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Thread: Vietnam Reading List

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    Vietnam Reading List

    I'm several books into my Vietnam reading and would like to garner up any recommendations that others would have in terms of books that I'm missing, how to prioritize my wish list, and books that I should just avoid. Here's where I'm at in terms of what I've read, what I've got on deck (I've purchased but haven't read), and what I've got on my wish list (as you can see, my wish list grows faster than I can read ) based on some recommendations and from pulling off books from a course syllabus of a course I didn't take from a professor I had in grad school. I haven't listed the books in any particular order.

    Already read
    Amazon.com: The Army and Vietnam: Books: Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr.
    Amazon.com: A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam: Books: Lewis Sorley
    Amazon.com: America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975 with Poster: Books: George C Herring
    Amazon.com: A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam: Books: Neil Sheehan
    Amazon.com: Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam: Books: Peter J. Schoomaker,John A. Nagl
    Amazon.com: On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War: Books: Harry G. Summers
    Amazon.com: Vietnam: A History: Books: Stanley Karnow
    Amazon.com: The Ugly American: Books: William J. Lederer,Eugene Burdick
    Amazon.com: The Dynamics of Defeat: The Vietnam War in Hau Nghia Province: Books: Eric M. Bergerud

    On Deck
    Amazon.com: Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam: Books: H. R. McMaster
    Amazon.com: Street Without Joy: The French Debacle In Indochina (Stackpole Military History Series): Books: Bernard B. Fall,George C. Herring
    RAND | Reports | Bureaucracy Does Its Thing: Institutional Constraints on U.S.-GVN Performance in Vietnam (this is available via .pdf)
    Amazon.com: The Best and the Brightest: Books: David Halberstam
    Amazon.com: Vietnam: The Necessary War: A Reinterpretation of America's Most Disastrous Military Conflict: Books: Michael Lind

    Wish list
    Amazon.com: Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965: Books: Mark Moyar
    Amazon.com: Victory in Vietnam: The Official History of the People's Army of Vietnam,: Books: William J. Duiker,Merle L. Pribbenow
    Amazon.com: America in Vietnam: Books: Guenter Lewy
    Amazon.com: Phoenix and the Birds of Prey : The CIA's Secret Campaign to Destroy the Viet Cong: Books: Mark Moyar
    Amazon.com: The 25-Year War: America's Military Role in Vietnam: Books: Bruce Palmer
    Amazon.com: Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam: Books: Fredrik Logevall
    Amazon.com: Reporting Vietnam: Media and Military at War: Books: William M. Hammond
    Amazon.com: The "Uncensored War": The Media and Vietnam: Books: Daniel C. Hallin
    Amazon.com: Living Room War (Television Series): Books: Michael J. Arlen
    Amazon.com: How Democracies Lose Small Wars: State, Society, and the Failures of France in Algeria, Israel in Lebanon, and the United States in Vietnam: Books: Gil Merom
    Amazon.com: In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Lost War: Books: Tobias Wolff
    Amazon.com: The Sorrow of War (War Promo): Books: Bao Ninh
    Amazon.com: The Making of A Quagmire: Books: David Halberstam
    Amazon.com: Lost Victory: A Firsthand Account of America's Sixteen-Year Involvement in Vietnam: Books: William Colby
    Amazon.com: The Pentagon Papers: Books: George C Herring
    Amazon.com: The Vietnamese War: Revolution and Social Change in the Mekong Delta, 1930-1975 (Pacific Basin Institute Book): Books: David W. P. Elliott
    Amazon.com: Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers: Books: Daniel Ellsberg
    Amazon.com: The Blood Road: The Ho Chi Minh Trail and the Vietnam War: Books: John Prados
    Amazon.com: How We Won the War: Books: Vo Nguyen Giap
    Amazon.com: Following Ho Chi Minh: The Memoirs of a North Vietnamese Colonel: Books: Bui Tin
    Last edited by Shek; 09 Jan 08, at 16:30.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    WAB Cautioner of Poo Senior Contributor Debbie's Avatar
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    Quite the reading list - very good. I sent you a PM on a book that you should avoid and the reasons why.

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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Shek,

    Where do you get the time fella? Seriously!

    Looks like a pretty impressive list. I'm familiar with most of those texts either by personal experience or reputation, but there might be one or two more I can suggest that help to illuminate some or other aspect of the war. I'll get back to you soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Shek,

    Where do you get the time fella? Seriously!

    Looks like a pretty impressive list. I'm familiar with most of those texts either by personal experience or reputation, but there might be one or two more I can suggest that help to illuminate some or other aspect of the war. I'll get back to you soon.
    Remember, the majority are wish list items and not in the read category! As I stated, my eyes are bigger than my schedule, and with books like Sheehan's and Karnow's averaging 800 pages, it's certainly slow going.

