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From the award-winning historian and filmmakers of The Civil War, Baseball, The War, The Roosevelts, and others: a vivid, uniquely powerful history of the conflict that tore America apart--the companion volume to the major, multipart PBS film to be aired in September 2017. More than forty years after it ended, the Vietnam War continues to haunt our country. We still argue From the award-winning historian and filmmakers of The Civil War, Baseball, The War, The Roosevelts, and others: a vivid, uniquely powerful history of the conflict that tore America apart--the companion volume to the major, multipart PBS film to be aired in September 2017. More than forty years after it ended, the Vietnam War continues to haunt our country. We still argue over why we were there, whether we could have won, and who was right and wrong in their response to the conflict. When the war divided the country, it created deep political fault lines that continue to divide us today. Now, continuing in the tradition of their critically acclaimed collaborations, the authors draw on dozens and dozens of interviews in America and Vietnam to give us the perspectives of people involved at all levels of the war: U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers and their families, high-level officials in America and Vietnam, antiwar protestors, POWs, and many more. The book plunges us into the chaos and intensity of combat, even as it explains the rationale that got us into Vietnam and kept us there for so many years. Rather than taking sides, the book seeks to understand why the war happened the way it did, and to clarify its complicated legacy. Beautifully written and richly illustrated, this is a tour de force that is certain to launch a new national conversation. Read by Brian Corrigan with Fred Sanders, and with an introduction read by Ken Burns


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From the award-winning historian and filmmakers of The Civil War, Baseball, The War, The Roosevelts, and others: a vivid, uniquely powerful history of the conflict that tore America apart--the companion volume to the major, multipart PBS film to be aired in September 2017. More than forty years after it ended, the Vietnam War continues to haunt our country. We still argue From the award-winning historian and filmmakers of The Civil War, Baseball, The War, The Roosevelts, and others: a vivid, uniquely powerful history of the conflict that tore America apart--the companion volume to the major, multipart PBS film to be aired in September 2017. More than forty years after it ended, the Vietnam War continues to haunt our country. We still argue over why we were there, whether we could have won, and who was right and wrong in their response to the conflict. When the war divided the country, it created deep political fault lines that continue to divide us today. Now, continuing in the tradition of their critically acclaimed collaborations, the authors draw on dozens and dozens of interviews in America and Vietnam to give us the perspectives of people involved at all levels of the war: U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers and their families, high-level officials in America and Vietnam, antiwar protestors, POWs, and many more. The book plunges us into the chaos and intensity of combat, even as it explains the rationale that got us into Vietnam and kept us there for so many years. Rather than taking sides, the book seeks to understand why the war happened the way it did, and to clarify its complicated legacy. Beautifully written and richly illustrated, this is a tour de force that is certain to launch a new national conversation. Read by Brian Corrigan with Fred Sanders, and with an introduction read by Ken Burns

30 review for The Vietnam War: An Intimate History

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    This has been a profound and moving reading experience. I felt as if I was reliving major moments of my life as I read this documentary on the Vietnam War, the companion piece to Ken Burns' visual piece aired so recently on PBS. I have not yet seen any of that, saving it for my completion of this book. I was a teenager when John Kennedy was elected president and when he was assassinated, not really very aware yet of Vietnam or the place it would have in everyone's life so soon. By the time I This has been a profound and moving reading experience. I felt as if I was reliving major moments of my life as I read this documentary on the Vietnam War, the companion piece to Ken Burns' visual piece aired so recently on PBS. I have not yet seen any of that, saving it for my completion of this book. I was a teenager when John Kennedy was elected president and when he was assassinated, not really very aware yet of Vietnam or the place it would have in everyone's life so soon. By the time I graduated high school in 1966, the reality of the draft and being shipped to Vietnam to fight was all too real for every male I knew, and every male of draft age in the country. Some managed to find repeated deferments (!!) but as the war and years progressed, most deferments didn't last either. More and more men were needed to fill the expanding need for boots on the ground. One of the truly exciting aspects of this book is the fact that it provides input from all sides, and from many views on each side. There are memoir-like statements from men who served with the ARVN, the forces of South Vietnam - both supporters and despisers of the government. There are the same from the men and women of the army of the North, and from the communist forces in the South. There are multiple first-hand reports from American servicemen, reporters and some nurses--the only women who were near combat in this war. These first-hand stories are interspersed with historical sections throughout the book, timed to coincide with events on the ground. There are also photographs throughout the text, some that were, and still are, famous and were seen throughout the world and on American television in the 1960s and 70s, but many that are new. Some of war, some of anti-war demonstrations, some political, some personal. They still have power. There is much to be learned from reading this book. One of the major quotes I took from this is spoken by Haldeman, of all people, on the impact of the release of the Pentagon Papers: out of the gobbledygook comes a very clear thing, which is: you can't trust the government...can't believe what they say...can't rely on their judgment. And..the infallibility of presidents, which has been an accepted thing in America, is badly hurt by this, because it shows that people do things the president wants..even when it's wrong. And the president can be wrong. This, sadly, is a lesson the the United States has learned in spades since. But Vietnam and various political and military leaders responses to it began a slide. I do strongly recommend this book to people of all generations. Even if you think you know all of the details, I think there are likely more than a few new ones that will make it worth your while. And along side the ignominious actions of some, there are many heroes, some who lived, some who did not. For younger readers, there is the old adage of those who do not learn from history being condemned to repeat it. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dee Arr

