The Illustrated History of the Vietnam War, Andrew Wiest & Chris McNab

The Illustrated History of the Vietnam War, Andrew Wiest & Chris McNab

This is a solid, well written and well illustrated history of the American involvement in the Vietnamese War. After a brief introduction looking at the earlier French experience, we quickly move onto the process that saw the US drawn into the conflict, and then into a history of the full-blow US involvement in South-East Asia. The text is supported by some excellent maps, and by a wide range of pictures. 

The main weakness in this book is a general lack of coverage of the Vietnamese view of the war - both the North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese communists are seen more as the enemy, rather than as one side in a complex conflict. Their plans are reported, but not in much detail. There are also few, if any, pictures from the Communist side of the conflict, and it doesn't take much searching online to find plenty of suitable pictures.

Perhaps its main strength is the coverage of the wider conflict, outside Vietnam. This includes good sections on the fighting in Laos and Cambodia, and an examination of the US Home Front. The fighting across the Vietnamese border had a terrible impact on both countries involved, and the text traces the destructive impact of both side's intervention in their neighbour's affairs, and in particular the short-lived and often ill thought out American operations cross the borders. This gives the book more value than it would have had as yet another history of Vietnam, and helps explain the devastating impact of the conflict on an entire region.

1 - In the Footsteps of the French
2 - Taking a Stand Against Communism
3 - Rolling Thunder
4 - Search and Destroy
5 - From the Sea
6 - Holding the DMZ
7 - The Riverine War
8 - The Tet Offensive
9 - Strategy at a Crossroads
10 - Secret War
11 - The Home Front
12 - The South Fights Alone
13 - The South Falls
14 - The Legacy of Vietnam

Author: Andrew Wiest & Chris McNab
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 256
Publisher: Amber
Year: 2015

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