Larry Addington, America's War in Vietnam: A Short Narrative History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000. xii, 191 pp. Not recommended; in the sections I skimmed, the number of errors was excessive, starting with the statement on page 1 that Vietnam is only about 20 miles wide at the 17th parallel.
Joe Allen, Vietnam: The (Last) War the U.S. Lost. Haymarket Books, 2008. 230 pp. Written from a strongly leftist perspective, with a good deal of attention to the anti-war movement.
Joseph A. Amter, Vietnam Verdict: A Citizen's History. New York: Continuum, 1982.
David L. Anderson, The Vietnam War. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. 168 pp.
David L. Anderson, The Columbia History of the vietnam War. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010. 462 pp.
Ang Cheng Guan, The Vietnam War from the Other Side: The Vietnamese Communists' Perspective. London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon (Taylor & Francis), 2002. ix, 193 pp. Covers the period 1954 to 1968.
Ang Cheng Guan, Ending the Vietnam War: The Vietnamese Communists' Perspective. London and New York:RoutledgeCurzon, 2004. viii, 198 pp. Covers the period 1968-1975, with particular emphasis on the Paris negotiations.
Christian L. Arevian, A Conservative View of the Vietnam Era. Booksurge, 2006. 224 pp.
Alan Axelrod, The Real History of the Vietnam War: A New Look at the Past. New York: Sterling, 2013. 384 pp. I am not optimistic; the author cranks out a couple of books a year, on a very wide range of topics.
Chester A. Bain, Vietnam: The Roots of Conflict. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1967. viii, 184 pp. Goes back to the early history of Vietnam.
Loren Baritz, Backfire: A History of How American Culture Led Us into Vietnam and Made Us Fight the Way We Did. New York: Morrow, 1985.
Elizabeth Becker, America's Vietnam War: A Narrative History. New York: Clarion, 1992. x, 211 pp. Aimed at junior high and high school readers; said to be pretty good.
Colonel Gabriel Bonnet, La guerre révolutionnaire du Vietnam: histoire, techniques et enseignements de la guerre americano-vietnamienne. Paris: Payot, 1969. 274 pp.
Douglas A. Borer, Superpowers Defeated: Vietnam and Afghanistan Compared. London: Frank Cass, 1999. xxiii, 261 pp.
Mark Philip Bradley, Vietnam at War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009 (forthcoming). 256 pp. Covers both Indochina wars.
Peter Braestrup, ed., Vietnam as History: Ten Years After the Paris Peace Accords. Washington, D.C.: University Press of American/Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1984. 160 pp. plus extensive unpaginated front and back matter. Papers and commentary from a conference held at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution, January 7-8, 1983.
Richard Brownell, America's Failure in Vietnam. San Diego: Lucent Books, 2005. 112 pp.
"Bundy Address before National Student Association." Background (United States Information Service, Hong Kong), August 16, 1967. 25 pp. William P. Bundy gave this talk, summarizing this history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam from 1945 onward, before the National Student Association on August 15, 1967. Notable for Bundy's interpretation of the elections called for by the 1954 Geneva Accords as "in effect a plebiscite as to whether reunification was desired" (p. 8) and for his moderately strong statement of the domino theory (pp. 7, 2325). The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Joseph Buttinger, The Smaller Dragon: A Political History of Vietnam. New York: Praeger, 1958. 535 pp. Basically a history of Vietnam from the origins up to the French conquest, with a brief summary of events from 1900 to 1957 tacked onto the end. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Joseph Buttinger, Vietnam: A Dragon Embattled, 2 vols. New York: Praeger, 1967. 1346 pp. A history of Vietnam from the French conquest to the death of Ngo Dinh Diem.
Joseph Buttinger, Vietnam: A Political History. New York: Praeger, 1968. 565 pp. Basically a condensation of the two previous items, with a chapter added bringing the story up to 1968.
Joseph Buttinger, A Dragon Defiant: A Short History of Vietnam. New York: Praeger, 1972. 147 pp.
Joseph Buttinger, Vietnam: The Unforgettable Tragedy. New York: Horizon Books, 1977. 191 pp.
J. F. Cairns, The Eagle and the Lotus: Western Intervention in Vietnam, 1847-1968. Melbourne: Lansdowne Press, 1969. xii, 250 pp. rev. ed. The Eagle and the Lotus: Western Intervention in Vietnam, 1847-1971. Melbourne: Lansdowne Press, 1971. xii, 249 pp.
Philip Caputo, 10,000 Days of Thunder: A History of the Vietnam War. Athenium, 2005. 128 pp. Aimed at ages 9-12.
