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Nam: A Photographic History

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The Vietnam War is without doubt one of the most significant events in the history of the United States. It remains the longest conflict ever fought by the U.S. armed forces and the longest war in modern history. More than 50,000 U.S. servicemen lost their lives during the struggle in Southeast Asia, but numbers alone cannot convey the impact of the war on the world's most powerful democracy. The tensions it created and the passions it unleashed threatened to tear the fabric of U.S. society and ultimately wrecked...

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Overview

The Vietnam War is without doubt one of the most significant events in the history of the United States. It remains the longest conflict ever fought by the U.S. armed forces and the longest war in modern history. More than 50,000 U.S. servicemen lost their lives during the struggle in Southeast Asia, but numbers alone cannot convey the impact of the war on the world's most powerful democracy. The tensions it created and the passions it unleashed threatened to tear the fabric of U.S. society and ultimately wrecked the political career of President Lyndon Johnson. The pernicious effect of the war on the U.S. armed forces would leave their reputation tarnished and sap their confidence, damage that would take years to repair.

NAM: A Photographic History is both a fascinating recapitulation of the war, exactly as the world experienced it, and an important work of reference for laymen and scholars alike.

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Editorial Reviews

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The struggle went on for so long that the name of the country changed; from Indo-China to Vietnam to North Vietnam and South Vietnam and then back again. As Edward R. Murrow noted, "Anyone who isn't confused really doesn't understand the situation." The giant-sized, 608-page photographic history of the Vietnam War tracks the conflict from its French colonial origins to the fierce guerilla war that cost the lives of more than 58,000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese. This masterpiece of photojournalism captures the full tides of a war we should never forget.

Publishers Weekly
Ray Bonds's The Vietnam War: The Illustrated History of the Conflict in Southeast Asia (Salamander Books) sets the bar very high for photojournalistic collections on the war. Coauthors Daugherty (Fighting Techniques of a U.S. Marine: 1941-1945), a military history professor at the online American Military University, and Mattson (The Pacific War: Campaigns of World War II), with a Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi, are outclassed by the competition. The book begins with "The Background," followed by one chapter per year for 1965-1975 and ends with a final section on the "Aftermath." Major scenes of fighting and bombing are dutifully described, without particular insight, including Laos, Hanoi, the Tet Offensive and Long Tan. Unattractively designed, the book contains over 700 color and b&w photos, a number of which are fuzzy, including an aggressively cropped version of one of the Vietnam War's most notorious images, the Pulitzer Prize-winning AP wire photo of a South Vietnamese general executing a Vietcong officer in Saigon. An equally fuzzy image of Robert F. Kennedy after he was shot in 1968 bears a caption that observes, among other things: "His killing was claimed to be a protest against the U.S. support for Israel." Most of the images are scenic, with a minimum of explicit gore and such gore as there is looks fake because of the poor color reproduction. The particularly outdated "Aftermath" section informs us that the failure of America's involvement in the Vietnam war made "bold foreign policy moves a thing of the past," which may be news to the current U.S. Department of Defense. Although the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., is shown in two photos (inadequately), its architect, Maya Lin, is not appreciably credited. The historical maelstrom of Vietnam deserves better. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Daugherty, a military historian and former editor of the Marine Corps Gazette, and Mattson (The Campaigns of World War II: The Pacific War) open their discussion of the Vietnam conflict with a chapter on its origins at the beginning of World War II. The next ten chapters then deal year by year with America's ten-year formal involvement in Vietnam, considering the tactics used and the implications on the home front. Hundreds of photographs and illustrations complement each chapter, but while this is essentially a photographic history, the authors have written an excellent narrative of America's longest conflict. The result sets the standard for illustrated histories of the Vietnam War. Recommended for all libraries. Page, a veteran photographer with UPI who was wounded several times in Vietnam, is the author of several books on the conflict there, including Tim Page's Nam. His current effort is not a history but instead presents the work of North Vietnamese photographers. The images included here were often used for propaganda purposes, so the reader must look for the real story. A narrative accompanying each photograph gives background on the photographer. Since the North Vietnamese photographers often worked under primitive conditions, most of the photographs are black and white. Still, the book breaks new ground by presenting the images (most never before published) of a former antagonist. This book will interest subject specialists but will have limited appeal in public libraries. Mark Ellis, Albany State Univ., GA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586630836
  • Publisher: Sterling Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/1/1901
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 9.19 (w) x 11.97 (h) x 2.95 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2002

    lack of naval support

    again i find that the navys part in the war was not very well covered.hardly a mention of the hundreds of ships that gave support not to mention the ones that were hit by enemy fire.the one photo of a ship during gunfire support was not the ship mentioned it was a heavy cruiser not the light cruiser mentioned.a poor history of the navys part.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2002

    Powerful collection of Vietnam War photos

    As a novice historian and a life-long Vietnam War buff, I find 'Nam: A Photographic History' to be a very compelling book. Vivid color photos, classic black and whites, along with indepth description of operations, personalities, and an obvious attention to detail make this an excellent addition to any US war history collection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2001

    Outstanding Piece of Work

    Nam, a photographic history, is absolutly outstanding, it gives you an incredible understanding of the actual combat operations in Vietnam throughout the entire war. The photagraphy is terrific as well, with very informative captions. Great book to add to your history collection.

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