Vietnam: A History

Vietnam: A History

by Stanley Karnow


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"A landmark work...The most complete account to date of the Vietnam tragedy." -The Washington Post Book World

This monumental narrative clarifies, analyzes, and demystifies the tragic ordeal of the Vietnam war. Free of ideological bias, profound in its undertsanding, and compassionate in its human portrayls , it is filled with fresh revelations drawn from secret documents and from exclusive interviews with participants-French, American, Vietnamese, Chinese: diplomats, military commanders, high government officials, journalists, nurses, workers, and soldiers. Originally published a companion to the Emmy-winning PBS series, Karnow's defining book is a precursor to Ken Burns's ten-part forthcoming documentary series, The Vietnam WarVietnam: A History puts events and decisions into such sharp focus that we come to understand - and make peace with - a convulsive epoch of our recent history.

"This is history writing at its best." -Chicago Sun-Times

"Even those of us who think we know something about it will read with fascination." -The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140265477
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/28/1997
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 784
Sales rank: 252,505
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.18(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Stanley Karnow (1925-2013) is the author of, among other books, the bestselling Vietnam: A History and the Pulitzer Prize-winning In Our Image: America and the Philippines.

Table of Contents

1. The War Nobody Won
2. Piety and Power
3. The Heritage of Vietnamese Nationalism
4. The War with the French
5. The Light that Failed
6. America's Mandarin
7. Vietnam Is the Place
8. The End of Diem
9. The Commitments Deepen
10. Disorder and Decision
11. LBJ Goes to War
12. Escalation
13. Debate, Diplomacy, Doubt
14. Tet
15. Nixon's War
16. The Peace that Never Was

Cast of Principal Characters
Notes on Sources
Photo Credits

Photographs appear at the opening of each chapter.Maps appear on pages 114, 123, 219, 349, 537, 677.

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Vietnam: A History 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What I thought I knew about the Vietnam War and our politicians of that era I found I knew nothing after reading this monumental piece of historical work. How deceitful our elected officials and military personnel can be you will learn by reading this book. Although the book is long in pages, it is short in reading as it is so very interesting. We Americans know and suffer for our lost children sent into the Vietnam War but what of the Vietnam people during this war? You will learn of their suffering for all they have lost throughout their own history. The author writes very objectively without taking political or nationalistic sides which makes this book so worthwhile. This book should be required reading in all high schools. I will be reading it again. Buy it. You will feel different forever.
Borg-mx5 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An extensive and intelligent history of the Vietnam. Chapters are devoted to almost every aspect of the war from origins to the bitter end.
JustMe869 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The definitive text on the Viet Nam war.
wildbill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was looking forward to reading this book and was a little disappointed. The coverage of the background to the American War and the politics of the war were very well done. I was looking for the military history of the war and did not feel that subject was covered well.I grew up in The Vietnam era and have a fair knowledge of the subject. I also enjoyed The Best and the Brightest which provided a good coverage of the American political situation.This book had some excellent interviews and other information from the North Vietnamese side. The author did a good job of being objective as possible. It is a good one-volume narrative of the major issues presented by the war. The military history is not very detailed and I was looking for more explanation of what happened in that area. I would recommend this book as an introduction to the war but I am going to have to look elsewhere for a good military history.
MattGorzalski on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is another history written by a journalist who was covering the war while actually stationed in Vietnam, thus giving him a unique insight as opposed to a historian looking back years later. What I like most is that the author has maintained relationships with the Vietnamese military leaders he interviewed while in Southeast Asia, using more recent interviews from the 1990s of the same leaders to provide an additional historical angle in retrospect. The book covers the roots of Vietnamese nationalism throughout its long history, then the war with the French, all the while showing how the US slowly became entagled in the Vietnam quagmire. One interesting tidbit I learned was how much LBJ disliked Robert Kennedy. The first chapter reads more like a last chapter in that it looks back at what has happened in Vietnam since the war ended. But it is an excellent way to begin the book because it asks the question, whether intentionally or not, just who won and was it worth the cost?
EugeneTX More than 1 year ago
This book is simply magnificent It starts with APLAN 34A activities at the earliest time and clearly indicates that the CIA and Seals were engaged in "clandestine" activities not yer aapproved by the President. I question the use of the term clandestine when it is clear rhar once a physical attack occurs and the first shots are fired, you are compromised. It is also clear that if you physically attck a communications site that again any cover you had devised was rendered worthless, Anyway, this is the lead un to the war rgar costs 58,000 of our men and we still lost the was. Why did we lose, I suggest faulty tactics in which we would fight for a hill, take it and secure it, leave it in three weeks and it would be reoccupied again so we would go back and take it again and repeat the process. Anyway, tfis is truly a great book, probably the very best on the subject deserves to be read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are interested in politics and/or history this is a MUST read...What I thought I knew about the Vietnam War and our politicians at that time, I knew not. This book is written without taking any political or nationalistic side but is written strictly as an historical reading and a monumental piece of writing it is! You will learn so much more about Lyndon Johnson, McNamara, Westmoreland,Rostow, Nixon, Kissinger, and all the other politicians and military experts of this time that led so many of our children to war, not to mention the killing of uncountable innocent lives of the Vietnamese people. I am going to read it again. Read it, you will be a better person from it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Truly a masterpiece. Although it is over 700 pages, don't let that stop you. There is so much that you will learn about Vietnam, the Vietnam war, LBJ, McNamara, Nixon,Kissinger,and many others who knowingly and ignorantly sent our youth to their deaths including the killing of so many innocent Vietnamese people. But this book isn't just about the Vietnam War. It is a learning experience of deceiptful politicians and back room Whitehouse scheming to defraud the public. This should be required reading in all higher educational institutions. I cannot recommend a more informative historical book that is also so interesting to read. Buy it...Read it... you will be a better person for it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Vietnam: A history is an incredible book that shows everyone the unbiased truth of the Vietnam War. The book is written in a neutral way which does not make you feel at all uncomfortable due to how the author writes. The book spans a very important era in Vietnam's history, from the process of independance from French colonialism to the fall of South Vietnam. Although the book is 768 pages long, every part of it is filled with enrapturing text and riveting pictures. The book is very satisfying all in all. Although it is very old, The information has been has been updated by the author, and so all the inaccuracies have been fixed. All in all, Vietnam: a History is a piece of art in the literature world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Documents allied failures in the war but skims over communist failures and atrocities. Not at all a balanced account.
Guest More than 1 year ago
All this book talks about is the time frame from 1954-75, which we all learned as high school juniors anyway.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To a South Vietnamese civilian that lived through the event, this book recounts a great deal of fact and at the same time omitts a greater amount of important historical event. Too much atrocity committed by Ho and his army is left untold. Also, the author does not seem to know the different between words and action and failed to understand the mindset of communist leaders. Do not get this book if you want to truly comprehence the Vietnam War.