    My thanks to NetGalley, the authors, and the publisher for an advance copy of this book. During the Fulbright Hearings in early 1966, George Kennon, a respected writer on American policy concerning the Soviet Union, echoed John Quincy Adams advice that Americans should go not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. These were followed up with a warning that while America could win the war in Viet Nam, he did not wish for the country to be responsible for the high degree of damage and loss of My thanks to NetGalley, the authors, and the publisher for an advance copy of this book. During the Fulbright Hearings in early 1966, George Kennon, a respected writer on American policy concerning the Soviet Union, echoed John Quincy Adams advice that Americans should “…go not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” These were followed up with a warning that while America could win the war in Viet Nam, he did not wish for the country to be responsible for the high degree of damage and loss of civilian life it would require. At the same time, there were those who felt exactly opposite. Many were uncertain of the best course of action to follow. It was these myriad opinions that produced what is now the history of Vietnam and America, events that enveloped the lives of most people in both countries. “The Vietnam War,” co-authored by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns, presented an account of everything leading up to the war, the war itself, and its aftermath. The authors dug deep, interviewing people who had been a part of the conflict in one way or another. What struck me at times was the mindless futility of it all, and how people who meant well got caught up in the moment and even with the facts hitting them right in the face, still continued to push for more involvement. One instance involved General Westmoreland in April of 1967 arguing that with another 200,000 troops, he might be able to end the war in two years. President Johnson’s answer was simplistic, yet neatly described the problem: “…when we add divisions, can’t the enemy add divisions? Where does it all end?” At the same time, there were voices of reason, such as Robert McNamara’s, whose private memo to Johnson pointed out the thousands of non-combatants being injured or dying every week, and the picture of a superpower “…trying to pound a tiny backward nation into submission on an issue whose merits are hotly disputed, is not a pretty one.” About a third of the way through the book, I began to notice a disturbing trend. More and more, the reasons for not being in the war were being trumpeted, even when the majority of people still favored America’s participation. For instance, after the Tet Offensive in 1968, a poll showed just less than half of the people said America should never have become ensnared in Vietnam. The following long paragraph was filled with negative opinions about American participation. It is true the country was divided at that time, but the book seems to slant the viewpoint as if this was the majority viewpoint that the Johnson Administration was ignoring. My comment is not an argument for the Vietnam War, but I had been hoping to see more of the reasons from both sides as to the split within America that caused violence in the streets. In other words, this is history. We have the ability to step back and look at it from all sides. Only looking from certain angles is a disservice to the reader. That said, even though there were more examples to sway a reader’s thoughts, these were still facts, presented in the form of quoted statements, letters, documents, pictures, and so on. More and more people did grow disenchanted with the war as it dragged on, there were race issues within the armed services as well as back home, and sometimes (as with all wars) there were simply some foolish decisions made that resulted in the deaths of soldiers. One cannot come away from this book without a new perspective, or at least a lot of fresh fodder to chew on. Most interesting was the ability to learn about the thinking of people from America, South Vietnam, and North Vietnam (including those in the Viet Cong). While it seemed that most eventually saw the futility of a continuing war, many in the different governments had their own agenda. Getting them all to agree was an impossibility. The question asked by many soldiers, “What are we doing here?” gains momentum when placed against that backdrop. This unquestionably contributed to the increasing number of American deserters. A diary found on the body of a North Vietnamese soldier asked “How many more lives will have to be sacrificed before this country will be liberated?” Apparently, soldiers on both sides had similar thoughts. This book is a great addition to anyone wishing to gain more understanding about the Vietnam War. I would suggest that one might experience greater enjoyment with a hardcover or paperback copy, as there are many sidebar stories that relate personal experiences connected with the historical text. Four-and-a-half stars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Scott Hitchcock

    The lesson of history is that no one learns. Steven Erikson, Deadhouse Gates 4.5*'s. This was as compelling a documentary as I have read/watched/listened to in a long time. The first reason why is that the narration moves between micro and macro in an effective manner showing the high level decisions and actions of the participants and then takes that down to the trenches, streets, political conventions, embassies and college campuses to show how the affected parties reacted. The second reason is “The lesson of history is that no one learns.” ― Steven Erikson, Deadhouse Gates 4.5*'s. This was as compelling a documentary as I have read/watched/listened to in a long time. The first reason why is that the narration moves between micro and macro in an effective manner showing the high level decisions and actions of the participants and then takes that down to the trenches, streets, political conventions, embassies and college campuses to show how the affected parties reacted. The second reason is there are no sacred cows. The French, North and South Vietnamese, other WWII participants who could have changed history if not for the greed of colonialism, the Russians, Chinese, Cambodians, the Lao and especially both the Democrats and Republicans are all called to task. In the US the different counter culture movements are also not held above reproach and neither are actors such as Jane Fonda and John Wayne. If you're going to tell this story you need to take on everybody. The next reason is that the story doesn't just start with Kennedy's involvement. It goes back and touches on the French colonialism and all the way back to Woodrow Wilson. If the different nations had just listened to his world order reforms this might have all be avoidable but the French after both wars insisted on maintaining their empire. Then we see the mistakes made by the likes of Truman, Ike, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford and all the other big players of that day like Mcnamara, Rusk and others. So many saw this war as unwinnable long before it was ever fought. The actions of the anti war movement hurting their own cause by being too militant and causing support to go back to the government by not embracing the middle class and then the government using scare tactics and if you don't agree with the country you're not a true American. The Vietnamese and their torture of prisoners and then exclusion through racial bigotry towards have Vietnamese half American born children is equally reprehensible. Their own colonialism in Cambodia not far removed from French and American actions. And the worst part? Mr Erikson's quote says it all. Nobody learned a damn thing. You still have the government lying to the public. You still have the agenda of the rich. You still have racial divide. You still have scare tactics and patriotism used as weapons of control. This war and era encapsulated everything in American history that keeps repeating itself. The social divide and extremism of both the left and the right is growing even worse today.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael Perkins

