Portrait of a Tragedy: America and the Vietnam War

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
While Warren's purported aim is to present an even-handed account of the Vietnam era for contemporary youngsters, this is not a clear-cut narrative history; it does not, unfortunately, differentiate sufficiently between versions of the ``facts'' for the uninformed reader. The book is best seen as historical interpretation with a clear point of view: America lacked the ``will'' to win. Warren notes that ``some have called the actions of antiwar activists treasonous, and not without justification.'' In the final chapter, he reviews the ``theories that have been put forth to explain how the United States was humiliated by North Vietnam.'' Warren believes that ``the intensity of our will . . . was kept deliberately low''; he further asserts that Americans ``were never presented with a clear objective that seemed worthy of the sacrifice necessary to win.'' Adults who agree with this view may term this work an eloquent survey; opponents may find it skewed. The book would have been enhanced by a more inclusive glossary and a pronunciation guide. Ages 10-up. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-- Warren's premise--that the prolonged conflict in Vietnam was a tragedy for all concerned--is reflected in this evenhanded account. He opens with background about Vietnam and a description of how the U. S. got involved there, stressing that the cold war political climate often influenced our actions as much as the events in Southeast Asia. He then covers the conflict in some detail, describing military operations in Vietnam and their effects there and in the U. S. Using historical material available since the war, Warren describes the North and South Vietnamese people, the antiwar movement in the U. S., and the legacy of the war to help young readers understand the complexity of the conflict. He writes clearly and is objective throughout, describing both sides of many controversies, issues, and actions. This is an attractive oversized volume with wide margins; large black-and-white photographs; and a clean, open look. Maps and diagrams illustrate places and events; the suggested reading list offers titles at a variety of reading levels. This book lacks the detail of the four-volume ``War in Vietnam'' series (Childrens) by Wright, but it will have a wider audience. An unbiased presentation that puts the Vietnam conflict into historical perspective. --Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688074548
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/1990
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 10 years

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