Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on October 10, 2016
This book explains the period of the Vietnam war after Westmoreland, focusing on the leadership of General Abrams. This is a period of the war that was largely uncovered in Hollywood movies other distortions of the war. The book makes a point to show that Westmoreland largely squandered American popular support for the war, and ignored the ARVN. Abrams came in at at time when everything about the war was shown in a negative light. He turned the ARVN into a highly effective, fighting force able to utilize modern methods. Abrams was winning the war. Under his watch, the Americans were being pulled out, while the ARVN was being ramped up. Nixon's programs of Vietnamization and pacification were actually shown to be working. By 1972, the North Vietnamese were largely defeated, and undertook no new offensives until 1975, after they had time to rebuild their military, and after they realized the Americans would no longer be giving any asssistance to the South. This book allows one to fully realize the tragedy. We gave massive amounts of military equipment to the South Vietnamese, then cut off all further support. Most of the equipment sat with no fuel, no ammunition, waiting to be appropriated by the communists.. The ARVN were buying hand grenades out of their own pocket money. By 1973, we could have allowed the South to defend themselves, with a fraction of the investment that was spent in previous years. But by then, Nixon was demonized, and Congress was out to shut him down, at all cost, regardless of the cost to the country, and to our commitments to foreign allies. Although we did not see the bloodbath that the right had threatened would occur, we did see that the communists were far from the freedom fighters the left made them out to be. They were opportunists, and they fully used the victory to line their own pockets, and to take whatever they wanted from South Vietnam. The "workers utopia" that they promised never came close to materializing, and the poor farmers who gave so much to the NLF were never even allowed to participate in the "new" (old) government. The South was taken over and run by Northern war heroes, many of whom had little education. The war veterans were hunted down and executed or put into prison camps to waste away to death, or be released 10-20 years later. The former viet cong got nothing more than to be allowed to march as odd rag tag soldiers at the tail end of May Day parades. The suffering in the South after the war was great, leading to hundreds of thousands risking their lives, and losing their lives attempting to escape. The author makes the point that life was generous to Abrams in that he died before seeing what happened to the Vietnam that he worked so hard to save.
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