Latest read: A Vietnam War Reader

While spending almost two years reading the Pentagon Papers I found a number of credible resources that pointed to this college textbook as an excellent overview of our long war, A Vietnam War Reader: A Documentary History from American and Vietnamese Perspectives.

A Vietnam War Reader

This book is written by Michael H. Hunt, emeritus professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hunt has also written “Lyndon Johnson’s War: America’s Cold War Crusade in Vietnam, 1945-1968” and “Arc of Empire: America’s Wars in Asia from the Philippines to Vietnam.”

Hunt’s book presented in chronological order our long conflict throughout Indo-China. The perspectives from are from leaders in the US, South Vietnam and communist North Vietnam. Wars have been traditionally told from the perspective of the winner, its a somewhat awkward view to read the perspectives of noted NVA military and communist party leaders.  Lessons certainly sting.  And they should indeed sting our national conscious.

Hunt provides a full perspective to the war. The most noted was the last chapter “Outcomes and Verdicts” that include the famous confrontation between Robert McNamara and Vo Nguyen Giap and Nguyen Co Thach in 1995.

The focus of French colonialism opens the book stretching back to 1861 and the coming rise of independence and revolution against French colonial rule throughout Indo-China. Hunt appears to have leveraged the resources also presented in the Pentagon Papers to tell an accurate story of our 30 year war in Vietnam.