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The Better of the Vietnam War Books

Updated on October 9, 2011

Since 1976, there have a plethora of books about the Vietnam War. Some, written long ago, still remain the better ones providing insights that were fresh then and lost as time went by. Others, a much more recent and provide previously unknown information that shaped the course of the war and why things happened as they did. Oddly, only a handful have been written by North or South Vietnamese soldiers or leaders about the 20 year war. For the most part, these always spin the events in their favor with political dogma and such. There are two types of war books: those that focus on the political and to a lesser extent, the war; and those that focus of the military events of war with only a glance to the political aspects.

The newer books tend to point fingers at why the US lost the war and who caused it with supporting evidence always rooted in the political realm. How true. America lost that war because its military was not allowed to win on their terms. The same does apply to Afghanistan now-what have we got after 10 yrs of war? Not much.

Today, the US is not allowed to attack the enemy inside Pakistan. In Vietnam, the US was not allowed to attack very much into Laos or North Vietnam except by air, even then, it was not effective. In afghanistan, the US has created a western styled government full of corruption. Ditto in Vietnam. In Afghanistan, the US trained Afghan Army is basically ineffective. Ditto for the South Vietnamese (although, they are WAY more effective than the Afghans ever could). In both places, both armies collapse in battle.

The better books on Vietnam are:

  • The Army and Vietnam (1986)
  • The Village (1972)
  • The CIA's Secret Campaign to Destroy the Viet Cong (1997)
  • A Better War (1999)
  • Why Vietnam Matters (2008)
  • Westmorland: The General Who Lost Vietnam (2010)
  • The Final Collapse: Last Battles of 1975 (1983)


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      well, Vietnam and Afghanistan are kin. You have those who support it, those who do not. The best movie on that is Platoon. It truly captures it in a nutshell.

    • profile image

      lavender3957 6 years ago

      I love this hub. Thanks for sharing. I have a friend who tells us horrifying stories of his time in the Viet Nam war. They are interesting but sad. I look forward to reading these books. I think I will better understand my friends reasons, questions, and truth.

    • FGual profile image

      FGual 6 years ago from USA

      Great list of books, none of which I have read. Growing up during Nam, I got maxed out and wanted to forget it all. As you point out, the parallels with the present war are so obvious. At least the casualties are much lower. We should have stayed out of both.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Interesting anthology. Will look into them. Thanks

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I'll keep these titles in mind.up and useful.