Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History


The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War formidably chronicles this upheaval, providing a wealth of perspective and history in one definitive source." "This abridged edition of Tucker's 3-volume encyclopedia maintains the authority and comprehensive scope of the critically-acclaimed original. Providing in-depth discussion of the tumultuous early history of Vietnam as well as the beginnings of U.S. involvement, more than 80 international historians explore the major socio-political and military events of the war in ...
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The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War formidably chronicles this upheaval, providing a wealth of perspective and history in one definitive source." "This abridged edition of Tucker's 3-volume encyclopedia maintains the authority and comprehensive scope of the critically-acclaimed original. Providing in-depth discussion of the tumultuous early history of Vietnam as well as the beginnings of U.S. involvement, more than 80 international historians explore the major socio-political and military events of the war in more than 900 alphabetically arranged entries and 39 primary source documents. Unlike other reference works with little consideration of the Vietnamese people, this encyclopedia includes contributions by Vietnamese scholars and features balanced biographies of the leaders of both sides, including Ho Chi Minh, Le Doc Thu, Ngo Dinh Diem, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Entries also illuminate the major weapons systems, military strategies, and tactics employed in addition to specific air, land, and sea initiatives and battles. Readers may be surprised to learn of the prominent use of helicopters in the offensives and the extent of U.S. bombing - nearly 8 million tons of ordnance dropped from 1963 to 1972. Major battles are discussed in detail, with principal units and key individuals on both sides identified and the strategic implications clearly noted. With balanced coverage of the domestic front, entries by U.S. scholars also explain pro- and anti-war sentiments of the era and their dynamic impact on American music, art, and politics. This volume also includes 39 primary documents on the history of the Vietnam conflict - from the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution to the ParisPeace Agreement.

