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The Vietnam War: A History in Documents (Pages from History) Paperback – April 17, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0195166354 ISBN-10: 0195166353 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Pages from History
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (April 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195166353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195166354
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #749,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up-This "documentary history" provides a social and political context for the conflict, with no military history and little coverage of the actual fighting. Instead, it focuses on the official documents, speeches, quotes, media commentary, and memoirs that trace the history of French and, later, American involvements in South East Asia. The documents are skillfully tied together by brief text that gives good background information. The authors primarily credit gross miscalculations on the part of American policy makers, such as John Foster Dulles and Robert S. McNamara, in helping lead the country into this conflict and are often critical of the United States politicians. A concluding section recounts a Vietnamese woman's return visit to her homeland long after the war, describes the changes in U.S./Vietnamese relations and attitudes, and looks at the role of the war in limiting the expansion of Communism. Related topics, such as the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam Veterans against the War, and the Kent State shootings, are covered, and ample information on Ho Chi Minh is included. The book is well balanced in showing both sides; the tragedy of the war i+s underlined by truly awful statistics on the amount of munitions used, the destruction of Vietnam, and the loss of life. Good-quality, black-and-white photos and illustrations are plentiful and informative. Comparable in style and reading level to John M. Dunn's A History of U.S. Involvement (Lucent, 2001), this excellent title could be used in conjunction with William Dudley's The Vietnam War: Opposing Viewpoints (Greenhaven, 1997).
Jeffrey A. French, Euclid Public Library, OH
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review


"Simply terrific. If I were teaching the Vietnam War, I would rush to use it. The photos are extraordinary and the documents powerful. There is no better single volume on the war that makes the events and ideas come alive as this book does."--Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States


"Comprised of first- and second-hand accounts of American policy in Vietnam during the 1960s. Its primary sources are held together chronologically with narrative. Political cartoons, U.S. government files, Vietnamese iconography, and song lyrics by Bruce Springsteen are among the book's most compelling and evocative elements."--Hampshire Gazette


"Provides historials and students of history with a wealth of first-hand information missing from past conflicts. Those "primary sources"...provide the basis for a different way to teach history - allowing students to decide the meaning."--Longmeadow News


Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By John J. Fitzgerald on August 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
As one of the authors of the book, The Vietnam War: A History in Documents, I take exception to the review from the reader in Colorado. I have seen his actual comments and he must know that we have shown them to be incorrect. He claims that we are incorrect on certain pages but in fact we had the facts correct. He is entitled to his own opinion but he is not entitled to his own set of facts. He seems to think that we should have written another kind of book. That is his privilege. It would be decent for any reviewer to comment directly on the book being reviewed rather than a book that he thinks we should have written. His comments are very close to being dishonest and seem primarily interested in disparaging the book. The controversy over the Vietnam War has not yet ended. Yours truly, John J. Fitzgerald
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Sossaman on August 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book should be very popular with teachers who teach that wars are more than battles and dates, who want students to go beyond pop culture's depiction of the experience of the individual soldier in Viet Nam, and who want students to understand that even publicly confident leaders are often baffled, uncertain, ignorant of history, or wrong. No textbook on this complex war can even begin to cover everything, of course. Instead of details about military operations, this book concentrates on presidential decision-making, personal responses on both sides, and efforts (e.g. songs, posters, propaganda leaflets) to persuade public opinion one way or another. The material in this book on how to read documents and on propaganda by both sides should be especially effective in the classroom. In fact, the book's great strength is its inclusion of (and guides to understanding) documents such as the 1945 Viet Minh Declaration of Independence, a state department policy statement, the 1954 Geneva conference's Final Declaration, and various responses to that declaration. Defenders of U.S. involvement in the war will likely be unhappy with parts of this book, including the suggested bibliography, but no book on this war will please everyone, and probably no book on this war can truly be neutral. Fortunately the inclusion of essential primary documents allows teachers of any persuasion to use this book. The materials from the Vietnamese side are probably especially valuable here, because those materials are not familiar to American students.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul the History Guy on August 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have been using this book in my college classes for about 10 years now. I assign it alongside a text (Herring or Hearden) and a novel--O'Brien's 'Things Fall Apart.' In this way, the documents work quite well with the broader historical context provided by the text and the war stories provided by O'Brien. After reading a couple of extremely negative reviews of this book, I thought I had better weigh in and try to help the potential reader. It is best to try to understand "America's War in Veitnam" (as the Vietnamese like to accurately call it) from a number of perspectives through many mediums. This book of documents will augment and enhance any readers knowledge of this important topic. One must remember, however, that primary source documents place a good deal of power and responsibility in the reader's hands. One then has to do the work of an historian, deciding where to place each document for proper context, considering matters of motive and perspective, etc. 'The Vietnam War: A History in Documents' does a good job of setting up the reader/student to do just that. I recommend it without hesitation or reservation.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Because of my work I see a great many books on Vietnam and the Vietnam era but this one really stands out as something special. Not only is the book an excellent introduction --it is also full of material that is fascinating even to those who know the subject well!
Steven A. Leibo Ph.D.
author of _East, Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific_ 2002
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