James M. Carter, Inventing Vietnam: The United States and State Building, 1954-1968. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. viii, 268 pp.
George A. Carver, Jr., "Culture and Politics in Vietnam." Lecture presented at the National War College, 29 February 1968. 34 pp. Carver, the Special Assistant for Vietnam Affairs (SAVA) to the Director of Central Intelligence, added a discussion of the Tet Offensive to the overall discussion of the history of Vietnam and Vietnamese politics that had been his originally intended topic. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Nigel Cawthorne, Vietnam: A War Lost and Won. London: Arcturus, 2003.
Georges Chaffard, Les deux guerres du Vietnam: de Valluy à Westmoreland. Paris: La Table Ronde, 1969. 458 pp.
Christopher Chant, The Vietnam War. Stevenage, UK: Regency House, 2008. Edison, NJ: Chartwell Books, 2008. Extensivey illustrated.
Mortimer T. Cohen, From Prologue to Epilogue in Vietnam. New York: Retriever Bookshop, 1979. 612 pp.
William Colby with James McCargar, Lost Victory. Chicago & New York: Contemporary Books, 1989. 438 pp. Colby was head of the CIA station in Saigon early in the war; before the end of the war he became Director of Central Intelligence (head of the CIA). He argues that the United States erred in applying massive military force in Vietnam, when what was really needed was counterinsurgency at the village level.
Combined Intelligence Center, Vietnam, "Strategy Since 1954." Study 67-037, 29 June 1967. ii, 44 pp. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars, The Indochina Story. New York: Pantheon, 1970. xxxv, 347 pp.
Justin Corfield, The History of Vietnam. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2008. xxiii, 154 pp. The few pages at which I have looked were not very good.
Leo J. Daugherty and Gregory Louis Mattson, Nam: A Photographic History. New York: Metro Books, 2001. 608 pp. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2004. 608 pp. A huge tome, with a lot of text, not just pictures.
J. Davidson, Indochina: Signposts in the Storm. Singapore: Longman, 1979. xviii, 260 pp. Don't bother with this one.
Gen. Phillip B. Davidson, Vietnam at War: The History 19461975. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1988. xii, 838 pp. The author was chief of US military intelligence in Saigon, 196769. This book is a fascinating illustration of the mindset with which he guided military intelligence; he does not seem to be very interested in guerrilla warfare, or indeed in anything that happened in Vietnamese villages. His main concern is for the activities of generals and of regularly organized military units.
Gen. Phillip B. Davidson, Secrets of the Vietnam War. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1990. Not recommended.
Gerald J. DeGroot, A Noble Cause? America and the Vietnam War. London: Longman, 1999. 402 pp.
Arthur J. Dommen, The Indochinese Experience of the French and the Americans: Nationalism and Communism in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001. xiii, 1172 pp.
John Dumbrell, Rethinking the Vietnam War. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 312 pp.
William J. Duiker, The Communist Road to Power in Vietnam. Boulder: Westview, 1981. xvi, 393 pp. 2d ed. Boulder: Westview, 1996. xvi, 435 pp. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
William J. Duiker, Sacred War: Nationalism and Revolution in a Divided Vietnam. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1995. xx, 289 pp.
James F. Dunnigan and Albert A. Nofi, Dirty Little Secrets of the Vietnam War. New York: Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin's), 1999. xvi, 374 pp.
George E. Dutton, Jayne S. Werner, and John K. Whitmore, eds., Sources of Vietnamese Tradition. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. xl, 622 pp. A collection of documents.
Anthony O. Edmonds, The War in Vietnam. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1998. 232 pp.
David Elliott, The Vietnamese War: Revolution and Social Change in the Mekong Delta, 19301975. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2003. 2 volumes. xxii, 1547 pp. This study of Dinh Tuong province reveals a great deal about the course of events in South Vietnam as a whole. This is, in my opinion, the most important book on the Vietnam War that has been published in the last twenty years. Every serious library should acquire a copy.
David Elliott, The Vietnamese War: Revolution and Social Change in the Mekong Delta, 19301975, concise edition. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2006. xxiv, 508 pp. Every serious library should acquire a copy.
George Esper and The Associated Press, The Eyewitness History of the Vietnam War, 19611975. New York: Ballantine, 1983. 209 pp. Esper began covering Indochina for AP in 1965; he became Saigon Bureau Chief in 1973, and remained until after the end of the war.