    It may not be the most effective for retention, but between 20 pages per ice skating lesson and jazz/tap lesson, and reading for a bit before bedtime, I'm able to cruise through books like those in a few weeks. What I really need to be doing is spending the extra time to write up reviews for them so if I ever go back for a PhD, I don't have to recover ground that I've already covered before.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Shek,
    That is a formidable list, indeed! Makes me want to hop off the train of life at the next station, grab a half rack, hit the beach and read till I can't see straight! There are some fantastic personal narratives out there. Off the top of my head, the two best are The Sorrow of War, by Boa Ninh, and In Pharoah's Army, by Tobias Wolf. Ninh was a NVA infantryman, and Wolf was a young SF sergeant advising an ARVN artillary battallion. Certainly not academic history, but valuable reads nonetheless.
    Thanks,
    Cato

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    Quote Originally Posted by cato View Post
    Shek,
    That is a formidable list, indeed! Makes me want to hop off the train of life at the next station, grab a half rack, hit the beach and read till I can't see straight! There are some fantastic personal narratives out there. Off the top of my head, the two best are The Sorrow of War, by Boa Ninh, and In Pharoah's Army, by Tobias Wolf. Ninh was a NVA infantryman, and Wolf was a young SF sergeant advising an ARVN artillary battallion. Certainly not academic history, but valuable reads nonetheless.
    Thanks,
    Cato
    Those were additions to my wish list based on a post of yours from strategypage.com

    The media and Vietnam titles are prior additions based on recommendations from bigfella.

    I find myself looking forward to retirement and having time to dedicate to reading. Too bad that that's many decades off
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Padishah Shahanshah Senior Contributor xerxes's Avatar
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    Shek,

    Is your master's degree is in military history related field, and is your PhD is such a field??
    Last edited by Shek; 19 Mar 07, at 20:01. Reason: This newbie mod hit the edit instead of quote button :(
    If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery of gunpowder with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind. - Edward Gibbon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post

    I find myself looking forward to retirement and having time to dedicate to reading.
    Too bad that that's many decades off
    You may laugh about it now, but the time will come one day
    Semper in excretum. Solum profunda variat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glyn View Post
    You may laugh about it now, but the time will come one day
    I can't wait until the toughest decision for the day is whether to play golf or read
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Quote Originally Posted by xerxes View Post
    Shek,

    Is your master's degree is in military history related field, and is your PhD is such a field??
    Xerxes,

    I only have a MA, and it is in "Strategic Studies," which I would best describe as being a blend between military history and the policy world. I hope to pursue a PhD one day, but time will be my biggest constraint in that endeavor, as writing the dissertation is a full time job in and of itself.

    The biggest thing I learned in graduate school is that I actually know very little, and it's truly amazing to see the breadth and depth of thought/knowledge that some people possess.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Padishah Shahanshah Senior Contributor xerxes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    Xerxes,

    I only have a MA, and it is in "Strategic Studies," which I would best describe as being a blend between military history and the policy world. I hope to pursue a PhD one day, but time will be my biggest constraint in that endeavor, as writing the dissertation is a full time job in and of itself.

    The biggest thing I learned in graduate school is that I actually know very little, and it's truly amazing to see the breadth and depth of thought/knowledge that some people possess.
    If I ever do a phD it will be also in political science/history, or something related to that. Research is a lot of fun, espacially if you like what you are doing. But graduate degrees as great they are in terms depth of knowledge that they will give you, IMO they are quite useless. I have a master degree specialized in computational fluid dynamics for viscous flow. and I have yet to get employed. IMO graduate degrees are only good as hobby and as way to push oneself boundaries even further for one's satisfaction.
    If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery of gunpowder with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind. - Edward Gibbon

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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xerxes View Post
    If I ever do a phD it will be also in political science/history, or something related to that. Research is a lot of fun, espacially if you like what you are doing. But graduate degrees as great they are in terms depth of knowledge that they will give you, IMO they are quite useless. I have a master degree specialized in computational fluid dynamics for viscous flow. and I have yet to get employed. IMO graduate degrees are only good as hobby and as way to push oneself boundaries even further for one's satisfaction.

    Xerxes,

    As someone who is currently undertaking a PhD in history I would offer you some advice.....if I were not gibbering unintelligibly in a corner & talking to Elvin the sock puppet. imnotcrazyimnotcrazyimnotcrazyomnotcrazy.

    But seriously folks, a PhD is a magical learning experience and I have loved much (if not all) of the time I have spent so far. It does, however, take over your life. It is tough enough to do while holding down a job. I couldn't imagine what it would be like if I had a wife & kids.

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    Military Professional T_igger_cs_30's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    I can't wait until the toughest decision for the day is whether to play golf or read
    Oh thats an easy decision......when its light Golf............when its dark reading
    <img src=http://C:\Documents and Settings\Wayne Smith\My Documents\002...My Pictures border=0 alt= />FEAR NAUGHT

    Should raw analytical data ever be passed to policy makers?

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    In Memoriam Military Professional dave lukins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T_igger_cs_30 View Post
    Oh thats an easy decision......when its light Golf............when its dark reading
    So ,that's where I've been going wrong...Light,play...Dark,read..think I've got it now!!!

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    One book that gave me an insight into the Vietnam war was 'Chickenhawk' by ? Mason. It rang true from first to last page. The author was a helicopter pilot who flew the early model Bell UH-1 Iroquois 'Hueys' there.
    The US lost 2,711 Hueys in VN, with the vast majority (2,591) being from the US Army.
    (AH-1 Huey Cobras are not included in the above figures. 292 of these were lost also).
    Another book that impressed me was Thud Ridge by Col Jack Broughton. He flew the USAFs Republic F-105 Thunderchief . Designed for WW3s expected sophisticated environment, they were used as long-range, (mostly) low level bomb trucks and 397 didn't come back. The scale of that war was far greater than most people realise. All told, the aviation losses total no less than 8,588 machines.
    Semper in excretum. Solum profunda variat.

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