The Washington Times published my review of The Vietnam War: An Intimate History, the companion book to the PBS TV series.
With the anniversary of the fall of South Vietnam to the Communist North on April 30, 1975, veterans of that war, those who lived through the era and those interested in history, may want to read Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns’ coffee-table companion book to the PBS series “The Vietnam War.”
“America’s involvement in Vietnam began in secrecy. It ended, thiry years later, in failure, witnessed by the entire world,” the book begins. “It was begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American over-confidence, and Cold War miscalculation.”
The book also reminds us that 58,000 Americans died in the war, and at least 250,000 South Vietnamese also died. More than a million North Vietnamese and Viet Cong Communists died in the war, as well as an estimated 2 million North and South Vietnamese civilians.
“For those Americans who fought in it, and for those who merely glimpsed it on the nightly news — the Vietnam War was a decade of agony, the most divisive period since the Civil War.”
… “The Vietnam War: An Intimate History” is an impressive-looking book, with a vast array of photos that accompanies a look back at the long and complicated war. Unfortunately, the companion book suffers from the same bias we saw in the television series.
… Many veterans believed in the war, many volunteered to serve in Vietnam, and many Vietnam veterans are proud of their service. Many Americans, then and now, believe we should have gone all out to win the war. Certainly, the many South Vietnamese murdered and imprisoned by the Communists after the fall of the South, and the many Vietnamese “boat people” who endured hardships and sacrifices to escape the Communists, wish we had stayed the course.
You can read the rest of the review via the below link:
As I noted in my review, readers may want to read Lt. Gen. Philip Davidson’s Vietnam At War: The History 1946-1975 for a bit of balance.