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Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience

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Kolko’s groundbreaking and widely cited study of the Vietnam War, with a new postscript by the author.


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Kolko’s groundbreaking and widely cited study of the Vietnam War, with a new postscript by the author.

30 review for Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience

  1. 5 out of 5

    Simon Wood

    A TOTAL HISTORY OF A THIRTY YEAR WAR Forget Stanley Karnow's Pulitzer prize winning "Vietnam: A History", or Neil Sheehan's much celebrated "A Bright Shining Lie", Canadian historian Gabriel Kolko's "Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience" is quite simply the best general history of the American war in Vietnam. As the title suggests this work is primarily a work of analysis, taking the reader from the Japanese occupation towards the end of World War 2 A TOTAL HISTORY OF A THIRTY YEAR WAR Forget Stanley Karnow's Pulitzer prize winning "Vietnam: A History", or Neil Sheehan's much celebrated "A Bright Shining Lie", Canadian historian Gabriel Kolko's "Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience" is quite simply the best general history of the American war in Vietnam. As the title suggests this work is primarily a work of analysis, taking the reader from the Japanese occupation towards the end of World War 2 right through to the American defeat in 1975, it eschews the minutiae of specific battles or personalities for a total analysis of North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the United States including everything from the economic to the political, military capabilities and doctrine, quality of leadership, the structures of both societies and the international context within which the war was fought, as well as how all those factors interacted and changed over time. The reader will leave this book with a pretty comprehensive understanding of the nature of the war that the Americans took over from the French in the mid 1950's and brutally prosecuted for over twenty years, and a considerable degree of respect and admiration for the quality of the North Vietnamese leadership, the North Vietnamese people as a whole and those who fought year after year in the southern half of the divided country against the unprecedented destructive power of the U.S. military allied with a corrupt, incompetent, bankrupt (morally and financially) South Vietnamese Government whose couldn't exist without American backing. If the book has any faults it is in a degree of repetition, though to be fair that didn't become an issue until I re-read it for the third time. The Phoenix edition of 2001 also includes a forty odd page postscript detailing developments in Vietnam after their victory in 1975, in which the normally sober minded Kolko brutally dissects the regimes market-"socialism" policy which he more or less regards as a massive betrayal of all the millions of Vietnamese who fought and died to liberate their country and build a decent and fair society. I heartily recommend "Anatomy of a War" to anyone wishing to understand that war, and not only that war as the analytical methods that Kolko deploys so well here can be usefully applied to other conflicts.

  2. 5 out of 5

    J.M. Hushour

    This is a mammoth social history of the Vietnam War encompassing the RVN, DRV, the Americans, and the average Vietnamese Joe. Those looking for a more straightforward, battle-to-battle historical account of the Vietnam War should look elsewhere. The bulk of Kolko's analysis rests on the various social and economic factors driving the venture of all sides involved in the conflict, particularly the DRV's creative and rational approach to the handling of the war. Based largely in the peasantry,the This is a mammoth social history of the Vietnam War encompassing the RVN, DRV, the Americans, and the average Vietnamese Joe. Those looking for a more straightforward, battle-to-battle historical account of the Vietnam War should look elsewhere. The bulk of Kolko's analysis rests on the various social and economic factors driving the venture of all sides involved in the conflict, particularly the DRV's creative and rational approach to the handling of the war. Based largely in the peasantry,the Communists and their NLF cadres in the South adroitly maneuvered their way through the morass that the US and the RVN created for themselves by perpetuating corrupt and inefficient rulers in the South. Interestingly, a new postscript by Kolko, an admitted leftist, surveys Vietnam from 1975-1993 and the immense failures of the Politburo to maintain their rational momentum grounded in the need to mobilize the masses due to their oppressive tactics and adoption of unwise IMF & World Bank strictures

  3. 5 out of 5

    Karlo Mikhail

    This is a 600-page comprehensive account of how the Vietnamese defeated the US imperialists and their local running dogs! A must-read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    mimosa maoist

    Beautifully written.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sean Ward

    A must read for understanding this conflict.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cath Holden

    The best Vietnam book I have read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Roberto Ramirez

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

  9. 4 out of 5

    Garry

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gregory Murry

  11. 5 out of 5

    James

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ansphils

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nightocelot

  14. 5 out of 5

    Adam Lambert

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amy Johanning

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nancie Smith

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

  18. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  19. 4 out of 5

    Philip

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jake

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Mountford

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kieran O'Brien

  25. 4 out of 5

    Adam Kiehl

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ricky

  27. 4 out of 5

    Johnny Wimmer

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joe Scipione

  30. 4 out of 5

    Armen

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