- Hardcover: 512 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (August 28, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521869110
- ISBN-13: 978-0521869119
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 68 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #911,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965 (v. 1) 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
A full-blooded member of what he calls the "revisionist school" of Vietnam War historians, Moyar firmly believes that America's longest and most controversial overseas war was "a worthy but improperly executed enterprise." His fiercely argued book, which covers the early years of American involvement in the war, is an unabated salvo against what he calls the "orthodox school" that sees American involvement in the war as "wrongheaded and unjust." The main villains are former Vietnam War correspondents David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan; former U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam Henry Cabot Lodge; and just about anyone else who had bad things to say about South Vietnamese premier Ngo Dinh Diem and good things to say about Vietnamese Communist leader Ho Chi Minh. Though Moyar marshals many primary sources to buttress his political point of view, he undermines his argument by disparaging those he disagrees with (calling Sheehan and Halberstam, for example, "indignant," "vengeful," and "self-righteous"). He also showers praise on those who backed Diem, the autocratic leader who stifled the press and his political opponents. Revisionists will embrace the book; the orthodox will see it as more evidence of a vast, right-wing conspiracy. (Oct. 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This thoroughly researched and richly informative history of the Vietnam War examines first the war's central characters and countries in the years leading up to 1954. Moyar contends that South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, who has been incessantly depicted as an obtuse, tyrannical reactionary by some historians, was in reality a very wise and effective leader. Moyar states that supporting the November 1963 coup was the worst American mistake of the war, that President Kennedy had no plans to abandon his South Vietnamese allies after the 1964 election, and that President Johnson's lack of forcefulness in Vietnam in late 1964 and early 1965 squandered America's deterrent power and led to a decision in Hanoi to invade South Vietnam with large North Vietnamese army units. Moyar notes that historians have argued that an American ground-troop presence in Laos would not have stopped most of the infiltration, but much new evidence contradicts this contention. Where the U.S. committed major errors, he writes, was in formulating strategies for defending South Vietnam. A valuable appraisal. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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What makes this book different is that until recently histories of the VN war were all based on American sources, but the author of this book has had access to many North Vietnamese documents and can challenge the conventional wisdom of an earlier day about what really happened in VN and how the North Vietnamese responded to our actions.
The book has created a conflict within me, someone who views himself as well read on the causes and nature of the war. Several of my assumptions may be wrong. Was Ho Chi Minh a true die hard communist or just forced into the arms of China by the Americans? Were the Chinese and Vietnamese natural enemies, or close collaborators? How successful was Ngo Dinh Diem as President of South VN?
How poor was our intelligence during the war? How much of the failure of US policy in VN can be attributed to internecine squabbling among the various US agencies involved in the war? And, importantly, how much of what was being reported by the American press were incorrect analysis that became self fulfilling prophecies back home?
I recommend the book highly to those interested in doing some heavy academic reading, but having an enlightening experience. It may even cause you to reconsider your views.
All in all, highly recommended even for the armchair historian like myself. I do not know if Moyar is working on the sequel covering1965-75, but if he is, I look forward to reading it.