On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War

Overview

Summer's inspired analysis of America's war in Vietnam answers the most pressing questions remaining from that terrible conflict more than a decade before Robert McNamara's painful admissions.
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On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War

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Overview

Summer's inspired analysis of America's war in Vietnam answers the most pressing questions remaining from that terrible conflict more than a decade before Robert McNamara's painful admissions.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780891415633
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 817,450
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2002

    Learning from our past

    Col Summers takes a unique approach to the war in Vietnam by focusing on the actual battles of the war; he discusses the strategy and the thinking behind the war. There are many opinions concerning our defeat in the Vietnam War, and Col Summers is not any different in that respect. However, he clearly distinguishes between the "tactical" and the "strategic" aspects of war. The first being battlefield confrontation (e.g., Tet 68) and the latter being everything that leads up to the conflict, and how the actual war is carried out (e.g., making sure that there is a clear objective). He disagrees with the ideas that our troops were ill trained and stupid, giving some compelling arguments to support his theory that the war was carried out with the best tactics on the American side. First, after Tet 68, the Viet Cong were at twenty- percent strength. Second, both the major offensives of North Vietnam, Tet 68 and the 1972 invasion, were horrible failures of the opposing forces; it was not until we pulled out of Vietnam did North Vietnam succeed in 1975. Col Summers believes we did not know how to operate a successful strategic war; our preparation was fantastic but during the war it was mass confusion. Col Summers writes clearly and concisely and effectively brings across his point; he does not mess around with lengthy and hard to understand jargon. In his conclusion he argues the Vietnam Conflict was not lost because of bad tactical or logistical planning but because of poor strategic planning. The U.S. had done everything it set out to do. It had provided supplies and munitions for more than a million personnel several thousands of miles from home with great success. The military fought and won nearly every engagement with the enemy, causing severe defeat in both dead and wounded North Vietnamese. However, the goals of the U.S. were too vague and generic to provide a reasonable expectation of victory. If the U.S. wanted success in the future, the civilian and military strategists must work together after determining specific goals and provide flexibility when the scenes and situations changed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2000

    One Of The Finest Critiques On Vietnam War!

    A masterful book about the blunders of a limited war established by the mistakes of Harry Truman in Korea and copied by LBJ 10 years later. The author outlines all of the questions that cannot be easily answered. How do you end a war once it started? How do you justify the costs in blood and money? And How do you define victory? The writer seems to say, Limited War is like Marriage, easy to get into and hard to exit. The book will enlighten every reader and all American politician responsible for foreign policy should read it. A Superb book for students, professors and men and women in power.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2011

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