The involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War has been the most polarizing issue within post-war American history. It was divisive at the time, both domestically and internationally, and debates continue to the present day. At the heart of the disputes has always been the question of 'failure' - why was the United States unable to achieve its objectives? Was failure inherent in the decision to go to war? Was it inherently an unwinnable war, or was failure the result of inept strategy, poor leadership, and a biased media? 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 consider why the United States was unable to achieve its objectives. While providing a clear and well-balanced account of existing historical debate, Hess also offers his own interpretation of the events and opens a dialogue about the usefulness of historical argument in reaching a deeper understanding of the conflict.
This concise book is essential reading for students and teachers of the Vietnam War as both a clear and well-balanced account of existing historical debate and a thought-provoking look at the future of historical scholarship.
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Number of pages: 232
Weight: 512 g
Dimensions: 240 x 156 x 12 mm
"This is a book one will wish to assign to students: it lays out, with enviable clarity, what is at stake, what evidence exists for reaching a judgment, what various historians have concluded on the basis of the evidence they use and/or ignore, and Hess's own position on the matter. Because he is an honest historian, Hess does not pretend to be neutral." ( International History Review , June 2009) "[Hess] has simply provided the best general overview of the literature on the Vietnam War that has been written to date." ( Review of Politics , March 2009) A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year "Gary Hess's new book is a survey of the scholarship on the Vietnam War which pits this revisionist historiography (the so-called 'winnable' war tradition) against the more numerous orthodox historiography (the 'unwinnable' war tradition) ... .[The book is] an enormously stimulating volume which usefully organises the literature on thematic lines and clarifies the battle lines between the orthodox and revisionist schools." ( Reviews in History , January 2009)