"This encyclopedia is unique for its comprehensive coverage of the military, social, and political aspects of the Vietnam War. There are clear articles on military tactics and weapon systems, detailed biographies with particularly thorough coverage of the Communist leaders analytical articles describing the contributions of various nations, antiwar movement, and military strategy. Each entry has a substantial bibliography, as well as see-also references. Volume three consists of a documentary history of the war, including government memos, military telegrams, speeches, policy statements, and the logs of phone conversations. The comprehensive scope and depth of this encyclopedia make it a valuable addition to any academic or public library."--"Outstanding Reference Sources : the 1999 Selection of New Titles", American Libraries, May 1999. Comp. by the Reference Sources Committee, RUSA, ALA.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Rachelle Bilz
Broad in scope and exhaustive in coverage, this encyclopedic set is an invaluable resource on the Vietnam conflict. With more than 900 entries, 150 primary source documents, 150 photographs, 22 maps, and more than 80 contributors, Tucker has provided a superb single source about Vietnam containing a plethora of information. Volumes I and II contain an alphabetical listing of topics. Each signed entry is followed by bibliographical references and cross-references to other topics in the set. Volume II ends with two selected bibliographies; "Nonfiction Works" and "Literature and Film." This volume also contains a glossary and a "Chronology of Events Touching Vietnam through April, 1975" that begins in 2878 B.C. Volume III contains documents and speeches from December 1920 through July
This large volume is a useful and dependable reference source for the war in Vietnam and its ramifications in the U.S. at the time. The book is laid out in a straightforward manner: subject matters are listed alphabetically and arranged in easy-to-read columns. Each of the numerous entries is signed by the author and, best of all, is followed by a list of sources. The layout facilitates browsing and casual reading, but cross-references would be useful. The quality of any encyclopedia of this nature depends upon the abilities of the editor and the intellectual integrity of its contributors. Spencer Tucker holds a chair in military history at VMI and this volume was clearly organized and edited by a professional historian. Tucker casts a wide net, and his interests extend far beyond the battlefield. The military side of the war is covered well, indeed—virtually every battle and military operation is explained, and the weaponry, tactics and aircraft are well described. But the unending frustrations of the far-away war came to have enormous effects upon the American public as well, and the encyclopedia is careful to identify the domestic political and social aspects in great detail. The final section consists of a well-chosen collection of primary source documents that allow readers to reconstruct much of the era for themselves. Like many overviews, this one is not so much about the Vietnam War itself as it is a study of the American involvement in that war. Even within those bounds, the encyclopedia's coverage is sometimes a little uneven. The entries for President Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara are disappointingly sketchy, and little larger than the space allotted to lesserfigures. A few of the subject choices seem to be of marginal interest or importance, such as the war's effect upon poetry and letters. One annoying feature is that the book's contributors are named but never identified, so it is often hard to see their connection to each subject. Aside from these quibbles, though, this is an excellent reference source for school and public libraries. Category: History & Geography. KLIATT Codes: SA*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1998, Oxford Univ. Press, 578p. maps. bibliog. index., $25.00. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Raymond L. Puffer; Ph.D., Historian, Edwards Air Force Base, CA SOURCE: KLIATT, March 2002 (Vol. 36, No. 2)
Library Journal
Tucker (military history, Virginia Military Inst.) has condensed his highly praised three-volume encyclopedia of the war into one affordable book. It contains more than 900 entries, many by major scholars of the conflict like Robert Brigham, and over 70 key documents. Tucker has condensed intelligently by keeping most of the original entries and eliminating some technical detail; for example, the entry on booby traps is reduced from seven paragraphs to three without losing its essential meaning. In some ways, Tucker's work is superior to its main competitor, Stanley Kutler's Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War (LJ 1/97). Tucker includes more entries on important Vietnamese and more detailed descriptions of military operations, as well as a document section. Kutler's work, however, has very helpful longer essays on such topics as Vietnamese history and the antiwar movement. Libraries owning the three-volume version need not purchase the condensation. But it certainly is an important work that will be of great value to teachers and students of the war. Recommended for public libraries.--Anthony Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, IN Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up--Providing interesting, well-researched articles on everything from the historical context to the important figures and key battles of this lengthiest of U.S. wars, this is a fine reference work that should be on every library shelf. The first two volumes contain more than 900 signed articles ranging in length from several paragraphs to several pages. Volume three provides a representative selection of documents pertaining to the war, beginning with a speech by Ho Chi Minh in 1920 and ending with President Clinton's announcement of normalization of diplomatic relations with Vietnam in 1995. These primary sources add enormous value to the set. The writing is clear, unbiased, and informative. While protesters, activists, and movements are covered (e.g., Bobby Seale, the Berrigan brothers, the Black Panthers), there are some omissions. (Sidney Schanberg and Dith Pran, whose story was the basis for the movie, The Killing Fields, are not included). Though the black-and-white photos are not indexed, most of the images are evocative, dramatic, and well chosen. Unfortunately, the cross-referencing is disappointing; for example, names like Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot are accessed by the first letter of the first name and students treating Minh or Pot as last names might miss these articles completely. Though this may not be the comprehensive encyclopedia it aspires to be, it is still the best there is on the subject.--Herman Sutter, Saint Pius X High School, Houston, TX
This three-volume set details French and U.S. involvement in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia and brings Vietnamese history up-to date with discussions of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam from 1975 through 1997. Volumes I and II contain about 900 entries accompanied by 149 b&w illustrations and 22 maps that include descriptions of warfare and weapons systems and a detailed order of battle; lengthy biographies of individuals, including many from the Communist side; analyses of the involvement and contributions of the various nations in the conflict and of the U.S. domestic front; information on early Vietnamese history; and discussions of Vietnam-related literature and film. Volume III features vital documents about the war as well as the index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher

"One of the outstanding features...is the attention given to the Vietnamese side, to the Vietnamese history and to the Vietnamese participants in the tragic events of the war."--Times Literary Supplement

"Insightful and carefully crafted to describe a debate rather than take sides in it....The 900-odd entries cover almost every imaginable aspect of the war and its impact on America, with a wealth of cultural and political context."--Washington Post

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874369830
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/18/1998
  • Pages: 1196
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.60 (h) x 3.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Spencer C. Tucker is Professor and holder of the John Biggs Chair in Military History at Virginia Military Institute. He served as a captain in Army Intelligence in 1966-67 and is the author of several books on military history, including Injured Honor: The Chesapeake-Leopard Affair of June 22, 1807. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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