Why The North Won The Vietnam War

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In this new collection of essays on the Vietnam War, eminent scholars of the Second Indochina conflict consider several key factors that led to the defeat of the United States and its allies. The book adopts a candid and critical look at the U.S.’s stance and policies in Vietnam, and refuses to condemn, excuse, or apologize for America’s actions in the conflict. Rather, the contributors think widely and creatively about the varied reasons that may have accounted for the U.S.’s failure to defeat the North Vietnamese Army, such as role played by economics in America’s defeat. Other fresh perspectives on the topic include American intelligence failure in Vietnam, the international dimensions of America’s defeat in Vietnam, and the foreign policy of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...offer[s] a good deal of fresh thinking about the war..."—Ruud van Dijk, H-World H-Net Reviews

"...it suggests the insights that can be gained by moving beyond the American perspective."—Charles E. Neu, Naval War College Review

"...a fine and well-written study particularly suited for undergraduate and graduate student instruction."—Erik B. Villard, Jourbanal of Military History

"The well-written scholarly essays in this collection concentrate on what North Vietnam did right."—M. O'Donnell, Choice

"A distinguished group of scholars help disentangle the military and political legacies of the Vietnam War. The essays provide explanations for the war's outcome and are sure to provoke further dialogue on these judgments of historical winners and losers." —Professor Larry Berman, author of No Peace No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger and Betrayal in Vietnam ; Director, Universiy of California Washington D.C. Center

"For too long scholars have chewed over the wrong question, ‘why the U.S. lost the Vietnam War,’ as though the war was ours only to win or lose. The victors obviously had something to do with the outcome. These essays take a fresh and different look by turbaning the issue on its head. Why the North Won the Vietnam War gives rise to new thinking and some interesting answers. Marc Gilbert's Introduction is an excellent overview, and he and nine other scholars lay out the root causes of North Vietnam's victory. I highly recommend this book." —Joseph L. Galloway, co-author, We Were Soldiers Once...and Young and Triumph Without Victory: The History of the Persian Gulf War

"Marc Jason Gilbert has assembled an impressive group of scholars, each of whom provide well-written and well-informed analyses of the key causes of the failure of American policy in Vietnam." —Dr. Herbert Schandler, Colonel U.S. Army (ret), National Defense University, College of Industrial Warfare; co-author, Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy

"What a wonderful collection! The scholars involved define the field and the topics are original. My whole analysis of the war has been refined by the essays in this book. It will be indispensable to those of us working on Vietnam for a long time to come." —Robert Buzzanco, University of Houston

Library Journal
Editor Gilbert (North Georgia Coll. and State Univ.; The Vietnam War on Campus) has brought together nine leading authorities on Vietnam to discuss the difficult issue of how a superpower was defeated by a nominally inferior Third World state. While many academic libraries may exercise caution in these economically stressful times in purchasing expensive collections of essays, this particular work deserves a second glance. Scholars such as Jeffrey Record, George C. Herring, William J. Duiker, and John Prados and their colleagues in this volume provide both depth and breadth to any discussion of the wars in mid-century Southeast Asia, and their attempts at clarifying the factors behind North Vietnamese success and U.S. and South Vietnamese failure will certainly elevate scholarly debate on the topic. This formidable collection covers foreign and domestic policy, military tactics and strategy, and the usually neglected cultural questions surrounding the fall of South Vietnam to the Communist North. A valuable addition to academic libraries.-John R. Vallely, Siena Coll. Lib., Loudonville, NY
Studies from an October 2000 conference held at Gettysburg College look at international dimensions of the Vietnam War, analyze the role of American and Vietnamese military performance, economic influences on the war, and the role of the American home front. Some specific topics include intelligence in Vietnam, the foreign policy of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and how America's military performance aided and abetted the North's victory. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312295271
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 5/1/2002
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc Jason Gilbert is professor of history at North Georgia College and State University. His books include The Vietnam War: Teaching Approaches and Resources ; The Tet Offensive ; and The Vietnam War On Campus: Other Voices, More Distant Drums.

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Acronyms
Preface - Earl H. Tilford, Jr.
Introduction - Marc Jason Gilbert
• 1. Victory by Other Means: The Foreign Policy of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam - William J. Duiker
• 2. Fighting Without Allies: The International Dimensions of America's Defeat in Vietnam - George C. Herring
• 3. How America's Own Military Performance in Vietnam Aided and Abetted the "North's" Victory - Jeffrey Record
• 4. How the South Won the American War in Vietnam - Robert K. Brigham
• 5. Impatience, Illusion and Asymmetry: Intelligence in Vietnam - John Prados
• 6. The Cost of Losing the "Other" War - Marc Jason Gilbert
• 7. The Economic Causes and Legacies of the American Defeat in Vietnam - Andrew J. Rotter
• 8. "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh is Gonna Win!" - Marilyn Young
• 9. Hall of Mirrors - Lloyd C. Gardner
• About the Authors
• Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2004

    Excellent book

    This is an excellent book. Each of the essays is thought provoking in how they seek to explain how the North won the Vietnam war. All bases are covered- diplomacy, military strategy, politics, and cultural factors. The essays look at the war from more of a Northern perspective, explaining what they did right. An excellent choice for anyone who wants to understand more about the war.

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