American policymakers and technocrats laid the groundwork for the incredible devastation and loss of the Vietnam War which followed.
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Misalliance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and the Fate of South Vietnam
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