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America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975 with Poster (4th Edition) 4th Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Herring also informs the reader that contrary to the current popular opinion, JFK was NOT going to get out of Vietnam because he chose to let the aggressive Henry Cabot Lodge make key decisions in escalating the United States' involvement in South Vietnam. The reader begins to understand that the US lost the war in the diplomatic and political theaters and not on the battlefield. After all, the US military's job was to keep communists from taking over South Vietnam and while US troops were deployed in the country, that objective never happened.
I highly recommend this book to anybody interested in the Vietnam conflict. Although there is no coverage on military engagements, troop life, or popular battles like Khe Sanh and Dienbienphu, this book will give the reader answers on why we were there and who was making the decisions on what we did in Southeast Asia.
The book is fairly short, numbering less than 400 pages. By that restraint alone, no reader should expect a thorough, voluminous exposition on every aspect of the war akin to Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, or a textbook for that matter. It's a piece on political history with a general thesis, numerous recurring themes, and plenty of information to back everything up.
The thesis is that the containment strategy America adopted around the Korean War, and its perceiving Vietnam as a strategic door to all of Southeast Asia, prevented each successive president from leaving Vietnam to the wolves and forced each one to progressively raise American stakes n the region. Numerous other variables--some consistent to all presidencies, like fear of facing the same political bloodletting as Truman got over "losing" China in 1949; some specific to the president, like JFK's need to take a stand somewhere after negotiating on Laos, and after the Berlin wall was erected--accompanied this grand one, but the central theme of this book draws a vivid picture of proud Cold Warriors refusing to back down and unwilling to commit entirely, hoping to bluff out an enemy who had already gone all in.
Of course, because it is a work with a point to prove rather than a huge collection of unfiltered facts, the reader must be wary of buying into Herring's perspective without private review of his logic.Read more ›
Like the rest of my generation, I watched the war on television and am certainly familiar with the names and personalities. In more recent years I have tried to so some reading on the war and with an interest in JFK, have always pondered the question of whether or not the war would have evolved in the same way had Kennedy lived. With that being said, I have to admit that I did not have a clear knowledge of the sequence of events that lead to America's involvement in the war.
George Herring's AMERICA'S LONGEST WAR did that for me. It puts in historical context many events that I was aware of individually but did not piece together in historical context. For example, I've recently done some reading about Watergate and a bio of Nixon. Herring puts all of that into context and how ultimately, the War that lead to Watergate caused Nixon's demise. I would strongly recommend it for someone who wants a basic understanding of how America got to where it was in relation to Vietnam.
There are many tragedies, acts of stupidity, and just bad judgment written about in this book but the saddest part relate to the unnecessary loss of life on both sides. And how the American people where kept in the dark about the conduct of the war. The tragedy for America was the 58,000 lives lost and the billions of dollars that were spent.
It is a useless debate now, but one could speculate as to what America could have been like had this money been used for schools, roads, bridges and health care or just a reduction of taxes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Very Best Book Written on The American War in Vietnam. Period.Published 9 months ago by Billie-Boy
I've used this book in my courses, re-issue after re-issue. It is such a well-balanced account and so authoritative, despite being very short.Published on January 3, 2014 by Karl G. Larew
If you are a student being forced to read this book for a class about America's Crusade in South East Asia I have a few words of warning for you. Read morePublished on October 23, 2013 by Sgt. Rock
Learned a great deal from this work. It really informed about the reasons for certain decisions. As a whole a very well written book. Read morePublished on May 25, 2013 by larry benjamin
The Vietnam War was an unconventional war that lasted, as many believe, for ten years. The case can be made that the war started much earlier than that and for the American... Read morePublished on March 11, 2013 by shaun brammer
I was aware of a war against godless Commies early in my life, but I hardly realized how France had lost the war years before I was born. Read morePublished on February 19, 2013 by snap shot hex
This is, categorically, the single finest expose of America's involvement with Vietnam I have ever read. Read morePublished on February 18, 2013 by Suppresst
I had to order this for a college class. It came 1 day earlier than even Amazon expected. Also...it was a brand new , shrink wraped item. Read morePublished on February 9, 2013 by L. Bednarski
I started this book hoping I wouldn't get bogged down in minutia and end up putting it down. I didn't. The book was paced like a good novel. Read morePublished on December 10, 2012 by Gopal