The Tragedy of the Vietnam War

A South Vietnamese Officer’s Analysis

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About the Book

What Americans call the Vietnam War actually began in December 1946 with a struggle between the communists and the French for possession of the country—but Vietnam’s strategic position in southeast Asia inevitably led to the involvement of other countries.
Written by an officer in the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, this poignant memoir seeks to clarify the nuances of South Vietnam’s defeat. From the age of 12, Van Nguyen Duong watched as the conflict affected his home, family, village and friends. He discusses not only the day-to-day hardships of wartime but his postwar forced relocation and eventual imprisonment. A special focus is on the anguish caused by the illusive reality of Vietnamese independence.
The political forces at work north and south, the hardships suffered by RVNAF soldiers after the 1975 U.S. withdrawal, and the effects of reunification on the Vietnamese people are discussed.

About the Author(s)

After the fall of Saigon, Lt. Col. Van Nguyen Duong (RVNAF) was imprisoned for 13 years for “re-education.” He immigrated to the United States in 1991 and lives in Honolulu. He has contributed to several Vietnamese magazines in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe.

Bibliographic Details

Van Nguyen Duong
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 280
Bibliographic Info: 18 photos, maps, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3285-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8338-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Preface      ix

Abbreviations      xi

1. The Spirit of the Land      1

2. Vietnam, the Arena of Confrontation Between East and West      11

3. Aggression and Deterrence      19

4. The Two Vietnams      33

5. Counter-Insurgency Strategy      57

6. The Death of a President and a Democracy      80

7. The Escalation of the War      91

8. The “Lunch Bunch War”      103

9. The 1968 Tet Offensive: The Turning Point      115

10. “Honorable Withdrawal”?      125

11. The RVNAF in the “Red Summer,” 1972      142

12. “Washing Their Hands”      165

13. “Betrayal”!      178

14. The Communists’ Final Campaign      191

15. The Bitter End of South Vietnam      199

16. The Vietnam War’s Aftermath      221

17. The Laws of God      236

“A Sorrowful Existence in a War Time”      239

Appendix: The Eleven-Point Program Accords, January 1962      241

Chapter Notes      243

Bibliography      249

Index      253

Book Reviews & Awards

“destined to become a classic in military history and Vietnamese studies”—Choice.