Not a Gentleman's War: An Inside View of Junior Officers in the Vietnam War

Not a Gentleman's War: An Inside View of Junior Officers in the Vietnam War

by Ron Milam
     
 

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Wars are not fought by politicians and generals—they are fought by soldiers. Written by a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, Not a Gentleman's War is about such soldiers—a gritty, against-the-grain defense of the much-maligned junior officer.

Conventional wisdom holds that the junior officer in Vietnam was a no-talent, poorly trained,

Overview

Wars are not fought by politicians and generals—they are fought by soldiers. Written by a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, Not a Gentleman's War is about such soldiers—a gritty, against-the-grain defense of the much-maligned junior officer.

Conventional wisdom holds that the junior officer in Vietnam was a no-talent, poorly trained, unmotivated soldier typified by Lt. William Calley of My Lai infamy. Drawing on oral histories, after-action reports, diaries, letters, and other archival sources, Ron Milam debunks this view, demonstrating that most of the lieutenants who served in combat performed their duties well and effectively, serving with great skill, dedication, and commitment to the men they led. Milam's narrative provides a vivid, on-the-ground portrait of what the platoon leader faced: training his men, keeping racial tensions at bay, and preventing alcohol and drug abuse, all in a war without fronts. Yet despite these obstacles, junior officers performed admirably, as documented by field reports and evaluations of their superior officers.

More than 5,000 junior officers died in Vietnam; all of them had volunteered to lead men in battle. Based on meticulous and wide-ranging research, this book provides a much-needed serious treatment of these men—the only such study in print—shedding new light on the longest war in American history.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Primarily useful to military history insiders, Vietnam War veterans, and advanced scholars. . . . Recommended.—Choice

A useful corrective to those histories denigrating the contributions of junior officers in Vietnam and a solid contribution of collective biography.—Army History

This book addresses an important topic and should become a standard work in the historiography of the war.—American Historical Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807837122
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
08/01/2012
Edition description:
1
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
629,740
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.70(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Meticulously documented and extremely readable, Not a Gentleman's War is a balanced and unbiased evaluation of American junior officer leadership in Vietnam. Milam's descriptions allow even those with little military experience to follow his arguments, and his comprehensive approach makes a unique contribution to Vietnam War historiography.—James H. Willbanks, author of Abandoning Vietnam: How America Left and South Vietnam Lost Its War

Meet the Author

Ron Milam is associate professor of military history at Texas Tech University. He served as an infantry advisor to Montagnard forces in the Vietnam War.

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