Dec 22 2010

Vietnam: A History by Stanley Karnow

Considered to be the definitive book on the Vietnam War. I had read this book many years ago, but I’m glad that taking the Vietnam War course at LSU forced me to reread it. Despite my professor’s hawkish pronouncements, after rereading this book I don’t see any way we could have won in Vietnam, short of invading North Vietnam, which surely would have provoked the Chinese to intervene, or blasting North Vietnam to bits with nuclear weapons, which would have been inhumane and would have caused an international uproar. The enemy we were facing was simply too determined to prevail at all costs. An enemy that can maintain morale despite sustaining such huge losses cannot help but provoke admiration. Vietnam, IMHO, remains a tragic but cautionary tale about the limits of U.S. power that is just as relevant today as it was then.

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