Bernard Fall, The Two Viet-Nams. New York: Praeger, 1963. Rev. ed. New York: Praeger, 1964. xii, 490 pp. This used to be the standard history of Vietnam and the Vietnam War up to about 1963. Fall was anti-Communist but not particularly pro-American.
Bernard Fall, Viet-Nam Witness, 195366. New York: Praeger, 1966. ix, 363 pp. A collection of essays originally written between 1954 and 1966.
Bernard Fall, Last Reflections on a War. New York: Doubleday, 1967. 288 pp. pp. 105-116 (almost all of "North Vietnam Between Peking and Moscow") and pp. 260-271 ("Street Without Joy - Revisited" and "The Last Tape") have been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Frances Fitzgerald, Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam. New York: Random House, 1972; paperback (slightly revised) New York: Vintage, 1973. xii, 661 pp. Best-selling history of the war, from a liberal viewpoint. Over-rated, in my opinion.
Philippe Franchini, Les guerres d'Indochine, 2 vols. Paris: Pygmalion, 1988. 444, 456 pp. Paris: Texto (Tallandier), 2011. 670, 784 pp.
Ronald B. Frankum, Jr., and Stephen F. Maxner, The Vietnam War for Dummies. New York: Wiley, 2003. xviii, 362 pp.
Marc Jason Gilbert, ed., Why the North Won the Vietnam War. New York: Palgrave (Macmillan), 2002. xiv, 254 pp.
Donald M. Goldstein, Katherine V. Dillon, and J. Michael Wenger, The Vietnam War: The Story and Photographs. Washington, DC: Brassey's, 1999. 192 pp.
Christopher E. Goscha, ed., Vietnam: de l'insurrection à la dictature, 1920-2012. Paris: Vendémiaire, 2013. 553 pp.
[Barry Gregory], The Vietnam War, 12 vols. Freeport, NY: Marshall Cavendish, 1988. Badly written and overpriced, this is a purely commercial product, from a publisher who did not respect the author enough to put his name on the cover or on the title page. It has been aggressively marketed to public schools and libraries.
Melvin Gurtov and Konrad Kellen, Vietnam: Lessons and Mislessons. Santa Monica: Rand, June 1969. P-4084. 22 pp. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Mitchell K. Hall, The Vietnam War. New York: Longman, 1999. 152 pp. 2d ed. Harlow, England: Longman/Pearson, 2007. xxi, 143 pp. (pp. 85-115 are documents). Revised 2d ed. Harlow, England: Longman/Pearson, 2008. xxix, 138 pp. (pp, 88-118 are documents).
James Harrison, The Endless War: Vietnam's Struggle for Independence. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983. 374 pp. This was one of the first overall histories of the war that made any serious effort to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the Communist organization in Vietnam. The main problem is that, when describing quite genuine strengths of the Communist organization, Harrison quotes very extensively from Communist descriptions of those strengths. These descriptions are often seriously exaggerated. There exists a danger that readers who notice the exaggeration will fail to notice the underlying element of truth. If even a tenth of what the Communists said about the intimate relationship between themselves and the South Vietnamese peasants had been true, that would have been enough to have a significant affect on the war. In fact much more than a tenth was true.
William Russell Haycraft, Unraveling Vietnam: How American Arms and Diplomacy Failed in Southeast Asia. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2006. 256 pp. Argues that the war could have been won.
Patrick J. Hearden, The Tragedy of Vietnam. New York: Harper Collins, 1991. Third edition New York: Longman (Pearson), 2008. xiii, 210 pp.
George C. Herring, America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 19501975. New York: Wiley, 1979. Second edition New York: Knopf, 1986. 3d ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996. xiv, 354 pp. 4th edition New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002. A standard, middle-of-the-road view, focussed more on the Americans than on the Vietnamese.
Martin F. Herz, The Vietnam War in Retrospect: Four Lectures. Washington, D.C.: School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University / Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1984. viii, 72 pp.
Gary R. Hess, Vietnam and the United States: Origins and Legacy of War. Boston: Twayne, 1990. xvi, 206 pp.
Gary R. Hess, Vietnam: Explaining America's Lost War. Malden and Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2009. xii, 218 pp.
Hoang Lac and Ha Mai Viet, Blind Design: Why America Lost the Vietnam War. Privately printed: Sugarland TX, 1996. xiv, 388 pp. By two senior ARVN officers.
David Hunt, Vietnam's Southern Revolution: From Peasant Insurrection to Total War. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2008. xi, 272 pp. A study of the way the revolution was experienced by those involved in it, in the upper Mekong Delta, from 1959 to 1968.
