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Complete Idiot Guide Vietnam War 1e [Paperback]

Alan Pressman
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Vietnam War, 2nd Edition The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Vietnam War, 2nd Edition
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Book Description

Oct. 13 2000 Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)
If you are too young to remember the Vietnam War, this book will give you a comprehensive view of the thirty-year conflict, a more complete story than you might get in your history textbook. It will satisfy the curiosity of those who want to know more about the history and culture of the United States during the sixites and seventies, and it will give older readers an unbiased reminder of their youth.

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From the Back Cover

If you are too young to remember the Vietnam War, this book will give you a comprehensive view of the thirty-year conflict, a more complete story than you might get in your history textbook. It will satisfy the curiosity of those who want to know more about the history and culture of the United States during the sixites and seventies, and it will give older readers an unbiased reminder of their youth.

About the Author

Timothy P. Maga, PhD, is the Oglesby Professor American Heritage at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. He teaches U.S. diplomatic history, modern Japanese history, U.S.-Asian/Pacific relations, the Vietnam War and the U.S. Constitution. In 1994, he was named Scholar of the Year by Bentley College; in 1983 he received the Best Lecturer award in recognition of teaching excellence in history from the University of Maryland. He has held several senior political appointments in the Clinton administration. The author of many books, articles and scholarly papers, Dr. Maga was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in history for his book, John F. Kennedy and the New Pacific Community, published in 1990.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
History hurts. It's the study of dead people and old stuff, a university student once told me, and it offers little relevance to today's fast-paced world. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Half the Story Reasonably Presented July 17 2004
Format:Paperback
This book is very similar to the Dummies guide to the Vietnam conflict. At my book store there are 150 books on Vietnam covering 6 shelves with 20 to 25 books per shelf. Most books are personal accounts or on the weapons and military methods. A few are more socio-political.
Every one of the above 150 books is essentially from the American perspective. For example in the present book near the back of this 350 plus page book there is an analysis of the 58,000 US combatants killed in action, i.e.: how many navy, air force, marines, army, etc. were killed. The book covers the history of the conflict in terms of what Ho Chi Minh wants to accomplish and then what is the US response. The fighting covers decades in mostly chronological order. It discusses the politicians, the cabinet members, the DOD people, the generals, the conflicts, the weapons, the geography etc. So overall one gets a reasonable picture of the conflict in a summary form.
There are black and white drawings, maps, photographs, quotations, historical notes, and special notes and inserts. If you were in the war and you wanted your son or daughter to get a quick idea of the conflict, start to finish this would be a reasonable summary book, or perhaps a gateway book to the subject. I would rate this book ahead of the Dummies book.
What is missing from this book and most others is the utter devastation caused to the stoic peoples of Vietnam by their own fighting and by the US invasion. Millions were killed and large parts of Vietnam were destroyed by herbicides. These events are not listed nor are they seriously acknowledged. So in that way the book tells only half the story and conveniently ignores the pointless destruction (since the US ended up withdrawing in the end). We get to understand the US politicians and what they did, and the actions of the US armed forces in some detail, but we somehow forgot about the millions of victims.
Jack in Toronto
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Feb. 6 2002
Format:Paperback
This is not really a "Complete Idiot's Guide". It's true that the grand picture is important, you have to know the settings, the histories, people's reactions, and the struggles of political forces, but how can it be a beginner's "Guide" to Vietnam War if the military aspects are not covered adequately?
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good place to start Feb. 5 2002
Format:Paperback
Having gained an interest in the war nobody seems willing to discuss, I started reading about the Vietnam war about a year ago. During this time I've read some pretty heavy books and some very moving personal accounts, yet found it difficult to recieve an overall picture of the war. This book does a great job of giving that background story and very general sort of history from which to build on. I must admit that I find the comments that the book may not be entirely accurate somewhat unsettling, but I still think that the book has great value. In High School and even college I recieved virtually no instruction on the Vietnam war, and having to start from scratch I found this book very valuable. In the end, it may not be the definative history of the Vietnam war, but if you take it for what it is it doesn't have to be.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Just what I had in mind. Jan. 29 2002
Format:Paperback
This isn't a book that Henry Kissinger needs to read. It's a book for those of us who feel like we don't know what happened during the Vietnam era and who want to be able to converse halfway intelligently about it.
I did not find the approach bizarre at all. The section on Indonesia, for example, was one of the book's best parts in that it attempted to show the the US's view of Vietnam involvement was based upon its (America's) experience with Indonesia. This section compared Indonesia and Vietnam in a variety of ways in order to show that American involvement in Vietnam, while ultimately disastrous, may have been partly motivated by our hope that events would unfold the same way there as they had in Indonesia.
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