Yes, many, many books have been written about Vietnam. But Cornell history professor Logevall is presented as leading a new generation of scholars now investigating the debacle. Over the course of 12 years, he did original research in diplomatic archives in Hanoi, Paris, and Washington, finally concluding that, like France, America failed to recognize the realities of Vietnam. Covering the four-decade buildup to the war, this book is called definitive. Well see, but its certainly important-and certainly scarily relevant today.
The struggle for Vietnam occupies a central place in the history of the twentieth century. Fought over a period of three decades, the conflict drew in all the worldandrsquo;s powers and saw two of themandmdash;first France, then the United Statesandmdash;attempt to subdue the revolutionary Vietnamese forces. For France, the defeat marked the effective end of her colonial empire, while for America the war left a gaping wound in the body politic that remains open to this day. and How did it happen? Tapping into newly accessible diplomatic archives in several nations and making full use of the published literature, distinguished scholar Fredrik Logevall traces the path that led two Western nations to lose their way in Vietnam. Embers of War opens in 1919 at the Versailles Peace Conference, where a young Ho Chi Minh delivers a petition for Vietnamese independence to President Woodrow Wilson. It concludes in 1959, with a Viet Cong ambush on a U.S. outpost outside Saigon and the deaths of two American officers whose names would be the first to be carved into the black granite of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. In between come years of political, military, and diplomatic maneuvering and miscalculation, as leaders on all sides embark on a series of stumbles that makes an eminently avoidable struggle a bloody and interminable reality. and Logevall takes us inside the councils of warandmdash;and gives us a seat at the conference tables where peace talks founder. He brings to life the bloodiest battles of Franceandrsquo;s final years in Indochinaandmdash;and shows how from an early point, a succession of American leaders made disastrous policy choices that put America on its own collision course with history: Harry Trumanandrsquo;s fateful decision to reverse Franklin Delano Rooseveltandrsquo;s policy and acknowledge Franceandrsquo;s right to return to Indochina after World War II; Dwight Eisenhowerandrsquo;s strenuous efforts to keep Paris in the fight and his escalation of U.S. involvement in the aftermath of the humiliating French defeat at Dien Bien Phu; and the curious turnaround in Senator John F. Kennedyandrsquo;s thinking that would lead him as president to expand that commitment, despite his publicly stated misgivings about Western intervention in Southeast Asia. and An epic story of wasted opportunities and tragic miscalculations, featuring an extraordinary cast of larger-than-life characters, Embers of War delves deep into the historical record to provide hard answers to the unanswered questions surrounding the demise of one Western power in Vietnam and the arrival of another. This book will become the definitive chronicle of the struggleandrsquo;s origins for years to come.