Neil L. Jamieson, Understanding Vietnam. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. xv, 428 pp. An effort to explain the Vietnam War by reference to underlying Vietnamese cultural patterns, based on extensive research in Vietnamese sources. The full text is available online if you browse the Internet through an institution that is affiliated with netLibrary.
Anthony James Joes, The War for South Viet Nam, 19541975. New York: Praeger, 1989. xi, 176 pp. The combination of anti-Communist bias and factual inaccuracy makes this book pretty useless. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia. Rev. ed.: Westport, CT: Praeger, 2001. xiv, 199 pp. Some of the errors have been corrected.
George M. Kahin, Intervention: How America became Involved in Vietnam. New York: Knopf, 1986. xii, 550 pp. A well-documented account, based on a lot of digging through declassified documents, bitterly critical of U.S. policy.
George Kahin and John Lewis, The United States in Vietnam. Delta, 1967. xiv, 465 pp. A history covering events up to the mid 1960's, from a mildly left-wing viewpoint. Pretty good, except that the authors were under the impression that the Viet Cong were more independent of Hanoi than they really were.
Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History. New York: Viking, 1983. xiii, 750 pp. Some of the errors in the original hardback were corrected in the paperback: New York: Penguin, 1984. There were noticeable changes, going beyond simple correction of errors, in the revised and updated edition: New York: Viking, 1991. xv, 768 pp. Second revised and updated edition: New York: Penguin, 1997. xv, 768 pp.
Gabriel Kolko, Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience. New York: Pantheon, 1985. xvi, 628 pp. This very extensively researched study, paying much more attention to the Vietnamese than most recent works published in the United States, takes a left-wing viewpoint.
Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr., The Army in Vietnam. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986. 318pp. This extremely important study constitutes a vital antidote to Col. Summers' book On Strategy, which is so fashionable these days. Krepinevich, an Army major in the Strategic Plans and Policy Division of U.S. Army staff, argues very convincingly that U.S. Army doctrine in the 1950's was oriented to a major conflict in Europe. Doctrine called for large units of very heavily armed troops, who could crush an enemy by overwhelming firepower and thus minimize their own casualties. When the Vietnam War came along, the Army was unwilling to abandon or even seriously to modify the doctrine it had built up. It was determined to use, as much as possible, the units, the weapons, the tactics, and the doctrine that it had devised for use in Europe, while paying a minimum of lip service to ideas of "counterinsurgency" warfare.
Gerald Kurland, ed., The United States in Vietnam: Misjudgment or Defense of Freedom? New York: Simon & Schuster, 1975. 210 pp.
A.J. Langguth, Our Vietnam/Nuoc Viet Ta: The War 19541975. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000. 766 pp. Langguth was a senior correspondent for the New York Times for significant parts of the war, but this is not a memoir; it is an overall history of the war.
Mark Atwood Lawrence, The Vietnam War: A Concise International History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. viii, 214 pp.
Alan J. Levine, The United States and the Struggle for Southeast Asia, 19451975. Westport: Praeger, 1995. 200 pp.
Adrian Lewis, The American Culture of War: A History of American Military Force from World War II to Operation Iraqi Freedom. New York: Routledge, 2006. 560 pp.
Guenter Lewy, America in Vietnam. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. xiii, 540 pp. This book has a reputation for being very objective, but in fact it has a considerable pro-American bias.
Michael Lind, Vietnam the Necessary War: A Reinterpretation of America's Most Disastrous Military Conflict. New York: The Free Press, 1999. xix, 314 pp. I have only glanced at brief sections of the book. Some seemed pretty sensible. For example, Lind deals well with the significance of the Tet Offensive, a test many authors fail. But he seriously misunderstands the politics of the passage of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. I must also confess to being slightly annoyed at the way Lind (p. 154) misrepresents me, claiming that in my book Land Reform in China and North Vietnam I indicated that I sympathized with the Russian Revolution, and that I expressed regret over the failure of the Communists in Russia to win more peasant support.
Fredrik Logevall, The Origins of the Vietnam War. Harlow, United Kingdom: Longman (Pearson), 2001. xviii, 156 pp. The text (pp. 1-92) and the documents (pp. 93-132) go from the 1940s to about the middle of 1965.
Fredrik Logevall, Twilight War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam. New York: Random House, 2012 (forthcoming). 880 pp. Covers the period from 1919 to 1959.
Timothy J. Lomperis, The War Everyone Lostand Won: America's Intervention in Viet Nam's Twin Struggles. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1984. x, 192 pp. pb Washington: Congressional Quarterly Press, 1987. Rev. ed. Washington: Congressional Quarterly Press, 1993. xix, 203 pp.
