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Recent Books on the Vietnam War in the CMU Collection
While the Vietnam War is thought of as a conflict that began in the early 1960s, the United States was involved in Vietnam from 1945 to 1975. During the course of the war, nearly 60,000 Americans were killed. The events of the Vietnam War set off a firestorm of protest at home that shook the foundations of the country and forever changed the character of our nation. Vietnam War: The Essential Reference Guide provides a compendium of the key people, places, organizations, treaties, and events that make up the history of the war, explaining its causes, how it was conducted, and its far-reaching consequences. Written by recognized authorities, this ready-reference volume provides essential information all in one place and includes a comprehensive list of additional sources for further study. The work presents a detailed chronology that outlines the numerous battles and campaigns throughout the war, such as the Tet Offensive, the Battle of Hamburger Hill, Operation Rolling Thunder, and the Battle of Hue. Biographies on Lyndon Johnson, William Westmoreland, Robert McNamara, Ngo Dinh Diem, and other major political figures and military leaders provide insight into the individuals who played key roles in the conflict, while primary source documents such as President Nixon's speech on Vietnamization provide invaluable historical context. Book jacket.
America's experience in Vietnam continues to figure prominently in debates over strategy and defense and within the discourse on the identity of the United States as a nation. Through fifteen essays rooted in recent scholarship, The Columbia History of the Vietnam War is a chronological and critical collective history central to any discussion of America's interests abroad. David Anderson opens with an essay on the Vietnam War's major themes and enduring relevance. Mark Philip Bradley (University of Chicago) reexamines the rise of Vietnamese revolutionary nationalism and the Vietminh-led war against French colonialism. Richard Immerman (Temple University) revisits Eisenhower's and Kennedy's efforts at nation-building in South Vietnam. Gary Hess (Bowling Green State University) reviews America's military commitment under Kennedy and Johnson, and Lloyd Gardner (Rutgers University) investigates the motivations behind Johnson's escalation of force. Robert McMahon (Ohio State University) focuses on the pivotal period before and after the Tet Offensive, and Jeffrey Kimball (Miami University) makes sense of Nixon's paradoxical decision to end U.S. intervention while pursuing a destructive air war. John Prados (National Security Archive) and Eric Bergerud (Naval Postgraduate School) devote their essays to America's military strategy. Helen Anderson (California State University, Monterey Bay) and Robert Brigham (Vassar College) explore the war's impact on Vietnamese women and urban culture. Melvin Small (Wayne State University) recounts the domestic tensions created by America's involvement in Vietnam, and Kenton Clymer (Northern Illinois University) follows the spread of the war to Laos and Cambodia. Concluding essays by Robert Schulzinger (University of Colorado) and George Herring (University of Kentucky) trace the legacy of the war within Vietnamese and American contexts and diagnose the symptoms of the "Vietnam Syndrome" evident in later U.S. foreign policy debates.
For many Westerners, the Vietnam War summons images of American soldiers patrolling rice paddies, battling an elusive enemy as helicopters circle overhead. But there were, in fact, many Vietnam wars--an anti-colonial war with France, a cold war turned hot with the United States, a civil war between North and South Vietnam and among southern Vietnamese, a revolutionary war of ideas over the vision that should guide Vietnamese society into the postcolonial future, and a postwar war of memory. This book explores the complex ways in which the Vietnamese themselves have made sense of those conflicts. Drawing upon the author's twenty years of research--much of it made possible by recently opened Vietnamese archives and other sources--Vietnam at War departs sharply from prevailing narratives in the West that have made the Vietnamese almost invisible in the making of their own history. Mark Philip Bradley not only probes the thought and actions of high policy makers in Hanoi and Saigon but also explores how northerners and southerners, men and women, soldiers and civilians, urban elites and rural peasants, and radicals and conservatives came to understand the thirty years of war that enfolded them and how they reckoned with its aftermath. He sets these experiences within a wider global context by examining the place of the United States, France, the Soviet Union, and China in Vietnamese histories of the war. Today, as Vietnamese civil society becomes increasingly heterodox and the Vietnamese state seeks to develop a market economy while maintaining its commitment to socialism, the meanings of the conflicts that shaped so much of the country's recent history remain deeply contested. Vietnam at War is essential reading for anyone who seeks a clearer understanding of the paradoxes and tensions that underlie the Vietnam experience to this day.
Making sense of the wars for Vietnam has had a long history. The question "why Vietnam?" dominated American and Vietnamese political life for much of the length of the Vietnam wars and has continued to be asked in the three decades since they ended. The essays in this inaugural volume of theNational History Center's book series "Reinterpreting History" examine the conceptual and methodological shifts that mark the contested terrain of Vietnam war scholarship. They range top-down reconsiderations of critical decision-making moments in Washington, Hanoi, and Saigon to microhistories ofthe war that explore its meanings from the bottom up. Some draw on recently available Vietnamese-language archival materials. Others mine new primary sources in the United States or France, Great Britain, the former Soviet Union, China, and Eastern Europe. Collectively, these essays map theinterpretive histories of the Vietnam wars: past, present, and future. They also raise questions about larger meanings and the ongoing relevance of the wars for Vietnam in American, Vietnamese, and international histories of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
The Vietnam War remains a topic of extraordinary interest, especially in light of the invasion of Iraq. In The Vietnam War, Mark Lawrence offers readers a superb short account of this key moment in U.S. as well as world history, based on the latest European and American research and on newly opened archives in China, Russia, and Vietnam. While focusing on the American involvement from 1965 to 1975, Lawrence offers an unprecedentedly complete picture of all sides of the war, drawing on now available communist records to capture the complicated brew of motivations that drove the other side. Moreover, the book reaches back well before American forces set foot in Vietnam, describing for instance how French colonialism sparked the 1945 Vietnamese revolution, and revealing how the Cold War concerns of the 1950s warped Washington's perception of Vietnam, leading the United States to back the French and eventually become involved on the ground itself. Of course, the heartof the book is the "American war," ranging from the overthrow of Ngo Dinh Diem to the impact of the Tet Offensive on the political situation in the US, Johnson's withdrawal from the 1968 presidential race, Nixon's expansion of the war into Cambodia and Laos, and the final peace agreement of 1973, which ended American military involvement. Finally, the book examines the aftermath of the war, from the momentous liberalization--"Doi Moi"--in Vietnam that began in 1986, to the enduring legacy of the war in American books, films, and political debate. A quick and reliable primer on an intensely relevant topic, this well researched and engaging volume offers an invaluable overview of the Vietnam War.