Vietnam Labyrinth: Allies, Enemies, and Why the U.S. Lost the War

Overview


One of the few Vietnamese Army officers who also saw substantial service in Ho Chi Minh’s National Liberation Army against the French, Tran Ngoc Chau made a momentous and difficult decision after five years with the Viet Minh: he changed sides.
    Although his brother Tran Ngoc Hien remained loyal to the North, Chau’s Buddhist training and his disillusionment with aspects of the communists’ philosophies led him to throw his support to the nationalists and assist...
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Vietnam Labyrinth: Allies, Enemies, and Why the U.S. Lost the War

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Overview


One of the few Vietnamese Army officers who also saw substantial service in Ho Chi Minh’s National Liberation Army against the French, Tran Ngoc Chau made a momentous and difficult decision after five years with the Viet Minh: he changed sides.
    Although his brother Tran Ngoc Hien remained loyal to the North, Chau’s Buddhist training and his disillusionment with aspects of the communists’ philosophies led him to throw his support to the nationalists and assist the Americans. It was a decision that would cost him dearly when former military school colleague Nguyen Van Thieu, fearing a political rivalry, imprisoned Chau—by then a lieutenant colonel and the Secretary General of the National Assembly’s Lower House—despite popular sentiment and the support of Americans like John Paul Vann and Daniel Ellsberg.
    At every turn Chau stood on principle, however, opposing government corruption, refusing favoritism, and remaining steadfast in his dedication to democracy. His principles would cost him again when, after the fall of Saigon, he was imprisoned in a North Vietnamese re-education camp and even after release kept under continuous surveillance.
    His detailed memoir reveals an astute understanding of the Vietnamese political situation and national culture that failed to register with U.S. leaders—and offers valuable insights into how to cope with similar conflicts in the future.
            As Ellsberg has put it, “Vietnam Labyrinth is unmatched, both for its narrative and for lessons to be learned for our current interventions.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
More than 20 years in the making, this detailed memoir covers the author's long, eventful life that includes fighting against the French in the Viet Minh Army from 1945 to 1950, and much longer service on the other side as a solider and politician serving the national governments of South Vietnam fighting the communists. A fervent nationalist and devout Buddhist, Chau had become disillusioned, seeing Ho Chi Minh and other leaders as more committed to communist ideology than to the Vietnamese people. Chau rose to the upper echelons of the South Vietnamese government, but fell prey to the political machinations of his former close friend and was jailed on trumped-up charges. After the communist takeover in 1975, Chau was placed in draconian re-education camps until he and his family escaped to the U.S. in 1979. Chau offers thoughts on what the Americans did wrong during the Vietnam War with a list that includes arrogance; ignorance of Vietnamese history, society and culture; and the failure to gain the trust of the Vietnamese at the grassroots level. The book is clearly-if sometimes tiresomely -written. It contains a mountain of eyewitness testimony from a high-placed player in nearly every important military and political event that occurred in South Vietnam from the end of WWII until the communist victory in 1975. 10 B&w photos.
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From the Publisher

Chau's Vietnam Labyrinth is a remarkable story, well told, dramatic, and filled with insights on a complex war in its military, political, and human dimensions. Highly recommended.  —Lewis Sorley, author of Vietnam Chronicles and The Vietnam War
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780896727717
  • Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
  • Publication date: 1/18/2013
  • Series: Modern Southeast Asia Series Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 1,420,000
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.70 (d)

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