Timothy J. Lomperis, From People's War to People's Rule: Insurgency, Intervention, and the Lessons of Vietnam. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. xvi, 440 pp. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Peter Lowe, ed., The Vietnam War. New York: St. Martin's, 1999. Essays about the role of the US, North and South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, China, and Britain.
Martin McLaughlin, Vietnam & the World Revolution. Labor Publications, (1991?). Said to be from the Trotskyist viewpoint.
Michael Maclear, The Ten Thousand Day War: Vietnam: 19451975. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1981. 368 pp.
Michael Maclear (text) and Hal Buell (photo editor), Vietnam: A Chronicle of the War [on title page] or Vietnam: A Complete Photographic History [on cover]. New York: Tess Press (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers), 2003. 736 pp. This large and very impressive volume combines the text of Michael Maclear's book The Ten Thousand Day War with more than 2,000 photographs and maps, most of which came from the files of the Associated Press.
Myra MacPherson, Long Time Passing: Vietnam and the Haunted Generation. Garden City: Doubleday, 1984. viii, 663 pp. New edition: Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002. 736 pp. A study, based on extensive interviews, of the way the Vietnam War affected the generation that came of age in the 1960sboth those who served in Vietnam and those who did not.
Timothy P. Maga, The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Vietnam War. New York: Alpha Books (Penguin), 2000. xx, 344 pp. I have skimmed this only briefly; it did not look very accurate.
Robert Mann, A Grand Delusion: America's Descent into Vietnam. New York: Basic Books, 2001. 656 pp. Runs from 1945 to 1975. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Albert Marrin, America and Vietnam: The Elephant and the Tiger. New York: Viking, 1992. ix, 277 pp. Intended for juveniles? Reputed to have a pro-war bias, but a glance at the section on Tonkin Gulf showed errors of an anti-war type.
Military History Institute of Vietnam, Victory in Vietnam: The Official History of the People's Army of Vietnam, 19541975. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2002. Translated by Merle L. Pribbenow; foreword by William J. Duiker. xxvi, 494 pp. English translation of the 1994 edition of the PAVN official history; this is an important work.
Robert L. Miller and Dennis Wainstock, Indochina and Vietnam: The Thirty-Five Year War, 1940-1975. New York: Enigma Books, 2013. xiii, 265 pp.
Edwin E. Moise, The Vietnam Wars. Electronic publication, 1998.
Wilbur H. Morrison, The Elephant and the Tiger: The Full Story of the Vietnam War. New York: Hippocrene, 1990. 703 pp., not counting a long prologue that has no page numbers.
George D. Moss, Vietnam: An American Ordeal, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990. xii, 420 pp. 2d edition: Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1994. x, 454 pp. 5th edition: Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall (Pearson), 2006 [actually published late in 2005]. xvi, 511 pp. 6th edition: Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall (Pearson), 2009 [it actually says 2010 on the copyright page, but it was being distributed by March and April of 2009]. xviii, 433 pp. The sixth edition is distressingly inaccurate about the Tet Offensive (note in particular the extraordinary underestimate of U.S. and ARVN casualties on p. 231).
Mark Moyar, Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. 552 pp. Moyar endorses Ngo Dinh Diem's leadership, and the American decision to go to war in Vietnam. He criticizes the Americans who turned against Diem, and/or turned against the war. I have ooked at only a few pages of this book. While Moyar should be commended for his use of Vietnamese sources, in other respects his research seems to have been careless. See examples of what I regard as carelessness. See also:
Andrew Wiest and Michael J. Doidge, eds., Triumph Revisited: Historians Battle for the Vietnam War. New York and Abingdon: Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2010. 243 pp. A collection of essays about Moyar's book, and the controversies surrounding it, with responses by Moyar.
Stuart Murray, Vietnam War. DK Publishing, 2005. 71 pp. Juvenile; intended for ages 9-12.
Bernard C. Nalty, ed., The Vietnam War: The History of America's Conflict in Southeast Asia. London: Salamander, 1998. 384 pp. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2000. 384 pp.
National War College, Syllabus, "U.S. Defense Policy, Military Strategy and Force Planning." Washington, DC: National Defense University, Fort McNair, academic year 1982-83. Part 3, "The Vietnam Experience," 25 April - 2 May 1983, has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in two parts: Front matter, topics 1-6, and beginning of a long excerpt from Komer's Bureaucracy Does Its Thing, remainder of Komer excerpt.