    "Vietnam. That war cleaves us still. But, friends, that war began in earnest a quarter of a century ago, and surely the statute of limitation has been reached. This is a fact: The final lesson of Vietnam is that no great nation can long afford to be sundered by a memory. A new breeze is blowing." George Bush, Sr, inaugural address. This was basically the same argument the NYT was making when it was beating the war drum to invade Iraq. It ran a series of articles to remove "the Vietnam objection." "Vietnam. That war cleaves us still. But, friends, that war began in earnest a quarter of a century ago, and surely the statute of limitation has been reached. This is a fact: The final lesson of Vietnam is that no great nation can long afford to be sundered by a memory. A new breeze is blowing." George Bush, Sr, inaugural address. This was basically the same argument the NYT was making when it was beating the war drum to invade Iraq. It ran a series of articles to remove "the Vietnam objection." But unlike Vietnam, Rumsfeld wanted to block media coverage. In the wake of the insurgency and the rise of ISIS, someone caught up with Executive Editor, Bill Keller, and asked him about their full throated advocacy of the invasion and, with typical NYT hubris, he said: "we got it right." Meanwhile, they tried to avoid responsibility by scapegoating one reporter, Judith Miller. Too many bought this tactic. ======= "the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts." -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn I am watching again the Burns's documentary. I was in grade school and middle school when the Vietnam War was escalating. I had almost no awareness of it, as apparently very few in the U.S had at the time according to this book and the Burns' documentary. My parents were part of the so-called "Greatest Generation," having persevered through the Great Depression as adults and WW II, during which my father served as a medical officer in France. But there has been this mistake, apparently by Tom Brokaw, in bestowing this label, to pretend that the Vietnam war never happened. As Orwell said, we must have the courage to face unpleasant facts, unpalatable truths. As was portrayed by many of their generation in the documentary, my father was obsessed with the Red Scare. I look back and see how that obsession impaired the minds and emotions of many. And I can't agree with the "Greatest Generation" label as they were the architects and perpetrators of the nightmare that was the Vietnam War. And we learn through the history above that Defense Secretary Robert McNamara knew in 1965 that the war was unwinnable, but he favored continuing to "save face." America could never be wrong. The lives of so many were lost because of this heinous pride. ---------- As the botched evacuation of Saigon was underway in 1975, this was the last word. “This will be final message from Saigon station,” CIA Chief Thomas Polgar wrote in a clipped, telegraphic style. “It has been a long fight and we have lost. . . . Those who fail to learn from history are forced to repeat it. Let us hope that we will not have another Vietnam experience and that we have learned our lesson. Saigon signing off.” ------------------ I think Burns tried to wrap up the documentary a little too neatly, running "Let it Be" at the end of the final installment and credits. In this way, he is not too far from the Bush quote at the top. Too often we like to put a neat bow on something that doesn't allow it. There are allusions to PTSD here and there and very short tidbit about it later in the documentary, but this is a failure. As William Faulkner said: “The past is never dead. It's not even past; it's always part of the present.” My late brother in law served in Vietnam as a Marine for four years and was part of the garrison that was under siege at Khe Sanh for 77 days, running short of food and other supplies. He came home as part of the "War without Heroes" with a horrible case of PTSD. It took some time for family to understand what was going on. He didn't talk about the war and it was considered weak to get counseling, so he like most others with this condition, he drank and smoked heavily until he died of cancer. He had a hard life.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Five Star Excellence! A massive undertaking. Ten blood bathed, civil unrest, political puppetry years compacted into 600 plus pages. Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns, I applaud you. At times harrowing, maddening, sorrowful . . . But well worth reading. . . . Full review to come. To those who answered the call, in spite of politics, thank you for your service. Welcome home!

  6. 5 out of 5

    M.L. Rio

    This book is not perfect. But it is important. And if more people knew more about the Vietnam War and how it came about, we might be able to avoid making the same tragic mistakes over and over again.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This nonfiction book was well done.....and it was an education of sorts. I picked this one up for two reasons. One is because it had great ratings on GR and the other is because of the controversy that has plagued this particular war. I was very young when this took place and because it was so recent, it wasn't in our history books in school. This book laid it all out. The research was well organized. I liked the attention to detail. This contained a fair amount of tragedy and sadness, but I This nonfiction book was well done.....and it was an education of sorts. I picked this one up for two reasons. One is because it had great ratings on GR and the other is because of the controversy that has plagued this particular war. I was very young when this took place and because it was so recent, it wasn't in our history books in school. This book laid it all out. The research was well organized. I liked the attention to detail. This contained a fair amount of tragedy and sadness, but I loved how the author handled it. This book was long...the audio is over 30 hours, and not once did this feel long. I could only listen for a few hours each day, but definitely worth it. So 4 stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John Plowright

    The Vietnam War is the companion volume to the 10-part, 18-hour Ken Burns PBS documentary series of that name but like other books co-authored by him and Geoffrey C. Ward, including Jazz, The War and, most recently, The Roosevelts, it stands in its own right as a richly illustrated work which utilises evocative primary sources to the full within a strong narrative framework. There are ten chapters and an Epilogue, punctuated by five essays by other authors. The most controversial of these is ‘The Vietnam War’ is the companion volume to the 10-part, 18-hour Ken Burns PBS documentary series of that name but like other books co-authored by him and Geoffrey C. Ward, including ‘Jazz’, ‘The War’ and, most recently, ‘The Roosevelts’, it stands in its own right as a richly illustrated work which utilises evocative primary sources to the full within a strong narrative framework. There are ten chapters and an Epilogue, punctuated by five essays by other authors. The most controversial of these is undoubtedly Frederk Logevall’s ‘Kennedy and what might have been’ pondering whether had he survived Dallas and won a second term, Kennedy’s scepticism regarding the wisdom of military action in Vietnam would have triumphed over the felt need to be seen to be tough on communism and prevent toppling dominoes. After judiciously reviewing the contradictory evidence Logevall comes down against the Oliver Stone school of thought that JFK had already sanctioned ‘incipient withdrawal’ before his death, arguing that the President was sensibly keeping his options open but that on balance “JFK most likely would not have have Americanized the war, but instead would have opted for some form of disengagement, presumably by way of a face-saving negotiated settlement.” In the event, of course, Johnson allowed himself to get progressively drawn into the war (although it is rightly pointed out that he enjoyed very limited room for manoeuvre) and it was left to Nixon to find a superficially honourable way out. America’s formal exit from south-east Asia was humiliating and Vietnam casts a very long shadow so that it is still capable of exciting extreme emotions (note, for example, Trump’s disgraceful characterization of former POW McCain as a “loser”). Personally I would have liked more on the war’s legacy but one cannot have everything and what one does have here is a superb one-volume history of the war which is much more substantial than the coffee-table book which it appears to be at first sight.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Fred Klein

