Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land: The Vietnam War Revisited (Companion)

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9781846030208: Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land: The Vietnam War Revisited (Companion)
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From the Introduction
In the end, then, the Vietnam War was a conflict of myriad complexities. It was a colonial war and a regional war. It was a total war and a limited war. It was a civil war, an insurgency and a conventional war - and indeed it varied from one form to another at different times and in different places. It was a war in mountains, jungles or open rice paddies depending on the location of the battlefield. It was a war of high technology and no technology. It was a war of airpower and a war of footpower. It was a helicopter war and a brown-water war. It was a war won on the battlefield and lost on the homefront. One thing that the Vietnam War was not was simply an American War. It was a war of varying and mutable contexts - a chameleon of constant change. The greatest American failure in the conflict was a failure to understand context. For far too many important American planners the Vietnam War had but one context - the black and white context of the Cold War; a context that begged an inexorable singular military logic and solution. A military solution that was so overly simple that it proved to be no solution at all.

���� The present study takes as its main goal to place the Vietnam War into its proper contexts. Though Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land cannot pretend to answer all of the nagging questions that still surround the conflict, it can at least begin to pose new questions that have too often been left unasked or ignored. Through the work of a unique collection of historians, journalists, and war participants Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land also seeks to spark historical debate and research by searching for new contextual answers to questions that many historians had thought long since answered - sometimes calling for a needed revision of the historical orthodoxy of the conflict. Thus the present study proposes to take fresh looks at several of the most important aspects of the Vietnam War and hopes to demonstrate that the field remains one of the most vibrant and important fields available to future historical inquiry of all types by scholars and laymen alike who seek an opportunity to help define a war of unending complexity.

CHAPTER HEADS An American war? The French experience. The North Vietnamese experience. The Ho Chi Minh Trail. The war outside Vietnam: Cambodia and Laos. The South Vietnamese experience. The civilian experience. Vietnam ANZACs. US doctrinal critique. The US experience. The river war. The air war. Vietnam tactics. Vietnam in the media. The legacy of war.

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About the Author:

Andrew Wiest is Visiting Professor, Department of Warfighting Strategy, USAF Air War College. Bui Tin served in the VN People's Army for 37 years. He has lived in exile since 1990. Professor Kenton Clymer chairs the History Department at Northern Illinois University. Professor R. Blake Dunnavent is on the faculty at Louisiana State University. Bernard Edelman served as a correspondent for the US Army in Vietnam. Ronald B. Frankum, Jr. is assistant professor of history at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Jeffrey Grey is professor of history at University College, Australian Defence Force Academy. Daniel C. Hallin is Professor of Communication at the University of California, SD. Le Ly Hayslip, was a civilian in war-torn Vietnam. She is the author of two best-selling memoirs. Arnold R. Isaacs reported from Vietnam for the Baltimore Sun 1972�75. Lam Quang Thi was a lieutenant-general in the South Vietnamese Army. John Prados is project director at the National Security Archive. Gordon L. Rottman served in the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam. Lewis Sorley has served on the faculties at West Point and the Army War College. Martin Windrow is an author and editor of military history.

Review:

"Editor Wiest (University of Southern Mississippi) has assembled an eclectic blend of solid academic articles and personal reflections packaged in a large-format, coffee-table-style work with nearly 200 superb photographs, maps, charts and tables. The end result is unconventional but fortuitously so, mixing traditional with new, unfamiliar perspectives and issues with enough breadth, depth and novelty to satisfy a broad audience from astute general readers to the most accomplished Vietnam War students and scholars. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries." -Editors Pick, Choice (March 2007)

"...as this excellent anthology illustrates, there are enduring disagreements concerning the justification, military planning, and long-term effects of the [Vietnam] war. Professor Wiest... has compiled a series of essays written by historians, correspondents, and participants from both sides of the conflict, and thus readers are provided with a variety of perspectives and opinions." -Jay Freeman, Booklist (August 2006

"A diverse, unique set of perspectives are juxtaposed under one cover." -The Internet Bookwatch

"Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land... is a worthy compilation of essays by historians, journalists, and participants in the Vietnam War... The essays offer in-depth looks at many of the war's Big Questions. Weist...gives room to the voices from all sides of the political spectrum... An excellent examination of the experience of American Vietnam veterans by Bernard Edelman, based on illuminating interviews he has conducted over many years. Edelman also concisely and accurately covers the postwar experiences of Vietnam veterans." -The VVA Veteran

"What is particularly interesting about the book is the diverse topics that are covered... those with an interest in military history and in particular the Vietnam War will find this book an informative resource." -Timothy Baghurst, The Traveler

"You'll read about things you may not like and have your eyes opened to other aspects ot the conflict. You'll find out that what you thought were major causes for failure were really not as important as they seemed at the time. You'll also see that much of the dynamics of what was going on in Vietnam during the 60s is also playing itself out in Iraq today... It is a book that I think all children of the 60s and early 70s have to read... A book that I most highly recommend to you." -Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com

"This book is an excellent re-examination of a costly conflict that raised significant ethical, political and historical issues that continue to resonate and simmer decades later."
- Toy Soldier & Model Figure (October 2013) 

"The Strength of this work is in the new ways it examines [the Vietnam War]."
- Military Heritage (January 2014)

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