Jonathan Neale, The American War: Vietnam 1960-1975. London: Bookmarks, 2001. Republished as A People's History of the Vietnam War. New York and London: The New Press, 2003. xv, 309 pp. Preface by Howard Zinn. The interpretation is quite left-wing.
Charles E. Neu, America's Lost War: Vietnam: 19451975. Wheeling, Illinois: Harlan Davidson, 2005. xix, 272 pp.
Nguyen Anh Tuan, America Coming to Terms: The Vietnam Legacy. Xlibris, 2008. 794 pp. By a former RVN Minister of Finance. I have not seen the book, but the thesis as I understand it, that the Vietnam War should be considered a success for the United States because it helped the U.S. defeat the Soviet Union in the Cold War, looks unlikely to me.
Nguyen Khac Vien, Vietnam: une longue histoire. Hanoi: The Gioi, 1993. Reprinted Paris: l'Harmattan, 1999. 504 pp.
Nguyen Ky Phong, Nguoi My va Chien Tranh Viet Nam: Lien He Quan Su Chinh Tri 19451975, vol. 1. Centreville, VA: Vietnam Bibliography, 2001. 339 pp. Vol. 1 goes up through the early part of the Johnson administration. Vol. 2 is to be published before the end of the year 2001.
Edgar O'Ballance, The Wars in Vietnam: 19541973. Ian Allen, 1975; New York: Hippocrene, 1975. 204 pp.
Edgar O'Ballance, The Wars in Vietnam: 19541980. New York: Hippocrene, 1981. 246 pp.
The Officer. Monthly magazine of the Reserve Officers Association of the United States. Supported the war.
James S. Olson and Randy Roberts, Where the Domino Fell: America and Vietnam, 19451990. New York: St. Martin's, 1991. 2d ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1996, viii, 326 pp. The authors are not very knowledgeable on the subject.
General Bruce Palmer, Jr., The 25-Year War: America's Military Role in Vietnam. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 1984. ix, 236 pp.
Dave Richard Palmer, The Summons of the Trumpet. San Rafael, CA: Presidio, 1978. xii, 277 pp. pb New York: Ballantine, 1984. xxii, 354 pp. Palmer was a colonel when he wrote this; he later became a lieutenant general, and superintendant of the United States Military Academy at West Point. The section on the 1950's is quite inaccurate; note in particular the exaggeration of the extent Hanoi was pushing insurgency in the South from 1957 to 1959 (pp. 1921 in the 1984 paperback). He also underestimates the US combat role in the early years of the war (p. xii) and greatly overstates magnitude of the Viet Cong defeat in the Tet Offensive of 1968 (pp. 254-265). A reprint issued by Presidio in 1995 is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Pham Kim Vinh, The Politics of Selfishness: VietnamThe Past as Prologue. San Diego: n.p., 1977. 153 pp. By a former lawyer, journalist, and ARVN officer, originally North Vietnamese, very anti-Communist.
Rufus Phillips, Why Vietnam Matters: An Eyewitness Account of Lessons Not Learned. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2008. xvi, 398 pp. Phillips went to Vietnam as a CIA officer in 1954, in the Saigon Military Mission under Edward Lansdale. Left in 1955, back in South Vietnam for most of 1956. Then in Laos 1957-59. He went back to Vietnam, working for AID, in 1962.
Norman Podhoretz, Why We Were in Vietnam. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1982. 240 pp. pb New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983. 250 pp. Attempt to justify the war.
Jacques Portes, Les Americains et la guerre du Vietnam. Paris: Complexe, 1993. 360 pp.
Ken Post, Revolution, Socialism and Nationalism in Viet Nam, 5 vols. Brookfield, VT: Dartmouth Publishing Co., 198994. Vol. I: An Interrupted Revolution, 1989, 368 pp. Vol. II: Vietnam Divided, 1989, 416 pp. Vol. III, Socialism in Half a Country, 1989, 408 pp. Vol. IV, The Failure of Counter-Insurgency in the South, 1990, 432 pp. Vol. V, Winning the War and Losing the Peace, 1994, 416 pp. A good study written from a Marxist perspective.
John Prados, Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945-1975. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2009. xxvii, 665 pp.
Jeffrey Record, The Wrong War: Why we Lost in Vietnam. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1998. xxvi, 217 pp.
Harrison E. Salisbury, "Image and Reality in Indochina," Foreign Affairs, 49:3 (April 1971), pp. 381394. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
D. R. SarDesai, Vietnam: The Struggle for National Identity. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1992. x, 192 pp. Vietnam: Past and Present, 4th edition. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2005. xv, 270 pp.
