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Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975 Paperback – October 15, 2019

4.7 out of 5 stars 2,054 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“We’ve seen a shelf-load of histories, analyses, memoirs, and novels on Vietnam. But what Hastings does in Vietnam is pull all these genres together in a highly readable and vivid narrative that, I think, will become the standard on the war for many years to come.” -- NPR.org

“This is a comprehensive, spellbinding, surprisingly intimate, and altogether magnificent historical narrative.” -- Tim O’Brien, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Things They Carried

“This balanced and insightful book is a pleasure to read. It destroys the fantasy that one side or the other held the moral high ground or a monopoly on devastating folly.” -- Karl Marlantes, author of What It Is Like to Go to War and Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

“A gripping, well-researched look at a divisive American war.” -- New York Post

“A comprehensive and compelling narrative that illuminates political and military tactics and strategies — and the daily realities of a war that killed 2 million people.” -- Pittsburgh Post Gazette

From the Back Cover

Vietnam became the Western world’s most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle. He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the 1968 Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and much less familiar miniatures such as the bloodbath at Daido—where a US Marine battalion was almost wiped out—together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh’s warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed two million people.

 Many writers treat the war as a US tragedy, yet Hastings sees it overwhelmingly as one for the Vietnamese people, of whom forty died for every American. US blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings, and murders carried out by the communists. The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners’ victory in privation and oppression. Here we are given testimony from Vietcong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bar girls, and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, and Huey pilots from Arkansas. 

No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences in the fashion that Hastings’s readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle, and presents many lessons for the twenty-first century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges. In Vietnam, Hastings marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (October 15, 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 896 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0062405675
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0062405678
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 2.15 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 1.79 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 2,054 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
2,054 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on October 20, 2018
326 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on October 29, 2018
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157 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on October 30, 2018
186 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

John Sheldon
3.0 out of 5 stars And only just three stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 16, 2019
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93 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Disgraceful War
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 31, 2018
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58 people found this helpful
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D. Daws
5.0 out of 5 stars Vietnam: An Epic History of a Divisive war
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 5, 2018
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27 people found this helpful
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Patrick Patton
5.0 out of 5 stars A clarification.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 30, 2018
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23 people found this helpful
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DAVID BRYSON
5.0 out of 5 stars NEITHER SIDE DESERVED TO WIN
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 25, 2018
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17 people found this helpful
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