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Vietnam's American War
A History

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Part of Cambridge Studies in US Foreign Relations

  • Date Published: January 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107510500

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About the Authors
  • Communist forces in the Vietnam War lost most battles and suffered disproportionally higher casualties than the United States and its allies throughout the conflict. The ground war in South Vietnam and the air war in the North were certainly important in shaping the fates of the victors and losers, but they alone fail to explain why Hanoi bested Washington in the end. To make sense of the Vietnam War, we must look beyond the war itself. In his new work, Pierre Asselin explains the formative experiences and worldview of the men who devised communist strategies and tactics during the conflict, and analyzes their rationale and impact. Drawing on two decades of research in Vietnam's own archives, including classified policy statements and reports, Asselin expertly and straightforwardly relates the Vietnamese communist experience - and the reasons the war turned out the way it did.

    • Presents the most comprehensive history of the Vietnamese experience in the Vietnamese War to date - most treatments focus on American experience
    • Maps, timelines, glossaries, and illustrations illuminate the fine details of the war in an accessible manner
    • The author's immersion in Vietnamese-language sources ensures that Vietnamese perspectives are featured throughout
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    • Winner, 2018 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

    Reviews & endorsements

    'An informative, impressive, and invaluable study of North Vietnam's conduct of its war with the United States. A major contribution!' George C. Herring, University of Kentucky

    'Finally a concise, penetrating, and insightful account of the Vietnam War as seen from the other side. Relying on a wealth of new Vietnamese sources, Pierre Asselin does what few have ever achieved: he has provided a highly readable general history of communist Vietnam's "American War.' Christopher Goscha, Université du Québec à Montréal

    'From the fog of a bitter and divisive thirty-year war, Pierre Asselin stands at the forefront of scholars helping to illuminate the reasons North Vietnam prevailed in its American War. Vietnamese history, personalities, politics, military strategies, and transcending ideologies are brilliantly distilled in this insightful analysis of war, its aftermath, and the eventual peace.' Larry Berman, University of California, Davis

    'Through extensive use of Vietnamese language sources, Pierre Asselin’s valuable and perceptive explanation of the war - its origins, conduct, outcome, and legacy - provides a long-needed analysis centering on Hanoi from start to finish and on how this small nation prevailed in a test of wills with the powerful United States.' David L. Anderson, California State University, Monterey Bay

    'Professor Asselin expertly and straightforwardly relates the Vietnamese communist experience - and the reasons the war turned out the way it did. Offering a unique and impressively informed and informative perspective, Vietnam's American War: A History is an extraordinary study of exceptional scholarship and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Vietnam War collections and supplemental studies lists.' Midwest Book Review

    'It is an extraordinary piece of scholarship, with revelations in every chapter.' History Today

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107510500
    • length: 316 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus. 5 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: why Vietnam matters
    1. From Dai Viet to the August Revolution
    2. French War, 1945–54
    3. Interwar period, 1954–65
    4. American war, 1965–68
    5. American war, 1968–73
    6. Civil war, 1973–75
    Epilogue. Legacies
    Annotated bibliography

  • Author

    Pierre Asselin, San Diego State University
    Pierre Asselin is Professor of History and Dwight E. Stanford Chair in American Foreign Relations at San Diego State University. His books include A Bitter Peace: Washington, Hanoi, and the Making of the Paris Agreement (2002) and Hanoi's Road to the Vietnam War, 1954-1965 (2013). He is co-editor of the forthcoming The Cambridge History of the Vietnam War, Volume III: Endings.


    • Winner, 2018 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

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