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The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Vietnam War

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2000

    Who's the REAL Idiot here?

    I purchased my copy of 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Vietnam War' this week. Most of the content is verifiable and true, and can be obtained from numerous resources, like the online Vietnam War Declassification Project, released in April, 2000. My problem with this book is the 'Dear Reader' part of the inner cover, where the author, Timothy Maga, attempts to explain what the book is about. His opening paragraph begins with these questions: 'The United States lost the Vietnam War. So why read a book about a bunch of losers?' Excuse me? All of us sandbagging, dope heads, too soft to fight types? To quote a TRUE hero, Former Secretary of the Navy, James Webb, writes 'Dropped onto the enemey's terrain 12,000 miles away from home, America's citizen-soldiers performed with a tenacity and quality that may never be truly understood. Those who believe the war was fought incompently on a tactical level should consider Hanoi's recent admission that 1.4 million of its soldiers died on the battlefield, compared to 58,000 total US dead. Those who believe that it was a 'dirty little war' where the bombs did all the work might contemplate that it was the most costly war the US Marine Corps has ever fought--five times as many dead in WW1, three times as many dead as in Korea, and more total killed and wounded than in all of WW2.' Sorry, Dr. Maga. I'm NOT a loser. I chose to participate, not observe, in the most pivotable event in my generation, and I'm not talking about Woodstock or landing on the moon. My Dad is a WW2 veteran who fought in the Pacific. To this day he is my best friend and confidant, and he is MY hero. In closing, let the buyer beware. Of all the 'Idiot' books I've read, this one is at the bottom. If you need to write a paper about Vietnam, wait for the Cliff Notes. Otherwise, you can do better with the bi-monthly magazine VIETNAM, founded by the late Col. Harry G. Summers, Jr., or Frank Snepp's once banned-by-the-CIA book, DECENT INTERVAL.

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