Best Defense

Hey, could you hook a blogger up with a military history of the Vietnam War?

I’ve started banging through Vietnam War books, and have been a surprised at how difficult it is to find a good military history of the war. I liked Guenter Lewy’s America in Vietnam, but it is, for the most part, a politico-diplomatic history, like the others, such as George C. Herring’s America’s Longest War. I ...

history.navy.mil
history.navy.mil

I’ve started banging through Vietnam War books, and have been a surprised at how difficult it is to find a good military history of the war. I liked Guenter Lewy’s America in Vietnam, but it is, for the most part, a politico-diplomatic history, like the others, such as George C. Herring’s America’s Longest War. I tried Shelby L. Stanton’s The Rise and Fall of an American Army: U.S. Ground Forces in Vietnam, 1965-1975, but thought it fell short of an overview of the war, even just on the ground. Most of the histories I’ve looked at focus more on decisions in Washington and coups in Saigon than on the actual conduct of the war. I want to understand how tactics changed, how leadership conceived the war at given points, what the patterns and trends were. What I would like to read is the Vietnam equivalent of Rick Atkinson‘s books about World War II, or perhaps Russell F. Weigley’s Eisenhower’s Lieutenants: The Campaigns of France and Germany, 1944-45. Any suggestions? Any votes for Dave Palmer’s Summons of the Trumpet, which I have ordered but haven’t yet read?

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. @tomricks1

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