Wrong War: Why We Lost in Vietnam

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9781557506993: Wrong War: Why We Lost in Vietnam
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Was the U.S. military prevented from achieving victory in Vietnam by poor decisions made by civilian leaders, a hostile media, and the antiwar movement, or was it doomed to failure from the start? Twenty-five years after the last U.S. troops left Vietnam, the most divisive U.S. armed conflict since the War of 1812 remains an open wound not only because 58,000 Americans were killed and billions of dollars wasted, but also because it was an ignominious, unprecedented defeat. In this iconoclastic new study, Vietnam veteran and scholar Jeffrey Record looks past the consensual myths of responsibility to offer the most trenchant, balanced, and compelling analysis ever published of the causes for America's first defeat.


Sure to spark widespread discussion and argument among veterans, academics, policy-makers, military professionals, and interested citizens, this landmark contribution breaks new ground by candidly examining the strategic failures of the military's leadership--long portrayed as innocent victims--and exploring whether a different policy could have avoided defeat. With a rare blend of relevant personal experience and impeccable scholarship, Record establishes four root causes for the U.S. defeat in a logical, easy-to-follow argument that explodes earlier professional assessments and popular appraisals. Vietnam-noble cause, international crime, or strategic mistake? Record's surprising and sometimes incendiary answers to these and other questions critical to the future success of the civilian-run military will ensure that the armed forces' accountability in Vietnam is no longer overlooked.

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Review:

For all the countless books the Vietnam War has inspired--the anguished analysis, revised history, and blow-by-blow reports--no consensus has even been reached on precisely who, or what, is to blame for America's failure in Southeast Asia. The antiwar movement, the media, Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, Congress, and staunch military hawks have all been implicated in the defeat, but a commonly accepted explanation (or scapegoat) remains elusive.

Jeffrey Record may not provide the final, binding word on Vietnam, but in The Wrong War, he is prepared to place blame squarely on the shoulders of both the military and civilian leadership for their lack of communication and inability to establish a clear objective. As a former civilian State Department adviser in Vietnam and legislative assistant to Senators Sam Nunn and Lloyd Bentsen, Record was close to the action in Asia and Washington, and he believes the U.S. set itself up for failure largely by overestimating the military's ability to break the Viet Cong and underestimating the Vietnamese will to fight; lessons that should have been learned by watching the French limp out of Indochina several years before. The Americans, he stresses, were on a blinding anti-Communism crusade, while there was much more at stake for the Vietnamese than political ideology, particularly nationalistic fervor and an insatiable desire to rid themselves of colonialism. Though his book is a fiercely critical analysis, Record attempts to draw important lessons from what he calls the "most strategically reckless American enterprise of the 20th century."

About the Author:

Jeffrey Record is a professor of strategy at the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama. He served in Vietnam as a civilian pacification adviser and received his doctorate from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Book Description Naval Institute Press, United States, 1998. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Was the U.S. military prevented from achieving victory in Vietnam by poor decisions made by civilian leaders, a hostile media, and the antiwar movement, or was it doomed to failure from the start? Twenty-five years after the last U.S. troops left Vietnam, the most divisive foreign U.S. armed conflict since the War of 1812 remains an open wound not only because 58,000 Americans were killed and billions of dollars wasted, but because it was an ignominious, unprecedented defeat. In this iconoclastic new study, Vietnam veteran and scholar Jeffrey Record looks past the consensual myths of responsibility to offer the most trenchant, balanced, and compelling analysis ever published of the causes for America s first defeat. Seller Inventory # AAS9781557506993

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