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This Time We Win: Revisiting the Tet Offensive [Kindle Edition]

James S Robbins
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Most of what Americans have heard about the Tet Offensive is wrong. The brief battles in early 1968 during the Vietnam conflict marked the dividing line between gradual progress toward possible victory and slow descent to a humiliating defeat. That the enemy was handily defeated on the ground was considered immaterial; that it could mount attacks at all was deemed a military triumph for the Communists. This persistent view of Tet is a defeatist story line that continues to inspire America’s foreign enemies and its domestic critics of the use of force abroad.

In This Time We Win, James S. Robbins at last provides an antidote to the flawed Tet mythology still shaping the perceptions of American military conflicts against unconventional enemies and haunting our troops in combat. In his re-examination of the Tet Offensive, Robbins analyzes the Tet battles and their impact through the themes of terrorism, war crimes, intelligence failure, troop surges, leadership breakdown, and media bias. The result is an explosion of the conventional wisdom about this infamous surge, one that offers real lessons for today’s unconventional wars. Without a clear understanding of these lessons, we will find ourselves refighting the Tet Offensive again and again.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Robbins, a senior editorial writer for foreign affairs at The Washington Times, invokes Osama bin Ladin to argue that the guerilla warfare tactics of American enemies has historically lead to the U.S. losing fights against inferior troops; Vietnam, Robbins believes, was winnable, and so is Afghanistan. The author argues that America would have seen victory in Vietnam if President Johnson had controlled access to the battlefield the way George W. Bush did in Iraq and had removed naysayers like Robert MacNamara from battle zones. Robbins, executive director of the American Security Council Foundation, blames the usual suspects: the left-wing media (particularly Walter Cronkite and Noam Chomsky), John Kerry, and others. Johnson is criticized for believing in the efficacy of negotiation, and Robbins excuses American excesses by comparing the My Lai Massacre to atrocities committed by the North Vietnamese. The raid on the U.S. embassy in Saigon during the Tet Offensive was not, in his opinion, a clear illustration of the enemy's ability to infiltrate the heart of our positions; like all polemics, Robbins's version of the tale will please some and madden others. (Sept. 14)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


“History is written by the victors, but eventually the truth comes out.”

—Bui Diem, former South Vietnamese Ambassador to the US

“The Tet Offensive is a standing inspiration to today's terrorists and insurgents. This Time We Win is a direct assault on the logic that transforms U.S. tactical victories into strategic defeats.”

—Barry R. McCaffrey, General, USA (Ret.)

“Tough questions and startling answers. Forget what you've heard about the Tet Offensive. Jim Robbins sets the record straight.”

—Colonel Jack Jacobs, US Army Retired. Medal of Honor, 1969, Vietnam

“This book is a wonderfully detailed chronicle of how North Vietnam's crushing military defeat at Tet was converted into a political victory in the US which would sap the American will to win. I recommend this book to American veterans still perplexed at this dichotomy as well as to the public. It is truly a great account of this critical period.”

—John O’Neill, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Unfit for Command

“For over forty years the American experience in the Tet Offensive has been used and abused by those who try to apply the analogy of Tet to contemporary policy. This Time We Win corrects simplistic interpretations of Tet that are often used to create the impression of inevitable defeat in Vietnam and other conflicts. This book deserves a wide readership.”

—Brigadier General H.R. McMaster, author of Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam

