From Publishers Weekly
In this history, University of Texas associate history professor Lawrence (Assuming the Burden: Europe and the American Commitment to War in Vietnam), sifts through centuries of struggle in the small Southeast Asian nation, beginning with the Trung sisters' first century fight to throw off Chinese domination, to illustrate how America, for the Vietnamese, was just another in a long line of ultimately vanquished enemies. Lawrence locates the Trung sisters' spiritual heir in Ho Chi Minh, the communist revolutionary who quoted the Declaration of Independence before finding himself at war with a U.S.-backed South Vietnamese insurgency. The book lives up to its brief and accessible billing, but overall there is little new regarding the "international" players, France, China, and the Soviet Union; largely American-centric, the narrative rests on major U.S. developments from the 1964 Tonkin Gulf Resolution to the fall of the American Embassy in 1975. That said, the author ably encapsulates the uses and abuses of American power, which should prove familiar to anyone following news of the current war.
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"Crisply concise.... Delves into the 'whys' of the war: why the Vietnamese fought against the United States, why the great powers were involved, why the war turned out as it did and why legacies of the war linger."--Philip Seib,Dallas Morning News
"[A] succinct history of a frustrating war that raised several painful issues America's leaders are now encountering for a second time.... A pithy and compelling account of an intensely relevant topic."--Kirkus Reviews
"Distills the US's longest war into a short, readable narrative.... This brief summary of the tangled negotiations that prolonged the suffering caused by the war is perhaps Lawrence's most valuable contribution, since it covers an area that more extensive histories overlook.... A valuable addition to any academic library.... Essential."--C.C. Lovett, CHOICE
"The book lives up to its brief and accessible billing...."--Publishers Weekly
"In an elegant, almost elegiac prose style, Mark Lawrence takes us through the history of the Vietnam War in a narrative that transcends the usual focus on Vietnam and the United States. There is no other one volume history of the war that so thoroughly captures the war as an event in world history."--Marilyn B. Young, author of The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990
"A succinct and persuasive account of the Second Indochina War in its global context. At a time when the current U.S. involvement in Iraq evokes uneasy memories of America's controversial 'war of choice' in Vietnam, Mark Lawrence's thoughtful analysis of that previous conflict is highly welcome."--William J. Duiker, author of Ho Chi Minh: A Life
"In this concise history of the Vietnam War, Mark Lawrence does a masterful job of transforming a highly complex and controversial subject into a brilliant and balanced histoire synthèse. A rare feat."--Christopher Goscha, Université du Québec à Montréal
"It takes skill to condense a massive subject into a concise, entertaining, and accessible book. This is what Mark Atwood Lawrence accomplishes in his 224 page book The Vietnam War: A Concise International History
.... This book might be even more attractive than the larger volumes on the subject because it is succint and focuses on the primary issues of the war."--Shelton Woods, Resources
'In less than two hundred pages of clear, crisp prose, Mark Atwood Lawrence succeeds in 'examining the American role within a broadly interntional conext....' The information Lawrence packs into such a short volume is most impressive: his 'introductory study' is both comprehensive and economical.... Lawrence achieves his principal objective reminding us that the geopolitical environment decisively shaped the Vietnam experience in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries."--Gregory A. Daddis, Michigan War Studies Review
"Lawrence has produced a general survey of the war that will likely become a standard resource in undergraduate courses.... One cuold not ask for a better 'concise' history than the survey Lawrence has written. His prose style is always clear and often elegant.... For a subject that has all too often inspired overwrought critiques of the various parties involved in the conflict, it is refreshing to have a synthesis that adopts a more neutral and dispassionate view of the Vietnam War."--James McAllister, History: Reviews of New Books