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Vietnam by Rail

by Tess Read

Paperback - 320 pages (April 2001)

Seven Hills Book Distributors; ISBN: 1873756445 ; Dimensions (in inches):

The Colonial Bastille:
A History of Imprisonment in Vietnam, 1862-1940

by Peter Zinoman

Hardcover - 372 pages (February 5, 2001)

Univ California Press

Peter Zinoman's original and insightful study focuses on the colonial prison system in French Indochina and its role in fostering modern political consciousness among the Vietnamese. Using prison memoirs, newspaper articles, and extensive archival records, Zinoman presents a wealth of significant new information to document how colonial prisons, rather than quelling political dissent and maintaining order, instead became institutions that promoted nationalism and revolutionary education.

A Grand Delusion: America's Descent Into Vietnam

by Robert Mann


Hardcover 656 pages

A Grand Delusion is the first comprehensive single-volume American political history of the Vietnam War. Spanning the years 1945 to 1975, it is the definitive story of the well-meaning but often misguided American political leaders whose unquestioning adherence to Cold War dogma led the nation into its tragic misadventure in Vietnam. At the center of this narrative are seven such men-Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, J. William Fulbright, Mike Mansfield, and George McGovern. During their careers, each occupied center-stage in the nation's debate over Vietnam policy.

Mann focuses in particular on the role played by leading members of Congress, including senators' Mansfield and Kennedy's shaping of American policy toward Vietnam in the 1950s; Congress's acquiescence in the 1950s to the Eisenhower administration's support of the American-backed Diem government; and the blank check that Congress gave to Lyndon Johnson with the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

Mann considers as well the evolution of opposition to the war, including pivotal hearings conducted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1966 to 1968; the small band of war opponents led by senators Fulbright, McGovern, and Wayne Morse; Mansfield's quiet-but-persistent lobbying campaign to dissuade his friend Lyndon Johnson from escalating the war in 1965; the bitter political feud that erupted between Fulbright and Johnson-erstwhile friends-over the war; McGovern and Hatfield's determined effort to force Richard Nixon to withdraw American forces from Vietnam; and Congress's assertion of its Constitutional role in war making in the early 1970s, culminating in the passage of the War Powers resolution in 1973.

In addition to being a piercing analysis of the political currents that resulted in and eventually ended the war, A Grand Delusion is an epic tragedy filled with fascinating characters and a keen reflection on the antagonisms and beliefs that divided the nation during those tumultuous years.

Ho Chi Minh

by William J. Duiker


Hardcover - 704 pages
(September 27, 2000)


Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969) fought for half a century to free Vietnam from foreign domination, and the story of his life illuminates the ongoing struggle between colonialism and nationalism that still shapes world history. William J. Duiker, who served in Saigon's U.S. embassy during the Vietnam War, spent 30 years delving into Vietnamese and European archives, as well as interviewing Minh's surviving colleagues, in order to write this definitive biography. The son of a civil servant from a traditionally rebellious province, the future president of North Vietnam was known for more than 20 years as Nguyen That Thanh. It was under this name that he founded the Vietnamese Communist Party, having concluded after reading Lenin's analysis of imperialism that revolutionary Marxism was the most effective tool to achieve Vietnam's independence. He spent 30 years in exile, cementing his communist ties in Moscow and working with Vietnamese rebels from a base in China, before assuming the name Ho Chi Minh in 1942, when the forces unleashed by World War II seemed to be clearing the way for Vietnamese liberation. French intransigence and American anti-communism would delay the emergence of an independent, united Vietnam for another 30 years, but Ho became an icon who inspired the communist North and the Southern Vietcong to keep fighting. Focusing almost exclusively on political events and ideological debates, Duiker depicts Ho as a nationalist first and foremost, but also as a convinced (though pragmatic) Marxist who believed socialism would help his country modernize and correct ancient inequities. This long, very detailed biography is not for the casual reader, but anyone with a serious interest in modern history will relish a dense narrative that fully conveys the complexities of the man and the issues with which he grappled.

Vietnam 1945 : The Quest for Power

by David G. Marr


Paperback - (November 1997) 587 pages



1945: the most significant year in the modern history of Vietnam. One thousand years of dynastic politics and monarchist ideology came to an end. Eight decades of French rule lay shattered. Five years of Japanese military occupation ceased. Allied leaders determined that Chinese troops in the north of Indochina and British troops in the South would receive the Japanese surrender. Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, with himself as president. Drawing on extensive archival research, interviews, and an examination of published memoirs and documents, David G. Marr has written a richly detailed and descriptive analysis of this crucial moment in Vietnamese history. He shows how Vietnam became a vortex of intense international and domestic competition for power, and how actions in Washington and Paris, as well as Saigon, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh's mountain headquarters, interacted and clashed, often with surprising results. Marr's book probes the ways in which war and revolution sustain each other, tracing a process that will interest political scientists and sociologists as well as historians and Southeast Asia specialists.