Product Details

  • File Size: 620 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (October 16, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A3T8X4I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,691 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
85 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding September 15, 2010
By iHappy
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
James Robbins is not interested in recrimination as much as he is in explanation. Yes, he sets the record straight on Tet, but the book does so much more than that. It demonstrates that most Americans supported the war in Vietnam, and argues convincingly that we were winning that war. The tragedy of Tet was not that we lost, nor that this battle proved we could not win. Just the opposite: Tet showed (and Robbins proves) that the enemy was weak, and that our strategy was working. The real failure was one of understanding, especially at the highest levels. Even there, though, Robbins does not play the blame game. He is sympathetic to the demands of leadership, even if he criticizes those who fail to display it. And the author also refuses to reduce the war to a bumper sticker complaint about the media. Robbins shows the mistakes of particular individuals, but there is no simplistic blanket criticism here. The book is well researched, well argued, and above all well written, sophisticated but readable and unintimidating. It is appropriate for anyone who is interested in Vietnam, but it is also targeted at those who want to understand counterinsurgency and wartime leadership during any era, including our own. Everyone should read this book.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT October 9, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I can't imagine a better book ever being written about TET '68 and the lead up and aftermath of that tragically misreported and misunderstood event. As a Viet Nam vet and sometimes author about the Viet Nam War, I cannot praise this book enough. With a deftness I found humbling, Dr. Robbins characterizes the major players (North,South, U.S.) in the war with a brevity that reveals more than long rambling biographies (Johnson, Giap, McNamara...) can ever do. The sections about South Vietnamese Colonel Loan and 'the photo' (executing a Viet Cong) are alone worth the price of the book.
This is a great book for all who are interested in the truth about that war, and for all those who are concerned about America's difficult role in limited wars.
Phillip Jennings, Nam-A-Rama; The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Vietnam War.
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36 of 45 people found the following review helpful
By neidner
The smoke has cleared, the troops are long gone and James S. Robbins sets the record straight with "This Time We Win." Images of defeated American forces fleeing Vietnam in helicopters are erased. With great clarity, James Robbins revists the TET offensive from the battle field and from the American opinion polls. A must read to understand what went wrong in Vietnam and how to prevent it from happening again. Jim Neidner, Neidner's Talk Radio Show/Houston, [...]
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth about Tet... September 14, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
James Robbins' thorough review of the documentation and information that was not revealed in 1968 finally sheds light on the truth. 'This Time We Win' will engage your mind and heighten your curiosity as it uncovers the hard core facts that show the years of misrepresentation of this event as a defeat. Many thanks to James Robbins for taking the time to find and share that truth. May history now show that American troops, who fought valiantly for a win against Communism in Vietnam, were indeed victorious.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Robert
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the most comprehensive account of the 1968 Tet Offensive, and aftermath since Don Oberdorfer's book, Tet: The Turning Point in the Vietnam War. As an infantryman who fought in the Saigon/Long Binh area during Tet, I am in total agreement with the author's conclusions. We won the battles fought during Tet, and dealt a serious blow to the NLF and North Vietnamese, however, the media's interpretations of the events were totally distorted and flat wrong. This author devotes much of his book examining the politics and policies of the Johnson administration as it struggled to find a strategy that would bring the Communists to the negotiating table. My only criticism of the book is the extensive use and analysis of polling data from the pre and post Tet periods to measure domestic public opinion on the war. This is not a battle study of the Tet Offensive. The author covers some of the fighting in Saigon, mainly the attack on the US Embassy, and a few pages on the battles at Hue and Khe Sanh, but does not go into great detail. If you want a detailed account of the fighting at the grunt level, I would recommend Eric Hammel's book, Fire in the Streets-The Battle for Hue, Keith Nolan's book, The Battle for Saigon, and Robert Tonsetic's book,
DAYS OF VALOR: An Inside Account of the Bloodiest Six Months of the Vietnam War
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20 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Misinformation Resulted in Our Losing the Vietnam Conflict September 16, 2010
James S. Robbins convincingly argues that misinformation caused America to lose the conflict in Vietnam. The Tet Offensive was a victory for our military---but was reported by the major media outlets as a decisive loss. Robbins delves into the reasons and motivations behind this gross misreporting. We need to learn how to make sure such a blunder never again occurs. Vietnam is the only time in American history when we essentially had to raise the white flag of surrender. It did not have to happen. Robbins has performed a noble service. This book should be widely read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-Argued With Excellent Support to Justify October 1, 2012
By Henry
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book mainly because I want to have a different persepctive on the Vietnam War. Growing up as a first generation Vietnamese-American, my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents escaped from Communist rule (my family actually moved to the United States, specifically to Virginia in 1985 as the South Vietnamese diaspora actually last to late 1980s) and telling me about their experiences as they were teenagers/young adults (my parents, aunts, and uncles) and my grandparents (who were adults back then). Nearly the majority of the Vietnam War books (nonfiction) that I have read gives a general outline, and implies of a liberal tone. I was actually disappointed that the 'common' nonfiction books about Vietnam always have an biased liberal tone, but not this nonfiction literature, This Time We Win. The author, James S. Robbins, did an excellent presentation on why the media is responsible for the North Vietnamese political victory, even though the politicans in North Vietnam actually did not want to have this unexpected result of political achievement (the North Vietnamese actually want to end the war by launching the Tet Offensive). The authors includes statistics and surveys to backing the author's main argument. Unlike most nonfictions about the Vietnam War, he actually demonstrates two, contrasting viewpoints during that time (Prowar vs. Antiwar, Conservative vs. Liberals, North Vietnam vs. South Vietnam, etc.). Overall, this nonfiction actually is the forefront of present and future historians/authors who will need to have a 'second-look' at the Vietnam War. Since this book was released in 2010, more literatures about the Vietnam War is now leaning (and respectfully) towards the Americans (and Army Republic of Vietnam or ARVN) with great respect as soldiers who fought not just for their country, but for themselves so that others can live freely.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The book is an excellent read and hard to put down
Anyone who says we lost Tet should read this book. It should also be required reading by the person in the White House. Read more
Published 3 months ago by MAJ Carmichael
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good account of how things really went down.
Published 10 months ago by P. Dickerson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 10 months ago by Jaqueline Plümer
4.0 out of 5 stars NAM.
Great detail- But only the vets care. Lots did not care then.and wont today..
Published 10 months ago by George R Ayers
4.0 out of 5 stars The rest of the story
Ask any 5 people over 50; what was the Tet Offensive?; who won the battle? why was it important to the Vietnam War? Read more
Published 11 months ago by T. Sapp
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
James Robbins does a great job of setting the record straight on a major event in the Vietnam War. The author didn’t just explain what happened during the Tet Offensive in 1968. Read more
Published 15 months ago by S. Fox
4.0 out of 5 stars We should have won
Well written, easy to read, informative as to the timelines, provides the strategy of both sides and the hindsight revisits from some of the major participants. Read more
Published 17 months ago by T. Stewart
4.0 out of 5 stars Great in-depth analysis of the bumbling of the Viet Nam war.
This sets the record straight as to how a war in which we win every battle can be lost by politics and press coverage.
Published 17 months ago by Ronald Kociba
4.0 out of 5 stars Sets the record straight.
It is a great analysis of the part that press coverage and the political climate played in the Viet Nam war.
Published 17 months ago by RLK
3.0 out of 5 stars Vietnam War
It is okay although it isn't what I was expecting. However, I am learning a lot of things I did not know about the politics of that era. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Janice Brook
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