The Columbia Guide to the Vietnam War

David L. Anderson

Columbia University Press

The Columbia Guide to the Vietnam War

Pub Date: April 2004

ISBN: 9780231114936

352 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $40.00£34.00

Pub Date: July 2002

ISBN: 9780231114929

352 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $105.00£88.00

Pub Date: July 2002

ISBN: 9780231507387

352 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $39.99£34.00

The Columbia Guide to the Vietnam War

David L. Anderson

Columbia University Press

More than a quarter of a century after the last Marine Corps Huey left the American embassy in Saigon, the lessons and legacies of the most divisive war in twentieth-century American history are as hotly debated as ever. Why did successive administrations choose little-known Vietnam as the "test case" of American commitment in the fight against communism? Why were the "best and brightest" apparently blind to the illegitimacy of the state of South Vietnam? Would Kennedy have pulled out had he lived? And what lessons regarding American foreign policy emerged from the war?

The Columbia Guide to the Vietnam War helps readers understand this tragic and complex conflict. The book contains both interpretive information and a wealth of facts in easy-to-find form. Part I provides a lucid narrative overview of contested issues and interpretations in Vietnam scholarship. Part II is a mini-encyclopedia with descriptions and analysis of individuals, events, groups, and military operations. Arranged alphabetically, this section enables readers to look up isolated facts and specialized terms. Part III is a chronology of key events. Part IV is an annotated guide to resources, including films, documentaries, CD-ROMs, and reliable Web sites. Part V contains excerpts from historical documents and statistical data.
[A]n outstanding ready-reference source.... [Anderson] should be commended for compiling such an informative, balanced, and unbiased reference source for the most contentious war in American history. Booklist
Successfully compresses the copiously documented, labyrinthine history of the Vietnamese conflict into a single economical volume... a fascinating survey of the war... expertly crafted... strongly recommended. Choice
A well-organized, succinct, and welcome work of synthesis that brings together the main lines of historical controversy in particularly engaging ways... clearly the best short introduction available to the scholarship on the wars in Vietnam and deserves a wide and appreciative audience. Mark Bradley, International History Review
This volume is practical, useful and trustworthy, and will become indispensable for many teachers and scholars, whether they approach the war from a traditional historical, a sociological, a cultural studies, or an interdisciplinary framework. Matthew Stewart, American Studies International
Anderson expertly reviews the considerable accumulated opinion on the Vietnam War... highly recommended. American Reference Books Annual
The Columbia Guide to the Vietnam War is an outstanding primer to the conflict and the scholarship it has inspired. Andrew L. Johns, Journal of Conflict Studies
Introduction
List of Abbreviations
Part I: Historical Narrative
1. Studying the Vietnam War
2. Vietnam: Historical Background
Roots of the Vietnamese Culture and State
The Impact of French Colonialism
The Rise of Vietnamese Nationalism
The Origins of Vietnamese Communism
3. United States: Historical Background
Idealism and Realism in U.S. Foreign Relations
The United States and the Open Door in Asia
The World Wars: The Legacies of Wilson and Munich
The Origins of the Cold War
4. The French War in Vietnam
The August Revolution
Outbreak of the Franco-Vietminh War
U.S. Support of France
Dienbienphu and the Geneva Conference
5. The Diem Years: Eisenhower
The Decision to Back Ngo Dinh Diem
The Non-election of 1956
The Illusion of Nation Building
NLF: Rise of the Southern Insurgency
6. The Diem Years: Kennedy
Counterinsurgency Warfare
The Buddhist Crisis
The Diem Assassination
What if Kennedy Had Lived?
7. The American War in Vietnam: Escalation
The Gulf of Tonkin Incident
Rolling Thunder
Johnson Decides on a Land War in Asia
Theories of Causation
8. The American War in Vietnam: Strategy
The Draft
Attrition Strategy and Body Count
Humpin' It: The American Soldier
The Air War
Diplomacy
The Resilient Enemy
9. The American War in Vietnam: The Limits of Power
The Tet offensive
The Antiwar Movement and the Media
Johnson's Decision to Stop Escalation
The Presidential Election of 1968
10. The American War in Vietnam: De-escalation
Vietnamization and More Bombing
Cambodia and Kent State
Negotiations and the Paris Peace Accords
DRV Victory in 1975
11. The War What Will Not Go Away
The Postwar Wars in Southeast Asia
American Vietnam Veterans
Films, Fiction, and Poetry
Postmortems
Part II: The Vietnam War from A to Z
Part III: Chronology
Part IV: Resource Guide
1. General Works
2. History of Southeast Asia and U.S. Foreign Relations
3. The Diem Years
4. North Vietnam and the Vietcong
5. Escalation of the American War
6. The American Way of War
7. The Limits of American Power
8. The End of the American War
9. The Legacy of the Vietnam War
10. Films and Documentaries
11. Electronic Resources
Part V: Appendices
Appendix 1. Documents
Appendix 2. Statistics
Index

About the Author

David L. Anderson is professor of history and interim dean of arts and sciences at the University of Indianapolis. He is the author of Facing My Lai: Moving Beyond the Massacre and Trapped by Success: The Eisenhower Administration and Vietnam, 1953–1961.