About the Author

David G. Marr is Senior Fellow at the Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University. He is the author of Vietnamese Anticolonialism, 1885-1925 (California, 1971) and Vietnamese Tradition on Trial, 1920-1945 (California, 1981)

Vietnamese Tradition on Trial 1920-1945

by David G. Marr


Paperback - 450 pages Reprint edition (February 1984)

Univ California Press

Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam

by Fredrik Logevall



Hardcover - (July 30, 1999) 557 pages

In one of the most detailed and powerfully argued books pub-lished on American intervention in Vietnam, Fredrik Logevall examines the last great unanswered question on the war: could the tragedy have been averted? His answer: a resounding yes. Challenging the prevailing myth that the outbreak of large-scale fighting in 1965 was essentially unavoidable, Choosing War argues that the Vietnam War was unnecessary, not merely in hindsight but in the context of its time.

Why, then, did major war break out? Logevall shows it was partly because of the timidity of the key opponents of U.S. involvement, and partly because of the staunch opposition of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations to early negotiations. His superlative account shows that U.S. officials chose war over disengagement despite deep doubts about the war's prospects and about Vietnam's importance to U.S. security and over the opposition of important voices in the Congress, in the press, and in the world community. They did so because of concerns about credibility--not so much America's or the Democratic party's credibility, but their own personal credibility.

Based on six years of painstaking research, this book is the first to place American policymaking on Vietnam in 1963-65 in its wider international context using multiarchival sources, many of them recently declassified. Here we see for the first time how the war played in the key world capitals--not merely in Washington, Saigon, and Hanoi, but also in Paris and London, in Tokyo and Ottawa, in Moscow and Beijing.

Choosing War is a powerful and devastating account of fear, favor, and hypocrisy at the highest echelons of American government, a book that will change forever our understanding of the tragedy that was the Vietnam War.

The Forgotten Hero of My Lai : The Hugh Thompson Story

by Trent Angers

"Thank you for making me proud to be an American.... I remember the My Lai massacre all too vividly, and I remember the trial, but unfortunately, the part of it all that represents what this country stands for was left untold until now."
John Aiken Irmo, S.C.

"Your heroism in the face of that terrific evil has renewed my faith in mankind... Thank you also for showing all of us that man can perform moral and courageous deeds even if threatened by terrible and evil danger. You have given us all an inspiring lesson in how to live."
Jim Gustin Bridgewater, Conn.

Letters such as these began arriving in Hugh Thompson's mailbox in March of 1998, shortly after the American public learned of his heroic actions as a U.S. soldier in Vietnam some 30 years earlier. People all over the world had heard the dark and horrible side of the story of the My Lai massacre, in which some 500 women, children, babies and old men had been slaughtered by out-of-control U.S. ground troops in March of 1968. But they had never heard the part about how Hugh Thompson and his crew set their helicopter down in the midst of the madness and risked their lives to save nine unarmed civilians from a sure death. Nor were they aware that it was Thompson's loud and angry protest over the airwaves that brought about the cease-fire that put an end to the massacre. Had it not been for this singular act of courage and compassion on the part of Thompson and his crew, many more South Vietnamese civilians would have died.

In a startling revelation, the author points out My Lai was only the starting point of the search-and-destroy mission designed to rid the area of Viet Cong and suspected Viet Cong sympathizers. The target area included six different communities with a total population of 10,000 people, mostly civilians. The Forgotten Hero of My Lai is the true story of a U.S. Army helicopter pilot who resisted the incredible peer pressure to go along with the butchers of My Lai, or at least to look the other way while his fellow soldiers committed horrific war crimes. The book explains where Thompson got the moral courage to do what he did at My Lai. This biography traces Thompson's life from his birth in Atlanta in 1943, through his adolescence in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and his 20 years in the U.S. military. It provides a detailed account of the stress-filled role he played as a key witness for the prosecution in the My Lai massacre trials despite pressure from fellow soldiers and others to be silent. The old adage is true: Evil prevails when good men do nothing. And the converse is equally true: Evil is defeated when people of courage and goodwill stand up for what is right, regardless of the consequences. This book is about one such person, and the two honorable men who stood with him.