    This massive book is a monumental achievement, even without the documentary series that it accompanies. It provides a context for the American involvement, providing the history before and after. I was touched in so many ways by this book. I was ready to cry when reading about the parents learning that their child had been killed, and how a serviceman told his mother that he was probably not coming back. (His mother told him that he would not die because he was "special", and he responded that This massive book is a monumental achievement, even without the documentary series that it accompanies. It provides a context for the American involvement, providing the history before and after. I was touched in so many ways by this book. I was ready to cry when reading about the parents learning that their child had been killed, and how a serviceman told his mother that he was probably not coming back. (His mother told him that he would not die because he was "special", and he responded that every mother thinks her child is "special", and he was putting "special" people in body bags.) I was angry when reading about how our leaders, like Johnson and Nixon, lied to us, and about how a celebrity like Jane Fonda betrayed us. This is a hard read, but an important, and, I think, necessary one. Invest your time in this one.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    The Vietnam War divided the American public, it weakened the armed forces, consumed vast resources and lives and is still hotly debated. Was it worth it? What did it mean? What was it all for? Why I started this book: With Veteran's Day this weekend, I wanted to read something topical, something to remind me of why we have Monday off. Why I finished it: Powerful, and the audio contained the actual participants talking about their experiences. But the PBS mini-series was better. There is something The Vietnam War divided the American public, it weakened the armed forces, consumed vast resources and lives and is still hotly debated. Was it worth it? What did it mean? What was it all for? Why I started this book: With Veteran's Day this weekend, I wanted to read something topical, something to remind me of why we have Monday off. Why I finished it: Powerful, and the audio contained the actual participants talking about their experiences. But the PBS mini-series was better. There is something about seeing and hearing that is so powerful. After all it was the first war that was broadcast into peoples' homes on the nightly news. And Burns was careful to include the music of the decade, Vietnamese interviewees from North and South, peace protestors and veterans. Meticulously researched and heartrendingly inconclusive.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lance

    This book is a very comprehensive look at the Vietnam War as it covers the military missions and policies, the political landscape and how it affected five US presidential administrations from Eisenhower to Ford, and the social scene back in the United States. Hearing the accounts of people involved, from a nurse in the field to former POWs to A young lady who lost her brother and took up the anti-war movement made the audio book a better experience than I believe I would have obtained from This book is a very comprehensive look at the Vietnam War as it covers the military missions and policies, the political landscape and how it affected five US presidential administrations from Eisenhower to Ford, and the social scene back in the United States. Hearing the accounts of people involved, from a nurse in the field to former POWs to A young lady who lost her brother and took up the anti-war movement made the audio book a better experience than I believe I would have obtained from reading a print or e-book

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hai Quan

    ( Zero star) When one sees millions of people are not regcognise a truth that is as simple as one plus one equal two one become terrified of the possibility that one is insane , need to be admitted into a mental ward.. Such is the case of mine. Re : VIETNAM WAR During and especially after this conflict people wasted tons & mountains of paper and oceans of ink to discuss, argue, attack and counter-attack , uncover and whitewash , accuse and apology , express indignant, anger or sorrow and ( Zero star) When one sees millions of people are not regcognise a truth that is as simple as one plus one equal two one become terrified of the possibility that one is insane , need to be admitted into a mental ward.. Such is the case of mine. Re : VIETNAM WAR During and especially after this conflict people wasted tons & mountains of paper and oceans of ink to discuss, argue, attack and counter-attack , uncover and whitewash , accuse and apology , express indignant, anger or sorrow and pain..... a People spent millions of hours of air time in broadcasting stations , television stations and movie set to disscuss, argue , doccument and present the "truth" as one saw ..... YET IT SEEMS NO ONE REALIZE THIS SIMPLE FACT This self evident fact comes RIGHT OUT of the Declaration Of Independence of the U S of A : ........" all men are created equal "....... Now does it say all white men.......? NO So it means just like that: ....all men...... It doesn ' t make a f.....ng diferent whether they are black,white,yellow,brown , purple ....ain't it? THEREFORE WHY COULDN'T THE WHITE GOVERNMENTS IN THE U S LEAVE US YELLOW PEOPLE ALONE IN MANAGING OUR internal AFFAIR AS WE SEE FIT ? If the South Vietnamese didn't like Communism , then they have to DO THE KICKING ASS BY THEMSELVES as any self-respecting man (With two swinging , functioning balls) would do in the circumstance When a man has to ask for somebody else to do the ass-kicking for him , it is tantamount to ask some one else to hump his wife in his stead ! HE MUST DO IT BY HIMSELF TO PROVE HE IS A MAN WITH BALLS EVEN IF HE GETS HURT OR BEING KILLED IN THIS MANLY ACT I will quote ( not verbatim) Moore in his "Downside This" : Mandela,The early American colonists and Gandhi ....never ran to.........and ask the foreigners there to do it for them.They did it by themselves,escaped death,spill their blood, went to jails, suffered grievously, but aint never beg aint no whitey ( or foreigners) to fight for them... (My interpretation might or might not faithfully reflect Moore 's posit) NOT LIKE THE FLORIDA'S Cuban. Not like the SOUTH VIETNAM 'S Tong Tong 's from Diem ,his brother Nhu, Thieu,Ky, Khanh......to Big Minh.( One wonder if any of them was man,with balls regardless of how many young un they fathered.... except Diem ) W/O BALL THEY ARE GIRLS Here is the simple truth that millions of dimwits, sleep walkers ,zombies failed to realize : Traitors are not men, with balls , not even women.They are insects In fact universally they will be metered out DEATH PENALTY by all laws of all countries They are universally despised by all people in the whole world Amigo , can you imagine the American people , from 10 year old up , would allow any foreign government to do the same outrageous things TO THE U S similar to their government DID TO MANY THIRD WORD COUNTRIES ?( killing millions of unarmed civilians ) And all the wicked war profiteers , 'em big ass politicians in Washington D C were feigned surprise , indignance., frustration when their puppies failed miserably to bite their master enemies but only - not even bark - whined and ran for cover toward their masters WHO WERE ALSO RUNNING FOR their LIVES !! This is the very reason for the failure of ALL PUPPETS , carton cut-outs with whiteys pulling the string behind the curtain.They have never could last long ! They only could last as long as their master propping them up with tons of greenbacks and hundreds of thousand well armed modern hairy Vikings supported by the most sophisticated weaponry imaginable including ice creams of many flavor dropping down from 'em 'copters ! ( Of course this last " weapon" were exclusively "military supply" for Vikings only.) What pity ! They should have just stayed in NY,NY licking said delicacy of their own choices instead have to swallow bucket full of only ONE flavor due to the pilots ' clumsy mistakes ! I say unto you amigo : Chuck all political science courses from all universities and colleges ( including and especially Brown and Yale ) together with all books ( with small exception) , including this book written in the subject of the Vietnam war and all commentaries in printed media about it...... into THE Garbage Can Of History End discussion ! Your Beloved FUHRER

