Front cover image for Vietnam : the history of an unwinnable war, 1945-1975

Vietnam : the history of an unwinnable war, 1945-1975

John Prados (Author)
The Vietnam war continues to be the focus of intense controversy. While most people, liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, historians, pundits, and citizens alike, agree that the United States did not win the war, a vocal minority argue the opposite or debate why victory never came, attributing the quagmire to everything from domestic politics to the press. The military never lost a battle; how then did it not win the war? Stepping back from this overheated fray and drawing upon several decades of research the author takes a fresh look at both the war and the debates about it to produce a reassessment of one of our nation's most tragic episodes. He weaves together multiple perspectives across an epic-sized canvas where domestic politics, ideologies, nations, and militaries all collide. He patiently pieces back together the events and moments, from the end of World War II until our dispiriting departure from Vietnam in 1975, that reveal a war that now appears to have been truly unwinnable due to opportunities lost, missed, ignored, or refused. He shows how, from the Truman through the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations, American leaders consistently ignored or misunderstood the realities in Southeast Asia and passed up every opportunity to avoid war in the first place or avoid becoming ever more mired in it after it began. Highlighting especially Eisenhower's seminal and long-lasting influence on our Vietnam policy, he demonstrates how and why our range of choices narrowed with each passing year, while our decision making continued to be distorted by Cold War politics and fundamental misperceptions about the culture, psychology, goals, and abilities of both our enemies and our allies in Vietnam
Print Book, English, 2009
University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, 2009
xxvii, 665 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
9780700616343, 9780700619405, 0700616349, 0700619402
April 1971 : veterans at war
A splendid little war
March-July 1954: Dien Bien Phu, Geneva, and the harnessing of American power
Many roads to quagmire (1954-1960)
Loose the fateful lightning (1961-1964)
August 1964: the last mystery of the Tonkin Gulf
Burnished rows of steel (1964-1965)
A hundred circling camps (1965-1967)
Trampling out the vintage (1967)
January-May 1968 : Tet Mau Than
Terrible swift sword (1968-1969)
Crush the serpent under heel (1969)
Dim and flaring lamps (1969-1971)
Die to make men free (1970)
Sound forth the trumpet (1971)
Evening dews and damps (1971-1972)
Sifting out the hearts of men (1972)
The truth comes marching home Additional Information at Google Books