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Vietnam Reading List

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  • #31
    A Better War is an excellent read.

    And, A Bright Shining Lie as mentioned above is also excellent.



    • #32
      I would like to echo Fall's Street Without Joy.

      I would also like to recommend:

      Small Unit Action in Vietnam Summer 1966 by Captain Francis J. West, Jr., USMCR. The title speaks for itself.
      Summons of the Trumpet, by Dave Richard Palmer. A very solid and interesting overview of the war, beginning to end.
      Our Own Worst Enemy by Richard Lederer. Critical assessment of what was being done right, and wrong, from the early period when it could have made a difference.
      The End of the Line: The Seige of Khe Sanh by Robert Pisor. Short book, but it covers the topic well. You can get some perspective on the importance of this series of battles by reading both Fall and Jules Roy's books on Dien Bien Phu.
      Decent Interval by Frank Snepp. Insider account of the end of the war, and fall of S. Vietnam by a CIA analyst.
      Platoon Leader by Frank McDonough. An excellent account of the development of a small unit leader. Consciously titled as a reference and homage to McDonald's Company Commander.
      Baptism: A Vietnam Memoir by Larry Gwin. Gwin was a company XO in the Ia Drang period; his company was in the lead at LZ Albany. His facility with the language is unmatched in this type of narrative. He goes from introspection to bald facts without a hitch. There are many decent personal narratives from Vietnam. I think that this is the best.


      • #33
        Let me add two from the other side:

        People's Army, People's War by Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap.
        Giap put out later books, some intended for consumption by educated, first-world readers with an eye towards history, but this one comes from the thick of the fight.
        A Viet Cong Memoir by Truong Nhu Tang. Troung turned his back on his upper class upbringing and eventually become Minister of Justice for the VC "Provisional Government." He grew disillusioned when, after the "liberation" of the South, the North simply absorbed the conquered territory without even the pretense of joint rule. Betrayed, Troung escaped and became a refugee.


        • #34
          And because the roots of the Vietnam war extend back into the Indochina War, a few from that period:

          Dinassaut by Capitaine de Corvette De Brossard.
          Riverine warfare. Appendices include drawings of the different types of French vessels, with a discussion of their armaments and other features.

          The French Navy in Indochina: Riverine and Coastal Forces,1945-54 by Charles W. Koburger, Jr.
          A slim book that briefly covers the period of French return, then goes on to introduce every aspect of the Naval effort in Indochina. From the difficulties of very long distance supply to the tensions between traditional blue water sailors and their green and brown water brethren, the French experience foreshadowed the American. Indeed, much of what is discussed here is echoed in current US tensions between "big war" and "little war" approaches to today's military.

          The Bronze Drums by Jean Lartéguy.
          Anything Lartéguy writes is worth reading. In this novel, he explores the complexities of partisan warfare in Laos.

          There are also a couple of large, but very useful, histories of the war.

          Histoire de la guerre d'Indochine by Général Yves Gras.
          One large volume covering the entire timeline and every aspect of the war, including logistics and OOB.

          La guerre d'Indochine by Lucien Bodard.
          Most commonly encountered in 5 separate volumes, each with their own subtitle (L'enlisement, L'illusion, L'humiliation, L'aventure, L'épuisement), part of this important work has also been published in English as The Quicksand War: Prelude to Vietnam.


          • #35
            Quite an extensive and impressive list of information to read.

            However, as a Vietnam Vet, I have never ever felt a need to read
            about those past days; and instead, have kept my memories in
            safe-keeping, and shared primarily with those "Brothers" who are
            members of the American Legion and/or the Veterans of Foreign Wars / V.F.W.

            I served in Vietnam 1970-1971, with the 2/11th ACR ( 2nd Battalion,
            11th Armored Cavalry Regiment ), as a "Black Horse Trooper".

            It is good to know that there are those who do wish to learn more
            about the Vietnam War; as that war seems to have always been
            treated more-or-less as a "red-headed stepchild" for various reasons.

            Keep up your quest for knowledge regarding the Viet War.
            __________________________________________________ _________


            • #36
              Reality Check

              "I served in Vietnam 1970-1971, with the 2/11th ACR ( 2nd Battalion, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment ), as a "Black Horse Trooper".

              2nd Battalion? Fcuk him. Try SQUADRON. Either he needs a book lesson in his own unit's lineage or a poseur. Either way he's a turd.

              Wonder what his American Legion or VFW "brothers" think of him?
              "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
              "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs


              • #37
                Wow. He didn't last long.

                If it's Vietnam "fiction" you're looking for, I recommend "The 13th Valley", by John M . Del Vecchio; semi-autobiographical novel.
                "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge


                • #38
                  The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien

                  Semi autobiographical connected short stories about the War.

                  If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home, by Tim O'Brien

                  Autobiographical account of participating in the War, despite opposing it before participating.