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ken Hammond

    The Vietnam War: An Intimate History wow just wow, so much to digest the long and violent historical trauma that was Vietnam. All the sleazy politics the enraged political protests all the big wigs top brass stories. Just a complete and utter waste of human life, the sadness of families losses both sides American and Vietnamese. Cold war antics by over zealous politicians believing they were right and superior to all others, really now looking back they were all caught in a trap and dragged a The Vietnam War: An Intimate History wow just wow, so much to digest the long and violent historical trauma that was Vietnam. All the sleazy politics the enraged political protests all the big wigs top brass stories. Just a complete and utter waste of human life, the sadness of families losses both sides American and Vietnamese. Cold war antics by over zealous politicians believing they were right and superior to all others, really now looking back they were all caught in a trap and dragged a lot of inoccent lives down into their futile ambitions. We should never ever let ourselves get caught like that again, and really know who we vote for. This story just had so much information just mind boggling it covered the common ground soldier from both sides letters of bitterness sadness and hope, this just got my emotions going and I really felt moved by these stories, that's what was so great about this. Leaves a lot to contemplate and powerful emotions welling up inside me. Just a powerful and a must read. Be strong always, and hope for a time when we won't war against each other. Just hard out competition to do better.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    I had put this audiobook aside several months ago for reasons I don't remember. Last night I returned it to Audible and put it in my DNF file. I was told and I believe that the government lied to us as they have continue to do with every war since then. We should never have invaded Iraq. Does anyone know why, after being there for 16 years, why we are still fighting in Afghanistan? I realized that I had heard enough and didn't want to listen to it anymore

  15. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    While I did not think this work gave sufficient or fair consideration to the Vietnamese side of the story, it did a good job chronicling the American turmoil, unfairness and attempt at nationwide reconciliation. From the Ken Burns docseries.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nabeel Hassan

    History.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dixie

    This book is full of the detailed history, photos, and human interest stories that fans of Ken Burns' previous "miniseries" have come to expect. This is history that happened during my childhood and that I have never really learned much about, so it was fascinating reading for my inner history nerd, but pretty horrific in many of the details. I needed to take it broken up into small chunks and the presentation style of this volume lends itself to exactly that. I think this would be much better This book is full of the detailed history, photos, and human interest stories that fans of Ken Burns' previous "miniseries" have come to expect. This is history that happened during my childhood and that I have never really learned much about, so it was fascinating reading for my inner history nerd, but pretty horrific in many of the details. I needed to take it broken up into small chunks and the presentation style of this volume lends itself to exactly that. I think this would be much better to have in the print edition, as the Kindle edition wasn't laid out in the most easy to follow manner. I voluntarily read an advanced review copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley and offer my honest opinion in response.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bill Yeadon

    Some may think it redundant to watch the Ken Burns mini-series on Vietnam and to read the book. Each complemented the other. Any project that Ken Burns is involved in has been superlative. In the early 90's when Burns did the Civil War Series I became hooked on history and have since read hundreds of books on all different periods of history. The Vietnam was even more personal because I was at the perfect age to have fought at the time of the Tet offensive. Fortunately, a failed physical kept me Some may think it redundant to watch the Ken Burns mini-series on Vietnam and to read the book. Each complemented the other. Any project that Ken Burns is involved in has been superlative. In the early 90's when Burns did the Civil War Series I became hooked on history and have since read hundreds of books on all different periods of history. The Vietnam was even more personal because I was at the perfect age to have fought at the time of the Tet offensive. Fortunately, a failed physical kept me out. Unfortunately, that means someone else went in my place. Regardless of your views on the war, we all agree that it was a horrible chapter in our history and one that accomplished little other than killing almost 60, 000 of our soldiers. And that doesn't count the many thousands that had their lives destroyed in other ways. In both the mini-series and the book the most emotional aspects came from the interviews of those who fought, those who protested, and those who fought against us. I am not sure if we will ever get peace from the memories of that time. But I do know this is Ken Burns has come the closest so far.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael Perkins

