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The first full-length history of the Vietnam War based on primary sources, this reference spans three decades, from the first rumblings against the French to the American intervention and ultimate withdrawal. A Time for War paints a brilliant political, diplomatic, and social portrait of the times. 10 illustrations. 432 pp. 15,000 print.
Schulzinger (History/Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) offers no new theory on why the US fought in Vietnam nor why this country came out on the losing end. But he has a different objective: offering a "compendium of the current state of scholarship on the Vietnam War." Leaning heavily on State Department cables, White House memoranda, and other primary sources, Schulzinger offers a strongly researched, cleanly written, chronological look at Vietnam and an analysis of why the war effort failed. In the main, he agrees with the assessment of former secretary of state Dean Rusk, who believed that the Vietnamese communists prevailed because American policymakers underestimated the will of the North Vietnamese and overestimated the patience of the American people. Schulzinger also believes that, given the tenacity of the enemy and the severe political and military shortcomings of our South Vietnamese ally, the war was unwinnable for America. Schulzinger asks rhetorically what the US could have done to win, given the realities of the time. The answer: "Nothing." Among the book's many strong points is Schulzinger's dispassionate analysis of the antiwar movement, in which he addresses the still hotly debated question of whether the protests helped end the war or prolonged it by comforting the enemy. The antiwar movement "did not end the war in Vietnam, but it did alter, almost irrevocably, the perceptions of ordinary citizens of their society and their government; it also altered the perceptions of leaders toward the public."
The first of a projected two-volume set; volume II will cover the Vietnam War's political, economic, social, and cultural legacies.
"Schulzinger succeeds in recapitulating the political and social atmosphere of the 1960s in the United States, as its leaders and people coped with an increasingly frustrating conflict. Particularly useful is the author's examination, based on much new information, of the often acrimonious debates with the government. But the tone of the volume is not argumentative or strident; on the contrary, Schulzinger, a noted historian of twentieth-century U.S. foreign relations, shows empathy with all the actors in the drama. There are no particular heroes or villians in his story; they are all, in this book, ordinary human beings trying to do what is best but ending up with an increasing sense of helplessness. Thus the book offers a wonderfully crafted saga of the Vietnam war era."--Akira Iriye, Professor of History, Harvard University
|1||Long Time Passing: The Vietnamese, the French, and the Americans to 1946||3|
|2||The Vietminh, the French, and the Americans: 1946-1950||23|
|3||"The Fatal Weakness": May 1950-April 1954||44|
|4||"Good Intentions, a Clear Conscience, and to Hell with Everybody": May 1954-December 1960||69|
|5||From Support to Intervention: 1961-1963||97|
|6||To the Brink - And Beyond: 1963-1964||124|
|7||Days of Reckoning: August 1964-July 1965||154|
|8||Fighting the War: 1965-1967||182|
|9||Bringing the War Home: 1964-1967||215|
|11||Richard Nixon's War: 1969-1973||274|
|12||The Bitter End: 1973-1975||305|
|Conclusion: The United States and Vietnam at War||328|