The Vietnam War: An Intimate History Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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From the award-winning historian and filmmakers of The Civil War, Baseball, The War, The Roosevelts, and others: a vivid, uniquely powerful history of the conflict that tore America apart - the companion volume to the major multipart PBS film to be aired in September 2017.
More than 40 years after it ended, the Vietnam War continues to haunt our country. We still argue over why we were there, whether we could have won, and who was right and wrong in their response to the conflict. When the war divided the country, it created deep political fault lines that continue to divide us today. Now, continuing in the tradition of their critically acclaimed collaborations, the authors draw on dozens and dozens of interviews in America and Vietnam to give us the perspectives of people involved at all levels of the war: US and Vietnamese soldiers and their families, high-level officials in America and Vietnam, antiwar protestors, POWs, and many more. The book plunges us into the chaos and intensity of combat, even as it explains the rationale that got us into Vietnam and kept us there for so many years. Rather than taking sides, the book seeks to understand why the war happened the way it did and to clarify its complicated legacy. Beautifully written, this is a tour de force that is certain to launch a new national conversation.
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|Listening Length||31 hours and 15 minutes|
|Author||Geoffrey C. Ward, Ken Burns|
|Narrator||Ken Burns, Fred Sanders, Brian Corrigan|
|Audible.com Release Date||September 05, 2017|
|Publisher||Random House Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #14,129 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#5 in Southeast Asian History
#16 in Vietnam War
#21 in Southeast Asia History
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Top reviews from the United States
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In some respects the book gives a better account of the developing history than the film it is a “companion” to. The reader will get a much better understanding of the changing Vietnamese government as the French desperately attempted to establish some sort of legitimacy within Vietnam and the transition of that government into the Republic of Vietnam under Diem.
I think this book will become a standard text on the history of the Vietnam War but I do have a criticism. My quibble is with a relatively small portion of the text and it really has nothing to do with the story. That is my quibble…
“Kennedy and What Might Have Been.” Why is this chapter included in this book? I find it interesting that after reviewing the diverse panoply of historiography Burns and Ward could not stay away from one of the counterfactual, what-if, perspectives that seems to be a real favorite among some historians: Kennedy would not have gone full and outright war on Vietnam. He was too smart, he was too good a guy, Camelot and all that. Well Kennedy might have inherited the war from Truman and Eisenhower but he is the one who began to Americanize the war. He is the one who sent something like seventeen thousand American military personal to operate as advisors to the RVNAF. He sent helicopter companies with the necessary pilots and crews. Americans were now directly involved in combat operations. Americans were dying in Vietnam and Kennedy kept all that secret from the American public. That is a big commitment to walk away from. American prestige was on the line and Kennedy had made several eloquent speeches proclaiming that America would “pay any price” to defend against communist aggression. After Truman, many Americans automatically believed that Democrats were reflexively soft on communism; it was in their political DNA. For Kennedy to walk away from Vietnam after ramping up the military commitment and eliminating Diem would have raised a big political ruckus. He would have had some explaining to do. History would also have viewed him harshly after supporting the coup and murder of Diem and his brother only to walk away from the mess that policy created. Diem’s blood is on Kennedy’s hands. I do happen to think Kennedy to have been a good president: the Peace Corps, commitment to land a man on the moon and bring him home alive; but please stop with the Kennedy was too pure, good and foresighted enough to involve America in a shooting war in Asia. This chapter is nothing more than fantasy. It is not history, it is fable. And, my only criticism of Mr Burns work: this is an example of ax-grinding, not the impartial umpire calling balls and strikes (two metaphors Burns frequently used during the speaking tour, in the run-up to release of the film, to characterize his approach). Truman, made a tremendous mistake by supporting French colonialism. Eisenhower supported that same mistake then went all-in with Diem. Johnson sent in the ground troops and ramped up the death and destruction. But we should give ol’ Kennedy a pass because he would have…We don’t know what he would have done! We know what he did and it was an exponential increase over what his predecessors had allowed. He gets no pass from me.
Since this is really not part of the story it can be ignored and does not change my rating of this monumental work.
The Vietnam War was a tragic mistake of enormous proportions. The death and destruction wrought, ending in failure, allows very little redeeming consequence. We did learn some important lessons but those lessons are easily forgotten. Ken Burns and his partner Lynn Novick would like to start a new conversation about the war. I think that can only be a good thing. I really hope it happens, even if on a small scale. We need to review the lessons to be learned from that awful war.
I am glad of one thing. We seem to have thoroughly learned to not blame our valiant warriors for the blunders of our leaders.
Top reviews from other countries
It can all get too much sometimes; once or twice I just wanted a chapter to end so the narrative could move forward. Stick with it though; it's a rewarding journey.