A Better War : The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam

by Lewis Sorley


Paperback - (September 2000) 528 pages

There was a moment when the United States had the Vietnam War wrapped up, writes military historian Lewis Sorley (biographer of two Vietnam-era U.S. Army generals, Creighton Abrams and Harold Johnson). "The fighting wasn't over, but the war was won," he says in this convention-shaking book. "This achievement can probably best be dated in late 1970." South Vietnam was ready to carry on the battle without American ground troops and only logistical and financial support. Sorley says that replacing General Westmoreland with Abrams in 1968 was the key. "The tactics changed within fifteen minutes of Abrams's taking command," remarked one officer. Abrams switched the war aims from destruction to control; he was less interested in counting enemy body bags than in securing South Vietnam's villages.

A Better War is unique among histories of the Vietnam War in that it focuses on the second half of the conflict, roughly from Abrams's arrival to the fall of Saigon in 1975. Other volumes, such as Stanley Karnow's Vietnam and Neil Sheehan's A Bright Shining Lie, tend to give short shrift to this period. Sorley shows how the often-overlooked Abrams strategy nearly succeeded--indeed, Sorley says it did succeed, at least until political leadership in the United States let victory slip away. Sorley cites other problems, too, such as low morale among troops in the field, plus the harmful effects of drug abuse, racial disharmony, and poor discipline. In the end, the mighty willpower of Abrams and diplomatic allies Ellsworth Bunker and William Colby was not enough. But, with its strong case that they came pretty close to winning, A Better War is sure to spark controversy. --John J. Miller -

Imagining Vietnam and America : The Making of Postcolonial Vietnam, 1919-1950 (The New Cold War History)

by Mark Philip Bradley, John Lewis Gaddis

In this study of the encounter between Vietnam and the United States from 1919 to 1950, Mark Bradley fundamentally reconceptualizes the origins of the Cold War in Vietnam and the place of postcolonial Vietnam in the history of the twentieth century. Among the first Americans granted a visa to undertake research in Vietnam since the war, Bradley draws on newly available Vietnamese-language primary sources and interviews as well as archival materials from France, Great Britain, and the United States.

Bradley uses these sources to reveal an imagined America that occupied a central place in Vietnamese political discourse, symbolizing the qualities that revolutionaries believed were critical for reshaping their society. American policymakers, he argues, articulated their own imagined Vietnam, a deprecating vision informed by the conviction that the country should be remade in America's image.

Contrary to other historians, who focus on the Soviet-American rivalry and ignore the policies and perceptions of Vietnamese actors, Bradley contends that the global discourse and practices of colonialism, race, modernism, and postcolonial state-making were profoundly implicated in--and ultimately transcended--the dynamics of the Cold War in shaping Vietnamese-American relations.

The Girl in the Picture : The Story of Kim Phuc, the Photographer and the Vietnam War

by Denise Chong


Hardcover - 373 pages


When Nick Ut photographed 9-year-old Kim Phuc running down a road, her body aflame with napalm, he turned a terrified girl into a living symbol of the Vietnam War's horror. Even after the war, the North Vietnamese government made the severely scarred Kim a reluctant poster girl for American atrocities. Although her parents, once relatively prosperous South Vietnamese peasants, were reduced to dire poverty when the state took over her mother's noodle shop, Kim was allowed to receive further medical treatment in Germany, to visit the Soviet Union, and to attend the University of Havana. These privileges did not assuage her spiritual turmoil: Why had she been singled out for fame when so many others suffered and died? Searching for answers, Kim converted to Christianity and in 1992 defected with her husband to Canada, where they now live with their two sons. Canadian author Denise Chong's sensitive biography, which doubles as a fascinating social history of Vietnam during and after the war, captures Kim as a complex woman of powerful religious faith: "It was the fire of bombs that burned my body. It was the skill of doctors that mended my skin. But it took the power of God's love to heal my heart."

The Mekong : Turbulent Past, Uncertain Future

by Milton Osborne

Hardcover - 320 pages (May 2000)

The Mekong River runs over a course of 2,000 miles, beginning in the mountains of Tibet and flowing through the countries of China, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam before emptying into the China Sea. Its waters are the lifeblood of Southeast Asia and first begot a civilization along the fertile banks of its delta region nearly two millennia ago. Now world-renowned Southeast Asia expert Milton Osborne tells the story of the peoples and cultures of the Mekong River from these obscure beginnings through the emergence of the independent nations of today. It is the story of the rise and fall of empires, of colonization and liberation, and of a struggle for peace and prosperity that continues into the present. Drawing on a wealth of research material gathered over forty years of studying the region, Osborne creates a narrative that traces the history of the peoples of the Mekong through the development of the great Cambodian empire in the ninth century, the advent of European explorers and missionaries, and the French wars of colonization. He details the struggle for liberation during a century in which Southeast Asia has seen almost constant conflict, including two world wars, the Indochina War, and the Vietnam War, with its bloody aftermath in Cambodia. Along the way, Osborne brings to life the individuals who witnessed and shaped the course of events along the great river. Vibrant, insightful, and eminently readable, The Mekong is a rousing history of a dynamic region that has fascinated readers the world over.