    Like Robert McNamara, Henry Kissinger concluded in 1965 that the Vietnam War was hopeless. But like McNamara before him, still asserted: we have to escalate in order to prove we arent impotent, and the more impotent we prove to be, the more we have to escalate. This article summarizes the huge price so many paid for that folly.... https://thebaffler.com/civilification... =================== History doesnt repeat itself, but human nature remains the same. (Ken Burns) Great companion read to the Like Robert McNamara, Henry Kissinger concluded in 1965 that the Vietnam War was hopeless. But like McNamara before him, still asserted: “we have to escalate in order to prove we aren’t impotent, and the more impotent we prove to be, the more we have to escalate.” This article summarizes the huge price so many paid for that folly.... https://thebaffler.com/civilification... =================== “History doesn’t repeat itself, but human nature remains the same.” (Ken Burns) Great companion read to the documentary. The documentary itself is Burns' greatest work. A masterpiece.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Scott

    This is the companion book to the Vietnam War documentary by Ken Burns. There is a certain commonality to read a book that's formatted the same way as The Civil War (also a companion book to the documentary). It brings the entire experience into a modern-day view incorporating not just the soldier's experience but those of the Viet Cong, South Vietnamese, and the refugees. It's is one of the few fully comprehensive books on the subject and can take a God's eye view on the subject. Some parts that This is the companion book to the Vietnam War documentary by Ken Burns. There is a certain commonality to read a book that's formatted the same way as The Civil War (also a companion book to the documentary). It brings the entire experience into a modern-day view incorporating not just the soldier's experience but those of the Viet Cong, South Vietnamese, and the refugees. It's is one of the few fully comprehensive books on the subject and can take a God's eye view on the subject. Some parts that stuck out to me was the extensive lying by Presidents Johnson, Nixon, and the Federal government as a whole. This takes center stage right now as movies like The POST gain popularity. It wasn't until the publishing of the Pentagon papers did the public really know the extent of what was going on in Vietnam. The publishing of those papers effectively ended the war and the Nixon presidency. It would shatter the people's faith in government. It's a holistic look at the entire Vietnam experience from colonial days to the Fall of Saigon and then we are fast-forwarded to the Vietnam War memorial. I think this context is important as we better understand how important independence was for the North Vietnamese. I felt the ending was a bit abrupt. I think it is important to see the impact of the war afterward. The documentary goes further than any other before it on telling every side, but the refugees, the resettlement in the United States and their stories seem incomplete. Once Saigon falls we get a brief section from the writer of The Sympathizer Viet Thanh Nguyen. However, it left me wanting for more information. I had read The Refugees but immediately needed to read The Sympathizer to get the full story. I have also read Thu Bui's Graphic Memoir The Best We Can Do which I would recommend to get more perspective. Both works focused on the impact of the Vietnam war on the Vietnamese and their escape and resettlement in the United States. These parts were important to me as I grew up in Orange County where there is a heavy Vietnamese population. It was important to me to know more about their backstory. Overall a comprehensive story with other supporting works to fill in the gaps.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Scott Lee

    Having been born five to six years after the war ended (depending on what one considers "the end") I can't speak to any of this for myself except for one portion of the text. The book opens with Ward and a number of the recurrent sources that he and Ken Burns used in this joint venture talking about how even after all this time Vietnam is still something we don't talk about. This I can speak to. My dad was at the Air Force Academy as a prep-school student and Air Force cadet in the last few Having been born five to six years after the war ended (depending on what one considers "the end") I can't speak to any of this for myself except for one portion of the text. The book opens with Ward and a number of the recurrent sources that he and Ken Burns used in this joint venture talking about how even after all this time Vietnam is still something we don't talk about. This I can speak to. My dad was at the Air Force Academy as a prep-school student and Air Force cadet in the last few years of the war, and my Grandpa Lee (Dad's dad) served multiple tours but I never heard either of them talk about the period growing up. Dad eventually talked a bit about what it was like for him as the son of soldier serving in Vietnam and as an Air Force cadet during the last years of the war long after I'd grown up and moved out of the house. Grandpa spoke to our family just once about his service--he also served in Korea--in an evening when Grandpa and Grandma sat with us telling their story and letting us ask questions. I never encountered Vietnam in history in school--not in high school and not in college. So my only experience with/knowledge of the war has come indirectly or through media depictions, primarily the eighties television show Tour of Duty, and Karl Marlantes' novel Matterhorn which was powerfully tragic. This made the book a true revelation to me. I had no idea of nearly any of this history beyond generalities on the conservative side about how the politicians had tied the generals' hands and lost the war. I knew it was more complicated than that, but man what a horrid tragedy. Ward and Burns have been an effective team for years, and this is a powerful wonderful book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pat Rolston

