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Why Viet Nam?: Prelude to America's Albatross Paperback – September 30, 1982


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 632 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (September 30, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520047834
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520047839
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #590,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Michael L Galyean on June 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have just returned from Vietnam with a group of Marines I served with in the 1st Bn. 5th Marine Regiment in 1969-70. We spent a couple of days in Hanoi and were fortunate to have an hour and a half with Ambassador Peterson at the U.S. Embassy there. It is a shame our decision makers in Washington did not listen to Mr. Patti during the months of 1945 that he was assigned to Vietnam primarily to oversee the orderly release of allied POW's after the surrender of the Japanese forces who were still very much in control of Vietnam. During that time he became close to Ho Chi Minh. I was fortunate to have known Mr. Patti and had several discussions with him about that time in his life. He made no bones about the fact that Ho was wanting help from anywhere he could get it, but he (Ho) felt that the United States was the most appropriate source for help in his country's move toward independence. Ho Chi Minh told Patti at their last meeting on Sept. 30, 1945, that "he owed only his training to Moscow and for that he had repaid Moscow with fifteen years of party work. He had no other commitment. He considered himself a free agent." Mr. Patti felt that our commitment to a ten year war in Vietnam began not with our many "advisors" in the early 60's or the landing of the Marines at Red Beach in 1965, but rather our decision to support the French Colonial rule rather than an independent Vietnam in 1945.
Ambassador Peterson acknowledges that what Vietnam has today would be more accurately labeled a Labor Party, rather than Communist. Free enterprise is alive and well in Vietnam today.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Hieu T. Tran on December 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
As a Vietnamese, I think this is one of the best books about U.S. and Vietnam relationship. Patti understands very well our strong desire for independence at the end of WWII and the nature of the Viet Minh movement led by our Uncle Ho. I feel really dishearted when some Americans still believe Patti was duped by Ho Chi Minh and Uncle Ho did anything to create a proletarian revolution in the world! Do they know many members of our government in 1945 are Western-educated? Vietnamese people, then and now, have always looked forward to working with American people. After a series of misfortunes, it seems that the U.S.- Vietnam relation is on the righ track now although sometimes it still bumps along a rough road because of past issues and misunderstandings.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
Archimedes Patti, an OSS agent in Indochina at the end of WWII, witnessed the postwar struggle of Ho Chi Minh to establish an independent country based on the American constitution and encouraged by the principles of self-determination espoused by Woodrow Wilson at the end of WWI. If Patti's story is to be believed, it will come as a deep shock to Americans. The author posits that beginning with the Treaty of Versailles ending the Great War, Ho Chi Minh attempted to secure American support for an independent Vietnam. He admired the principles of America's founding fathers and even went so far as to deliver his own self-styled Declaration of Independence. Despite sympathy from those Americans "in country", these overtures were snubbed by Washington and Vietnamese desires for independence were sacrificed to the interests of maintaining relationships with America's allies, France and Britain. The author presents a well-written, fascinating history of an important period for Vietnam that set the stage for America's later involvement in Indochina. Many are very familiar with events after 1954, but by that time it was almost too late for the US to turn back from the course it had taken. Biographies and personal accounts from intelligence officers always need to be digested carefully. Nevertheless, this book deserves more serious attention. If there was a chance for the US to back Ho, then it makes the sacrifice of those that gave their lives in Indochina to defending it from communism much more of a tragedy. "Our Ho" by Alan Trustman is the latest book to take up this story. It will be interesting to see how it compares with "Why Viet Nam?".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Utne on September 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I worked with Al Patti at the Office of Emergency Preparedness in the Executive Office of the President during the late 60's and early 70's. In between periods of conducting top-secret emergency planning exercises, Colonel Patti was working on his memoires that cumulated in the book, "Why Vietnam?". During this time, there occured frequent anti-war protests just down the street and our boss's son had just shipped off to Vietnam as an army recruit. Patti played his cards close to his chest but did reveal portions of his book. He was especially critical of our Francophile-leaning State Department during the period when he was in contact with Ho. One incident not revealed in his book is Patti's account of being asked by Ho to obtain an US Declaration of Independence" and Bill of Rights. According to Patti, his request was turned down by the State Department so he "stole" a company out of the local US embassy building and presented the copies to Ho. According tho Patti, the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence (and Bill of Rights) remain identical to those of the US.

With the newly released book, "EMBERS OF WAR" by Logevalt, there should be renewed interest in this general topic. Hopefully, many more will become acquainted with these historical perspectives and some critical lessons will finally sink in among foreign policy makers. FDR had it right.
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