Herbert Y. Schandler, America in Vietnam: The War that Couldn't Be Won. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009. xvi, 209 pp. Schandler, a retired Army colonel who served two tours in Vietnam, made extensive use in this book of the discussions in Hanoi that formed the basis of Robert S. McNamara, et al., Argument Without End. Source notes are sometimes inaccurate.
Peter Scholl-Latour, Death in the Rice Fields. pb New York: Penguin, 1986. 383 pp. English translation of a 1979 book (Der tod im reisfeld: dreissig fahre krieg in Indochina) by a German journalist who was in Vietnam off and on from 1945 to the 1970s.
Robert D. Schulzinger, A Time for War: The United States and Vietnam, 19411975. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. xiii, 397 pp. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Robert Shaplen, The Lost Revolution: The U.S. in Vietnam, 19461966. New York: Harper & Row, 1965. xvi, 404 pp. Rev. ed. (pb) New York: Harper Colophon, 1966. xxii, 406 pp. Journalistic writing, excellent on Saigon politics, sometimes a bit naive about what was happening in the countryside. Chapter 3, "The Critical Period: 1947-1953" (pp. 55-99) has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Robert Shaplen, Time Out of Hand: Revolution and Reaction in Southeast Asia. New York: Harper & Row, 1969. x, 465 pp. Rev. ed. (pb) New York: Harper Colophon, 1970. x, 469 pp.
Robert Shaplen, The Road From War: Vietnam 19651971. New York: Harper & Row, 1970. 368 pp. Rev. ed. (pb) New York: Harper Colophon, 1971. 454 pp.
Robert Shaplen, Bitter Victory. New York: Harper & Row, 1986. 309 pp. Based on Shaplen's visit to Vietnam in 1985, but includes information about the war.
Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. New York: Random House, 1988. 861 pp. John Paul Vann first began to attract attention as an adviser to the ARVN 7th Division in the northern Mekong Delta in 1962, and was the senior US adviser for the whole of II Corps by the time he was killed in a helicopter crash in 1972. Sheehan uses Vann's career to illuminate the whole pattern of the US war in Vietnam. This book won the Pulitzer Prize, and very much deserved it. One of the best books ever written about the war. See also Marc Leepson (interviewer), "A Bright Shining Book", interview with Neil Sheehan, Veteran, January 1989.
Anthony Short, The Origins of the Vietnam War. London and New York: Longman, 1989. xvi, 347 pp. Runs up through Johnson's decision to escalate in 1965.
Ralph B. Smith, Communist Indochina. Routledge, 2008. 272 pp. Goes from the founding of the Indochinese Communist Party (1929-30) to the late 1970s.
Lester A. Sobel, ed., South Vietnam: U.S. - Communist Confrontation in Southeast Asia, 7 vols. New York: Facts on File 196673. Vol. 1, 196165, is careless in matters of detail; later volumes may be better.
Bruce O. Solheim, The Vietnam War Era: A Personal Journey. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2006. xlvii, 216 pp. A broad account of the war, plus an account of the Vietnam experiences of the author's brother, who served a tour in I Corps late in the war.
Jerold M. Starr, ed., The Lessons of the Vietnam War. Pittsburgh: Center for Social Studies Education, 1988. xi, 354 pp. A curriculum apparently aimed mainly at high schools. A lot of excerpts from documents.
A Study of Strategic Lessons Learned in Vietnam. McLean, VA: BDM Corporation, 1979-80. Written on contract for the U.S. Army. Large portions have been placed online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University. (What I believe are more complete versions can be purchased on microfilm and CD-ROM; see Microfilmed and CD-ROM Document Collections.)
Volume I: The Enemy
Volume II: South Vietnam
Volume III: US Foreign Policy and Vietnam 1945-1975
Volume IV: US Domestic Factors Influenceing Vietnam War Policy Making
Volume V: Planning the War:
Volume VI: Conduct of the War
Book 1: Operational Analyses
Book 2: Functional Analyses,
Volume VII: The Soldier
Executive Summary (pages VII-1 to VII-42
front matter and Chapters 1 (Socio-Economic Background, Personnel Policies, and the Individual Soldier), Chapter 2 (Training and Indoctrination), and Chapter 3 (Leadership and Ethics)
Chapters 4 (Morale and Discipline), Chapter 5 (Race Relations), Chapter 6 (Drug Abuse), Chapter 7 (Psychological Effects), and Bibliography
Volume VIII: The Results of the War
Cornelius D. Sullivan, et al., The Vietnam War: Its Conduct and Higher Direction. Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic Studies, Georgetown University, 1968. iv, 119 pp.