    If you read one book about the Vietnam war and Americas role this is that book as it is unequaled documenting all participants and bringing stories to life from individuals to nations. This is history that must be understood to know why we are the nation we have become. We are defined by our cumulative history as people and a nation. Those who espouse any single label for America from positively exceptional to monstrously imperialistic fail to understand the arc of history. As Vietnam and our If you read one book about the Vietnam war and America’s role this is that book as it is unequaled documenting all participants and bringing stories to life from individuals to nations. This is history that must be understood to know why we are the nation we have become. We are defined by our cumulative history as people and a nation. Those who espouse any single label for America from positively exceptional to monstrously imperialistic fail to understand the arc of history. As Vietnam and our the history of this undeclared war demonstrate we have become an amalgamation of that which can’t be captured by any one phrase or singular notion. The ultimate downfall of nations and individuals can be traced to allowing the darkness of ignorance to block out that light of truth as revealed by history. That light cleanses the hubris of self styled exceptionalism and saves us from becoming a monster of unspeakable acts. Unfortunately few of our leaders have the courage to apply the lessons of history and continue to perpetuate the myth of military power as America’s strength when in fact we hasten our downfall repeating the mistakes of the past. This is a book that forces deep unvarnished self examination in light of history written in the best of traditions. This book in the final analysis brilliantly documents the anti- war movement. It helps us recognize as citizens our fate does not need to be anchored by failed leadership that ignores the lessons of history. Those lessons include speaking and acting out truth to power that can save us from the hubris and greed of failed heads of state and government.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Donald Owens II

    This is not a fun book to read. I began this book with the idea that the Vietnam War was confusing, without clear reason, and of questionable constitutionality. 640 pages later I conclude that the Vietnam War was confusing, without clear reason, and of questionable constitutionality. If this book is accurate, even partially, it makes a strong case that no nation should ever trust their government.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Extraordinary Account of the Vietnam War I've read other books about the Vietnam War and watched Ken Burns ' series. This book is an accompanying guide for the show. I found the book very absorbing and moving. The photographs show up beautifully in the ebook and the writing was absorbing. I can't recommend this book enough.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Reem Mohsen

    i watched the show, saw all that was in the book, very well covered, a very good historic book about the effects of America involvement in the Vietnam War.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sebastien

    Nearly an identical parallel of the docu-series of the same name, "The Vietnam War: An Intimate History" goes into facets of the war that most histories don't. It showcases South Vietnamese frustrations that the United States considered it an "American war" in all of their media, goes deep into Nixon's bigotry and crookedness (also did you know that Nixon referred to Kissinger as his "Jew boy"?), and occasionally gives you a glimpse of the North Vietnamese power politics and corruption. It was so Nearly an identical parallel of the docu-series of the same name, "The Vietnam War: An Intimate History" goes into facets of the war that most histories don't. It showcases South Vietnamese frustrations that the United States considered it an "American war" in all of their media, goes deep into Nixon's bigotry and crookedness (also did you know that Nixon referred to Kissinger as his "Jew boy"?), and occasionally gives you a glimpse of the North Vietnamese power politics and corruption. It was so enjoyable, and it's a pity that it wasn't longer. I could consume history like this for life.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

    This book takes its time in honoring the myriad perspectives contained in the story of the Vietnam War. It keeps the emotional core of the human experience front and centre without degenerating into a detached timeline of political machinations and military maneuvers. People, and all their fears, flaws, heroics, and suffering, are the focus, from Vietnamese soldiers to military grunts to the families of the lost. Nothing is shown as straightforward, and every step in the war was part of a tangle This book takes its time in honoring the myriad perspectives contained in the story of the Vietnam War. It keeps the emotional core of the human experience front and centre without degenerating into a detached timeline of political machinations and military maneuvers. People, and all their fears, flaws, heroics, and suffering, are the focus, from Vietnamese soldiers to military grunts to the families of the lost. Nothing is shown as straightforward, and every step in the war was part of a tangle of consequences that no one could escape. Every player is given a compassionate hearing (except for Nixon, who is shown as nothing more than a sleep-deprived, alcohol fueled maniac), and no one is vilified nor glorified. An excellent read on an intimidating topic

