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Vietnam at War

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Weaving together the histories of three distinct conflicts, Phillip B. Davidson follows the entire course of the Vietnam War, from the initial French skirmishes in 1946 to the dramatic fall of Saigon nearly thirty years later. His connecting thread is North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap, a remarkable figure who, with no formal military training, fashioned a rag-tag militia into one of the world's largest and most formidable armies. By focusing on Giap's role throughout the war, and by making available for the first time a wealth of recently declassified North Vietnamese documents, Davidson offers unprecedented insight into Hanoi's military strategies, an insight surpassed only by his inside knowledge of American operations and planning. Eminently qualified to write this history, Davidson--who served as chief intelligence officer under Generals Westmoreland and Abrams--tells firsthand the story of our tragic ordeal in Indochina and brings his unique understanding to bear on topics of continuing controversy, offering a chilling account, for example, of when and where the U.S. considered using nuclear weapons. The most comprehensive and authoritative history of the conflict to date, Vietnam at War sparkles with a rare immediacy, and brings to life in compelling fashion the war that tore America apart. We witness the chaos in Saigon when fireworks celebrating the Tet holiday are suddenly transformed into deadly rocket and machine-gun fire. We sit in on high-level meetings where General Westmoreland plans operations, or simply engages in some tough "headknocking" with subordinates. And in the end we learn that even the seemingly limitless resources of the U.S. military could not match the revolutionary "grand strategy" of the North Vietnamese. With its easy movement from intimate memoir to trenchant military analysis, from the conference rooms of generals to the battle-scarred streets of Hue, this is military history at its most gripping. A monumental, engrossing, and unforgettable chronicle, Vietnam at War is indispensable for anyone hoping to understand a conflict that still rages in the American psyche.
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About the Author

Phillip B. Davidson, a retired Army lieutenant general, not only spent two years in Vietnam as the chief intelligence officer to Generals Westmoreland and Abrams, but prior to that was Assistant Professor of Military History at West Point. The editors of Encyclopedia Britannica have recently commissioned him to rewrite their entry on the Vietnam War.


"Davidson has accomplished a major fete in describing the military history of both the first and second Vietnam War. Not concentrating on the political aspects of the war, Davidson dramatically discusses the military strategy which won and lost the war."--Bradley Skelcher, Delaware State College"A most valuable look at several important topics, re. the Vietnam War; General Giap's military genius in the field; the development of North Vietnam's revolutionary warfare; failures of the Americans to counter it."--Marshall E. Nunn, Glendale Community College"Monumental, measured, and masterful...Promises to be the standard reference on Vietnam's martial past for years to come."--Kirkus Reviews"The finest military history of the Vietnam War now available."--CHOICE"Sound research and first-rate writing."--Booklist"An outstanding operational history of three Indochina wars...Deserves to be widely read as a counterpoint to Stanley Karnow's Vietnam: A History."--Library Journal"Perhaps the most concise and readable account of one of the most complex periods in U.S. military history. A masterpiece!"--Leo J. Daugherty III, Notre Dame College of Ohio"Karnow has painted the domestic, political, international, and historical panorama of the Vietnam experience. We now have the companion to that work with Davidson's portrayal of the military dimension."--Professor Robert Bledsoe, University of Central Florida

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