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Textbook

Vietnam: Explaining America's Lost War

ISBN: 978-1-4051-2528-4
232 pages
April 2008, ©2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Vietnam: Explaining America
In Vietnam, Gary R. Hess describes and evaluates the main arguments of scholars, participants, and journalists, both revisionist and orthodox in their approach, as they try to answer fundamental questions of the Vietnam War.

  • Clearly examines the historiography of the Vietnam War

  • Questions whether the Vietnam War was lost due to poor strategy and leadership, or was inherently doomed to failure

  • Includes a bibliographic essay which complements the literature discussed in the text
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Preface.

1. From the Streets to the Books: The Origins of an Enduring Debate.

2. A Necessary War or a Mistaken War?.

3. “Kennedy Exceptionalism” or “Missed Opportunity for Peace” or “Lost Victory” -- The Movement toward War, 1961--1965.

4. The Revisionist Critique of the “Strategy for Defeat” -- The Clausewitzian Alternative.

5. The Revisionist Critique of the “Other War” -- The “Hearts-and-Minds” Prescription for Victory.

6. The Media and the War: Shaping or Reflecting Public Opinion?.

7. The Tet Offensive: A Decisive American Victory or Prolongation of Stalemate?.

8. Nixon--Kissinger and the Ending of the War: A “Lost Victory” or “Neither Peace nor Honor?”.

9. Conclusion.

Bibliography.

Index

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Gary R. Hess is Distinguished Research Professor of History at Bowling Green State University. He is a past president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and a former chair of the U.S. State Department’s Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation. His publications include Vietnam and the United States: Origins and Legacy of War 1941-1945 (1998) and Presidential Decisions for War: Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf (2001).
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  • Clearly examines the historiography of the Vietnam War
  • Describes and evaluates the main arguments of scholars, participants, and journalists – both revisionist and orthodox in their approach
  • Questions whether the Vietnam War was lost due to poor strategy and leadership, or was inherently doomed to failure
  • Includes a bibliographic essay which complements the literature discussed in the text
See More
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year

“Outstanding Academic Title 2008. Hess offers what is arguably the best sampling of new research and analysis on the Vietnam War now available in a single volume, providing an impressive, almost indispensable introduction to the big-picture debates and controversies. It should be on a very short list of the most useful books in helping making sense of an enormously complex and controversial conflict. Essential.” (Choice Reviews, October 2008)

Vietnam is the clearest explanation of the arguments over American involvement in the Vietnam War. It is essential reading for teachers and students of the war.”
–Robert Schulzinger, University of Colorado

“Hess, one of America's leading diplomatic historians, has written the most useful book to date – for both teachers and students – on the nation’s ordeal in Vietnam. It is a magnificently balanced study of the issues and the literature.”
–Warren Cohen, University of Maryland-Baltimore County

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