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The Vietnam War Reexamined


Part of Cambridge Essential Histories

  • Date Published: December 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107628175

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About the Authors
  • Going beyond the dominant orthodox narrative to incorporate insight from revisionist scholarship on the Vietnam War, Michael G. Kort presents the case that the United States should have been able to win the war, and at a much lower cost than it suffered in defeat. Presenting a study that is both historiographic and a narrative history, Kort analyzes important factors such as the strong nationalist credentials and leadership qualities of South Vietnam's Ngo Dinh Diem; the flawed military strategy of 'graduated response' developed by Robert McNamara; and the real reasons South Vietnam collapsed in the face of a massive North Vietnamese invasion in 1975. Kort shows how the US commitment to defend South Vietnam was not a strategic error but a policy consistent with US security interests during the Cold War, and that there were potentially viable strategic approaches to the war that might have saved South Vietnam.

    • Provides a thorough overview of the revisionist case on the Vietnam War
    • Summarizes the main debates surrounding the Vietnam War, analyzing important factors that are often neglected in standard surveys
    • Highlights the differences between revisionist commentators, showing alternative actions the US might have taken during the Vietnam War
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In this splendid book, Michael G. Kort provides the first comprehensive synthesis of the 'revisionist' interpretations of the Vietnam War. Through deft analysis and penetrating logic, he explains how and why these challenges to conventional wisdom are reshaping views of one of America's most momentous and controversial experiences. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of the Vietnam War.' Mark Moyar, author of Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954–1965

    'Scholarship on the Vietnam War in recent years has broadened and deepened beyond the bailiwick of Hanoi's wartime propaganda. This book is a good guide to the issues currently in play between the 'orthodox' legacies of the anti-war movement and 'revisionist' perspectives arising from a new generation of researchers.' K. W. Taylor, Cornell University

    'Michael Kort lays out in great detail the major competing narratives in the historiography of the war. In a very even-handed way, he compares and contrasts the orthodox and revisionist perspectives on the war and associated issues. This is book is very well done and is strongly recommended for students, teachers, and anyone else interested in the competing interpretations of a war that had such a seminal impact on this country and, in many ways, still does today.' James H. Willbanks, author of A Raid Too Far: Operation Lam Son 719 and Vietnamization in Laos

    'In this book, Michael G. Kort ably summarizes and contrasts the orthodox and revisionist perspectives of the issues in play. In the process he makes a convincing case that US actions were consistent with its security interests during the wider Cold War, and that the Vietnam War could have been won had the US taken a different approach than the one imposed by Johnson and McNamara. This book belongs in every college course that deals with the Vietnam War.' D. M. Giangreco, author of Eyewitness Vietnam

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107628175
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • contains: 9 maps
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: understanding the Vietnam War
    1. The Vietnam War in history
    2. Vietnam 101: origins to 1946
    3. Vietnamese communism, 1920–1946
    4. America comes to Vietnam, 1954–1963
    5. The Americanization of the Vietnam War, 1963–1968
    6. The Vietnamization of the war and the 'lost victory'
    7. The Paris Peace Accords to Black April
    Summary and epilogue.

  • Author

    Michael G. Kort, Boston University
    Michael G. Kort is a Professor in the Social Sciences department of Boston University. He is the author of several books, including The Soviet Colossus: History and Aftermath (2010), The Columbia Guide to the Cold War (2001), and A Brief History of Russia (2008).

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