America and Vietnam, 1954–1963

The Road to War

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About the Book

The conventional narrative of the Vietnam War often glosses over the decade leading up to the United States’ escalation of the ground war in the mid–1960s. Covering the years 1954–1963, this book presents a thought-provoking reexamination to the war’s long prelude, from the aftermath of French defeat at Dien Bien Phu through Hanoi’s decision to begin reunification by force to the assassination of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem. Established narratives of key events are given critical reappraisal and new light is shed on neglected factors. The strategic importance of Laos is revealed as central to understanding how the war in the South developed.

About the Author(s)

Michael M. Walker, Colonel USMC (Ret) served in the Marine Corps for 26 years as an infantry and intelligence officer to include three tours in the Pacific-East Asia region, one in Europe, and two in Southwest Asia. He lives in Meridian, Idaho.

Bibliographic Details

Michael M. Walker, Col., USMC (Ret.)
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 15 photos, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8955-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4751-7
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Michael Walker has written a truly groundbreaking, factual, unbiased and thoroughly researched history of the key years leading up to the beginning of the American phase of the Vietnam War.”—Col. Andrew R. Finlayson, USMC (Ret), author of Killer Kane and Rice Paddy Recon

• “With this superb account of the early years of the Vietnam War, Michael Walker bolsters the growing body of research that refutes the longstanding conventional wisdom. It should be read by anyone interested in understanding how and why the United States went to war in Vietnam.”—Mark Moyar, author of Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965

• “In a masterful and concise manner author Mike Walker has drawn together three foundational pillars that explain why the American Vietnam War took the fateful path it did. Author Walker makes plain the fact that it was the Cold War, Laos and the murder of Ngo Dinh Diem which constitute the crucial stepping-stones paving the path to war. Accordingly, this book clears away the fog that the orthodox school of Vietnam War history have so carefully created and lays bare the real terrain which, in turn, makes this book a must read for any serious scholar of that conflict.”—Dr. Geoffrey D. T. Shaw, Ph.D., author of The Lost Mandate of Heaven and director of the Alexandrian Defense Group