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A Vietnam reading list (part 2)

see the index in part 1

Section I. Historical and Social Science Analysis

A. General Works

Baritz, Loren. Backfire : A History of How American Culture Led Us Into Vietnam and Made Us Fight the Way We Did. New York: Morrow, 1985.

Gelb, Leslie H. with Richard K. Betts. The Irony of Vietnam : The System Worked. Washington: The Brookings Institution, 1979.

Gibson, James. The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam. Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986; New York: Vintage, 1988.

Karnow, Stanley. Vietnam: A History. New York: Viking, 1983; revised edition, New York: Penguin USA, 1991.
*CORE* A massive history by a journalist written as a companion to the PBS series (Vietnam : A Television History). Much of the volume concentrates on the American involvement, although there is a useful discussion of earlier history and the First Indochina War. The work is generally unbiased, and reflects Karnow's access to many of the major figures involved. The original edition (1983) contains some errors which were corrected in the 1984 paperback edition.

Kolko, Gabriel. Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience. New York: Pantheon, 1985; reprint, New Press, 1994.

Pratt, John Clark, comp. Vietnam Voices: Perspectives on the War Years, 1941-1982. New York: Penguin, 1984.
This is a highly recommended and somewhat usual work. Pratt has collected everything from official documents to oral history to fiction to wall graffiti in order to shed some light on the cultural impact of the American involvement in the Vietnam War.

Sheehan, Neil. A Shining Bright Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. New York: Random House, 1988; Vintage, 1989.
*CORE* Major study of the US involvement in Vietnam, traced through the actions of a man who became both one of the most senior advisors and strategist and critics of the way the war was waged, John Paul Vann. Sheehan was an Army journalist prior to the war, and covered Vietnam first for UPI, then for the NY Times.

Westmoreland, General William. A Soldier Reports. New York: Doubleday, 1976; reprint, New York: Da Capo Press, 1989. Young, Marilyn B. The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990. New York: Harper Collins, 1991.

B. The French War: World War II to the Geneva Accords.

Fall, Bernard. Hell in a Very Small Place: The Seige of Dien Bien Phu. Philadelphia: J.J. Lippincott Company, 1967; reprint, New York: Da Capo Press, 1988.
Compelling account of the climatic battle of the First Indochina War, the long and deadly seige of the French stronghold at Dien Bien Phu by the Viet Minh.

Fall, Bernard. Street Without Joy. With an Introduction by George C. Herring and a Foreword by Marshall Andrews. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1961; reprint, Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1994.
*CORE* Reprint by the original publisher of the classic account of the First Indochina War against the French. This edition contains a new introduction by Geoge Herring. The title is derived from the nickname for Highway 1 which runs north-south the lenght of Vietnam along the coastal plain.

Marr, David G. Vietnam 1945 : The Quest For Power. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.
*CORE* A key study by one of the top writers in English about the pivotal period at the end of the Second World War and the struggle for political ascendency.

Patti, Archimedes. Why Vietnam: Prelude to America's Albatross. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980.
*CORE* Patti served as the head of the Office of Stragetic Services French Indochina mission during WWII. His account deals with the US - Viet Minh cooperation during the war against the Japanese, the relationships with the KMT, and the aftermath of the change in US policies under Truman with regard to Vietnam.

Rotter, Andrew J. The Path to Vietnam: Origins of the American Commitment to Southeast Asia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987.

Spector, Ronald. Advice and Support: The Early Years, 1941-1960. The United States Army in Vietnam. Washington: Center of Military History, 1983.

C. Geneva to the American Combat Involvement in Vietnam (1954 - 1965)

Moise, Edwin E. Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the War. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.

Race, Jeffrey. War Comes to Long An: Revolutionary Conflict in a Vietnamese Province. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972.
*CORE* The author served in the US Army as a district advisor, and later return as a private citizen to attempt to analyse the political and social processes that he believed were not explained by the conventional military analysis of the conflict. The resultant work is a deeply insightful analysis into the contested social realities of the war and the success of the VCP in Long An Province (just southwest of Saigon in the Mekong Delta). This is an extreme important study which focuses on the war as a social revolution as well as a military contest.

Thayer, Carlyle A. War by Other Means : National Liberation and Revolution in Viet-Nam, 1954-60. Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1989.
*CORE* Thayer presents a systematic and precise account of the formation and implementation of communist policy in Vietnam between the Geneva Accords and the establishment of the National Liberation Front (NLF) in 1960, the transtional period between the First and Second Indochina Wars.

D. Period of US Ground Combat (1965 - 1972)

Berger, Carl, ed. The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973. Rev ed. Originally published 1973. Washington: Office of Air Force History and U.S. Government Printing Office, 1984.

Bergerud, Eric M. Red Thunder, Tropic Lightning: The World of a Combat Division in Vietnam. Boulder: Westview, 1993; New York: Penguin USA, 1994.
A study of the 25th Division with a significant portion of the book being oral history.

Clarke, Jeffrey J. Advice and Support : The Final Years, 1965- 1973. The United States Army in Vietnam. Washington: Center of Military History, 1988.

Cutler, Lt. Cdr. Thomas J. Brown Water, Black Berets: Coastal and Riverine Warfare in Vietnam. Annapolis, The Naval Institute Press, 1988; New York: Pocket Books, 1996.

Ford, Ronnie E. Tet 1968: Understanding the Surprise. Cass Series - Studies in Intelligence. London: Frank Cass & Co, 1995.

Herrington, Stuart. Silence was a Weapon: The Vietnam War in the Villages. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1982.

Krepinevich, Andrew F., Jr. The Army in Vietnam. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.

Mangold, Tom and John Penycate. The Tunnels of Cu Chi: The Untold Story of Vietnam. New York: Random House, 1985; Berkley Pub Group: 1994.

Moore, Lt. Gen. Harold G. and Joseph L. Galloway. We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young. New York: Random House, 1992; Harperperennial, 1993.

Nolan, Keith W. Battle For Hue, Tet 1968. Novato, CA: Presideo Press, 1983.

Oberdorfer, Don. Tet! Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1971; reprint, New York: Da Capo Press, 1984.

Prados, John and Ray W. Stubbe. Valley of Decision: The Siege of Khe Sanh. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1991; Dell, 1993.

Spector, Ronald. After Tet: The Bloodiest Year in Vietnam. New York: The Free Press, 1993; Vintage, 1994.

Stanton, Shelby L. The Rise and Fall of an American Army: U.S. Ground Forces in Vietnam, 1965-1973. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1985; reprint paper, Presideo, 1995.

Turley, Col. Gerald H. The Easter Offensive. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1985; Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1995.

E. From the American Withdrawal to the Fall of the South (1972 - 1975).

Dawson, Alan. 55 Days : The Fall of South Vietnam. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1977.

Isaacs, Arnold. Without Honor: Defeat in Vietnam and Cambodia. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983.

Snepp, Frank. Decent Interval. New York: Random House, 1977.
Snepp was a senior CIA analyst in Saigon during the period from the American combat withdrawal to the fall of Saigon (1972-75). He relates the story of the CIA's and State Department's failure to understand that Saigon was going to fall, and a stunning indictment of the American abandonment those Vietnamese who had helped the CIA in the midst of the final US evacuation.

bibliography continues in part 3