Col. Harry Summers, On Strategy: The Vietnam War in Context. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1982. xiv, 225 pp. (originally published by the U.S. Army War College).
Tam [Vu Van Cuong], Vietnam's War, 1940-1975: The Causes of French and American Failure in Vietnam. Lawrenceville, VA: Brunswick Publishing, 1983. ix, 371 pp. The author had been associated with, and devotes a significant part of this book to, Le Huu Tu, Bishop of Phat Diem.
Keith W. Taylor, A History of the Vietnamese. Cambridge University Press, 2013. xvi, 696 pp.
Thomas C. Thayer, War Without Fronts: The American Experience in Vietnam. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1985. xxvii, 276 pp. A systems analysis view of the war. Thayer studied the war first in Vietnam working for ARPA, and later in Washington working for the assistant secretary of defense for systems analysis. Numerous statistical tables.
Raymond Toinet, Une guerre de trente-cinq ans: Indochine - Vietnam (19401975). Paris: Lavauzelle, 1998. 543 pp.
Truong Vinh-Le, Vietnam: Ou est la verite? (Vietnam: Where is the Truth?). Paris: Lavauzelle, 1989. 325 pp. The author was President of the National Assembly under Ngo Dinh Diem, and was briefly Nguyen Cao Ky's running mate in the presidential election of 1971.
Spencer Tucker, Vietnam. University Press of Kentucky, 1999. ix, 244 pp.
William S. Turley, The Second Indochina War: A Short Political and Military History, 19541975. Boulder, Colorado: Westview, 1986. xvii, 238 pp. Very short but good, especially for its coverage of Communist policy decisions. Second edition: Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008. xxxiii, 301 pp.
The Vietnam Experience. Boston: Boston Publishing Company and Addison-Wesley. This heavily-illustrated series contains twenty-three volumes, some devoted to particular topics such as the air war, others to particular chronological sections of the war.
Vietnam War. A collection of 193 documents from various (mostly Chinese and Albanian, some U.S., Polish, and perhaps other) archives, mostly translated into English if the originals were not in English. The collection is online in the Digital Archive of the Woodrow Wilson Center.
The Vietnam War, 1945-1975. Spark Publishing, 2005. 80 pp. A SparkNotes study guide (written by Harvard students?). I have not seen the actual book (booklet?), but I glanced at the web version on May 15, 2006, and it did not look reliable. For example, it described a Viet Cong attack in February 1965 against "a U.S. Marine barracks at the South Vietnamese hamlet of Pleiku." Pleiku was not a hamlet, and there was no Marine barracks there. It says that the Tet Offensive involved simultaneous attacks on targets throughout South Vietnam on January 30, 1968. In fact, while attacks in some areas were launched prematurely on January 30, they did not occur in most areas until January 31. Its discussion of the Nixon administration's actions in Cambodia is remarkably inaccurate.
C. Dale Walton, The Myth of Inevitable U.S. Defeat in Vietnam. London: Frank Cass, 2002. xvi, 176 pp. Foreword by Walt W. Rostow.
James E. Westheider, The Vietnam War. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007. xxiv, 217 pp. Mostly deals with how the war was experienced by U.S. military personnel, but also covers the Vietnamese, on both sides, to some extent.
Sanford Wexler, The Vietnam War: An Eyewitness History. New York: Facts on File, 1992. xv, 393 pp. Supposed to be good.
What the People Should Know - II: Patterns of Communist Revolutionary Warfare. (Manila?): Headquarters Philippine Constabulary/Integrated National Police, 1984. 32 pp. A comparative study of Communist revolutionary warfare in the Philippines (pp. 7-12), Vietnam (pp. 12-22), Kampuchea (pp. 22-26), and Laos (pp. 26-29). The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Andrew Wiest, The Vietnam War, 19561975. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2002. 95 pp.
Justin Wintle, The Viet Nam Wars. New York: St. Martin's, 1991. xvi, 202 pp.
Mark R. Woodruff, Unheralded Victory: The Defeat of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army, 19611973. Arlington: Vandamere Press, 1999. 338 pp. I am not optimistic.
Marilyn B. Young, The Vietnam Wars, 19451990. New York: Harper Collins, 1991. xiii, 386 pp.
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Copyright © 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, Edwin E. Moise. This document may be reproduced only by permission. Revised May 7, 2014.