  China and the Vietnam Wars,

(The New Cold War History)

by Qiang Zhai

Mr. Zhai's contribution to Cold War history is a worthy addition to any CW buff's collection, since China's role in the conflict has always been a mix of "Yellow Peril" paranoia, rumor and biased commentary. It is a sound summary of the initially cozy, then increasingly frosty relations between the two communist Asian nations. However, being familiar with many of the observations made in this book from other sources, I was hoping for a more cogent analysis of the synergy between the radicalization of Mao's vision of perpetual revolution and the Indochinese wars. For example, did the Cultural Revolution hinder or help the Vietnamese, and what were their perceptions? Did China encourage Pol Pot's intransigence vis-a-vis Hanoi because of ideological affinity or just plain spite? How did the Ussuri River clashes affect the Soviet supply link to Hanoi? This is a good volume for factual summary of the events, but a more profound reading of the new archival sources needs to follow.

Spies and Commandos : How America Lost the Secret War in North Vietnam (Modern War Studies)

by Kenneth J. Conboy, Dale Andrade

During the Vietnam war, the U.S. sought to undermine Hanoi's subversion of the Saigon regime by sending Vietnamese operatives behind enemy lines. A secret to most Americans, this covert operation was far from secret in Hanoi:...

The Secret War Against Hanoi : Kennedy and Johnson's Use of Spies, Saboteurs, and Covert Warriors in North Vietnam

by Richard H., Jr Shultz


The Secret War Against Hanoi documents American covert actions in Vietnam, beginning in 1961 when John F. Kennedy decided that if Hanoi could wage a guerilla war against the South, the U.S. could do the same in the North. Dissatisfied with the CIA's initial results, Kennedy passed responsibility for covert operations to the Pentagon--which never fully supported them. For example, in an interview for this book, General Westmoreland, Commander of American forces in Vietnam, vastly underestimated the imaginative ways in which underground activities could destabilize an enemy. American covert action focused on disrupting two vital "centers of gravity": the North's own internal stability and the Ho Chi Minh Trail that ran through Laos and Cambodia. Such activities ran counter to the Geneva Accords, however, and nervous diplomats placed them under severe constraints. Permission always had to be obtained from the top, which after 1964 meant an excessively cautious President Johnson, concerned that China would be goaded into intervening openly in Vietnam as it had in Korea. The creative thinking that went into America's secret exploits reads like a racy novel, from the adroit brainwashing and release of captured fishermen to the fabrication of a phantom secret society based on a 15th-century anti-Chinese hero, plus innumerable nasty booby traps. Author Richard H. Shultz has had unusual access to prominent protagonists and to thousands of classified documents made available only to him while he researched this book. The Secret War Against Hanoi clearly lays out what was achieved and what might have been achieved by covert action in Vietnam, ending with a thoughtful analysis of lessons learned for future politicians and operatives in a post-cold war world. --John Stevenson

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Law of the Sea : An Analysis of Vietnamese Behavior Within the Emerging International Oceans Regime

by Epsey Cooke Farrell

he Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Law of the Sea analyzes Vietnam's law of the sea policies in relation to the country's overall foreign policy goals and its position at the center of the South China Sea geostrategic region. Vietnam's claims in zones of maritime jurisdiction and regulation of maritime activities are examined in the context of the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and of Vietnam's security interests, economic development and regional leadership goals. Its maritime boundary disputes with its Southeast Asian neighbors and China are examined and their impact on regional stability assessed. This is the first comprehensive study that traces the evolution of Vietnamese policy and participation in law of the sea development from the 1958 First U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea to the present. The book provides the background essential to an understanding of Vietnam's current maritime relations and of the challenge to incorporate Vietnam into a stable regional order. The book is particularly valuable to law of the sea specialists, Southeast Asia area specialists and those interested in the development of Vietnam's hydrocarbon and fishery resources.

Orders, Decorations and Badges of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam : And the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam

by Edward J. Emering

The Orders and Decorations of the "enemy" during the Vietnam War have remained shrouded in mystery for many years. References to them are scarce and interrogations of captives during the war often led to the proliferation of misinformation concerning them. To confuse the situation even more, these awards were bestowed by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV), known then as the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV), and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF), and a myriad of political and local organizations. Covered ar those Orders and Decorations now considered official by the SRV, as well as many of the obsolete awards bestowed by the DRV and the NLF. It also discusses many of the commemorative, political and local awards. Includes value guide.

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