  28. 4 out of 5

    Steven Hull

    Ken Burns and Lynn Novick released a multi-part documentary on the Vietnam War on PBS in September 2017. The accompanying coffee table book Burns sometimes releases with his documentaries is this book for the Vietnam documentary. I initially bought the book for the excellent photos. Then, after reading Max Hastingss recent book on Vietnam, I decided to read the Ward-Burns book. It is a large format, long (nearly 600 pages) work and it is excellent. For a single volume, this book is Ken Burns and Lynn Novick released a multi-part documentary on the Vietnam War on PBS in September 2017. The accompanying ‘coffee table’ book Burns sometimes releases with his documentaries is this book for the Vietnam documentary. I initially bought the book for the excellent photos. Then, after reading Max Hastings’s recent book on Vietnam, I decided to read the Ward-Burns book. It is a large format, long (nearly 600 pages) work and it is excellent. For a single volume, this book is comprehensive. It begins with France’s efforts to colonize the Indo-Chinese area in the late 1850s and concludes with the evacuation of the last Americans from Saigon in the spring of 1975. The history is one of imperialism, exploitation, and war. However, Ward-Burns, like Hastings, try to present a balanced view, showing that all parties on all sides sought advantage, wealth, and power at times. Caught in the middle of this competition were the common, every day people of Indo-China. They are the ones that suffered most and had the least control over the course of their own lives and the course of modern Vietnamese history. The indigenous Indo-Chinese opposition to outside powers begins early in this modern period. There are numerous revolts against the French during their hegemony over Indo-China. The French are helped in their exploitative efforts by a growing class of Vietnamese officials that help run the country. With the end of World War I, efforts are made by Ho Chi Minh and others to obtain Vietnamese independence, but all fail. Following the end of World War II these independence efforts intensify, especially after the French attempt to re-impose control over the area. The roots of U.S. involvement are found in France’s failure and defeat in their own war against Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh. Caught in the era of Communist expansion in Eastern Europe and Asia (the Korean War; the fall of China, indigenous Communist inspired movements throughout the rest of the world), a succession of American Presidents and governments vowed to stop the further spread Communism in Vietnam. This eventually led to America’s commitment of a half-million troops to the American phase of the war. Unfortunately, the government of South Vietnam remained corrupt and never gained the allegiance of a majority of its people. Meanwhile, the North Vietnamese remained absolutely dedicated to driving out the Americans and establishing a communist-socialist government throughout Vietnam. They were willing to lose millions in the effort. They were extraordinarily violent and merciless in their killing of perceived and real enemies. This, in combination with the violence and destruction employed by the Americans and South Vietnamese against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese, ended in destroying much of the country and killing millions of people. Ward-Burns’ view is that beginning with Lyndon Johnson, the United States knew it could not achieve a military victory without destroying Vietnam. Eventually many Americans opposed the war and fueled domestic turmoil that tore the country apart. President Richard Nixon, politically driven, took nearly five years to disengage from the war, abandoned the people of South Vietnam, and created his own corrupt form of ‘Peace With Honor’. It is clear there are few heroes or heroines in this sad story, but there are some. One of the book’s strengths is Ward-Burns’ descriptions of individuals caught up in the war. They hail from all walks of life and all parties to the conflict. They are too numerous to mention here, but they showed extraordinary courage, bravery, and persistence. They range from the U.S. Army helicopter pilot who stopped the My Lai massacre by threatening to shoot the American soldiers who were doing the killing, to the draftee/volunteer Vietnamese who kept the Ho Chi Minh trail open despite the most intensive conventional bombing in history. Villains about too, but often were driven more by ignorance, arrogance, and habit than intent—people like General William Westmoreland, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Le Duane, and Ngo Dinh Diem. A final comment about the members of the front line U.S. military who actually fought in this war and were unfairly blamed at the time for the war by Americans who opposed it. The remain buried in our history. Their story is not known. This book gives context to their plight and their sacrifices in doing what they were sent 10,000 miles from home to do for their country. They are among the tragic actors in this tragic story. We shall not pity them, we shall respect them; we shall not wonder why they did what they did, instead we shall marvel at what they did at the risk of their own lives with nothing to gain but their own self-respect and honor. Perhaps the most poignant pictures, among the many in the book, is the three page spread (pp.394-6) showing the pictures of the 242 Americans killed in one week in Vietnam featured in a June 1969 edition of Life Magazine. What strikes one is the average age of most of those killed—18, 19, 20, and 21. I am guessing that the other side and the South Vietnamese sacrificed their same generation. As we know, young men and women fight the old men’s and women’s wars.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    One of the best books I have read on the Vietnam War. Very well researched and detailed. It covers every period of the Vietnam War from the French involvement to the United States involvement. It also has side notes with individual stories as well.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    After the American Civil War, the Union and Confederate veterans formed separate associations. The Union veterans usually joined the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) which produced a national publication in The National Tribune. The confederate veterans formed the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) which published the Confederate Veteran. These two magazines had a very different character. The National Tribune typically concerned itself with troop movements, which regiment was where in which After the American Civil War, the Union and Confederate veterans formed separate associations. The Union veterans usually joined the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) which produced a national publication in The National Tribune. The confederate veterans formed the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) which published the Confederate Veteran. These two magazines had a very different character. The National Tribune typically concerned itself with troop movements, which regiment was where in which battle and what happened. Any veteran was welcome to write in to correct the record, to tell where they were, and what happened at different points in the battles under discussion. The Confederate Veteran had a very different character. It emphasized the struggle, how hard they fought, how little food they had, and how it felt to serve in a lost but righteous cause. While subsequent historians would reject many of the stories of months without boots on starvation rations based upon other contemporary evidence, the actual historical record was not really the point of Confederate Veteran magazine. They wanted their descendants to know how valiantly they fought. In my lifetime, I have grown up around WWII veterans and Vietnam veterans. Many of the WWII vets behave very much like the GAR and concerned themselves with which unit was where, what they were doing, and what was the opposition. At the same time, most Vietnam veterans have not been very interested in conveying the tactical or strategic concerns of the war and tended to emphasize the what it felt like, sometimes including exaggerated accounts. The Battle of Hurtgen Forest in WWII with 50k American casualties is usually presented unsentimentally, while the Battle of Khe Sanh in 1968, with fewer than 3k casualties, is presented only as the living embodiment of hell without much reference to its strategic significance or the conduct of the battle. This book is the companion piece to Ken Burns’ PBS documentary series of the Vietnam War. Ken Burns produced a famously good series about the Civil War. He managed to present the human side of the conflict. To the extent most of us studied the Civil War, it was a series of movements, set-piece battles, and strategic objectives. Ken Burns took a different approach. He would talk about the actions of generals just long enough to get to the next “My Dearest Abigail” letter to explain the feeling of the soldiers on the ground. He managed to humanize the war and take it off the pages. People of my generation, however, might be very familiar with what veterans feel about the Vietnam War, and have no clue as to the purposes, objectives, and tactics with which it was fought. Less so do we understand the war from the Communist North Vietnamese or the National Liberation Front perspective. At least in these regards, this is not a very helpful book. It is good at capturing the feelings and perspectives of US, AVRN, NVA, and NLF soldiers without any discussion of their organization, command structure, and very little discussion of logistics, relative strengths, policies, and philosophies. Frequently, the story presented seems to be one of American soldiers confronting magical forest ninjas who might die in great numbers, but always seem to regenerate for another assault. I doubt that was the perspective of the NVA and NLF command who were confronting a superior adversary. Yet never do we discover what NVA and NLF forces believed were effective tactics, what were their failures, and what did they consider to be their necessary objectives. Meanwhile, a large portion of the book is dedicated to US domestic politics and the anti-war movement, which is interesting but much more widely understood than the domestic politics of North Vietnam, which is absent in this narrative. Which brings me to my frustration with this book. It is an American-centered story. It is not a history of the Vietnam War as a war. It is the consensus story that baby boomers will tell themselves about the war, the sort of thing that gets the 60-something crowd to tune in during PBS pledge drives. We probably need to wait another 25 years before a definitive history can be written.

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