959. Books on Southeast Asia
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Michael Archer The Long Goodbye: Khe Sanh Revisited, 2016.
Michael Archer and his high school friend Tom Mahoney fought together in defense of Khe Sanh Combat Base during the Vietnam War. In the final hours of the battle, Tom walked away from his platoon unarmed and was killed by enemy soldiers. Despite several attempts, they were unable to recover his body. To uncover what happened that day, Archer revisits the scene and even interviews one of the soldiers who helped kill him.
Mark Bowden Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam, 2017.
The war effort in Vietnam seemed to have reached an impasse when General William Westmoreland began the Tet Offensive, resulting in the capture of Hue, the cultural capital of South Vietnam. This book tells exactly how this bloodiest battle of the entire war was fought.
Max Hastings Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975.
British journalist and historian Max Hastings documents the 20th-century conflict over Vietnam, from its independence from French colonialism in 1954 to its humiliating defeat of the United States in 1975. By using sources and interviews on both sides, Hastings creates a narrative account from a balanced perspective.
Frances Fitzgerald Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam, 1972.
American journalist and historian Frances Fitzgerald wrote this first history of the Vietnam War, who recounts the war’s events and tells the Vietnamese people’s history through their eyes.
Seymour M. Hersh My Lai 4: A Report of the Massacre and Its Aftermath, 1970.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Seymour Hersch tells the story of the Vietnam War atrocity, the My Lai Massacre, through interviews with nearly fifty members of the Charlie Company.
Fredrik Logevall Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam, 2012.
From the time Ho Chi Minh delivered his petition for independence to Woodrow Wilson at the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919 to the U.S. defeat in 1975, Vietnam left a massive mark on some of the most powerful nations in the world. International affairs and history scholar Fredrik Logevall tells of mistakes and wasted opportunities at high levels of government throughout the conflicts.
David Maraniss They Marched in Sunlight, 2004.
Through tracing the story of the soldiers who fought in Vietnam, the antiwar activists at home, and the covert activities of Washington officials, David Maraniss seeks to make sense of the confusing and anguished time of the Vietnam War.
Viet Thanh Nguyen Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, 2016.
By examining literature, memoirs, monuments, photographs, video games, and other cultural artifacts, author Viet Thanh Nguyen seeks to make sense of the Vietnam War from the perspectives of all involved, including Loatians, Cambodians, South Koreans, and Southeast Asian Americans.
Daniel Ellsberg Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, 2003.
Daniel Ellsberg was a U.S. military analyst who, at significant risk to himself, released The Pentagon Papers, 7,000 pages of a top-secret study of U.S. Vietnam War decision-making. The action sparked a series of events that ultimately ended the war and helped end the Nixon presidency.
Philip Caputo A Rumor of War, 1977.
The memoir of Lieutenant Philip J. Caputo, who served sixteen months on the front line in Vietnam from 1965-66, is a heartbreaking story of a person psychologically torn apart by his experiences. Since 1977, the book has been a textbook on the Vietnam War and a classic work of war literature.
For more information on the Further Reading series, see “Further Reading: Start Here.”