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In Buddha's Company explores a previously neglected aspect of the Vietnam War: the experiences of the Thai troops who served there and the attitudes and beliefs that motivated them to volunteer. Thailand sent nearly 40,000 volunteer soldiers to South Vietnam to serve alongside the Free World Forces in the conflict, but unlike the other foreign participants, the Thais came armed with historical and cultural knowledge of the region. Blending the methodologies of cultural and military history, Richard Ruth examines the individual experiences of Thai volunteers in their wartime encounters with American allies, South Vietnamese civilians, and Viet Cong enemies. Ruth shows how the Thais were transformed by living amongst the modern goods and war machinery of the Americans and by traversing the jungles and plantations haunted by indigenous spirits. At the same time, Ruth argues, Thailand's ruling institutions used the image of volunteers to advance their respective agendas, especially those related to anticommunist authoritarianism. Drawing on numerous interviews with Thai veterans and archival material from Thailand and the United States, Ruth focuses on the cultural exchanges that occurred between Thai troops and their allies and enemies, presenting a Southeast Asian view of a conflict that has traditionally been studied as a Cold War event dominated by an American political agenda. The resulting study considers such diverse topics as comparative Buddhisms, alternative modernities, consumerism, celebrity, official memories vs. personal recollections, and the value of local knowledge in foreign wars. The war's effects within Thailand itself are closely considered, demonstrating that the war against communism in Vietnam, as articulated by Thai leaders, was a popular cause among nearly all segments of the population. Furthermore, Ruth challenges previous assertions that Thailand's forces were merely "America's mercenaries" by presenting the multiple, overlapping motivations for volunteering offered by the soldiers themselves. In Buddha's Company makes clear that many Thais sought direct involvement in the Vietnam War and that their participation had profound and lasting effects on the country's political and military institutions, royal affairs, popular culture, and international relations. As one of only a handful of academic histories of Thailand in the 1960s, it provides a crucial link between the keystone studies of the Phibun-Sarit years (1946-1963) and those examining the turbulent 1970s.
In their initial effort to end the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger attempted to lever concessions from Hanoi at the negotiating table with military force and coercive diplomacy. They were not seeking military victory, which they did not believe was feasible. Instead, they backed up their diplomacy toward North Vietnam and the Soviet Union with the Madman Theory of threatening excessive force, which included the specter of nuclear force. They began with verbal threats then bombed North Vietnamese and Viet Cong base areas in Cambodia, signaling that there was more to come. As the bombing expanded, they launched a previously unknown mining ruse against Haiphong, stepped-up their warnings to Hanoi and Moscow, and initiated planning for a massive shock-and-awe military operation referred to within the White House inner circle as DUCK HOOK. Beyond the mining of North Vietnamese ports and selective bombing in and around Hanoi, the initial DUCK HOOK concept included proposals for "tactical" nuclear strikes against logistics targets and U.S. and South Vietnamese ground incursions into the North. In early October 1969, however, Nixon aborted planning for the long-contemplated operation. He had been influenced by Hanoi's defiance in the face of his dire threats and concerned about U.S. public reaction, antiwar protests, and internal administration dissent. In place of DUCK HOOK, Nixon and Kissinger launched a secret global nuclear alert in hopes that it would lend credibility to their prior warnings and perhaps even persuade Moscow to put pressure on Hanoi. It was to be a "special reminder" of how far President Nixon might go. The risky gambit failed to move the Soviets, but it marked a turning point in the administration's strategy for exiting Vietnam. Nixon and Kissinger became increasingly resigned to a "long-route" policy of providing Saigon with a "decent chance" of survival for a "decent interval" after a negotiated settlement and U.S. forces left Indochina. Burr and Kimball draw upon extensive research in participant interviews and declassified documents to offer a history that holds important lessons for the present and future about the risks and uncertainties of nuclear threat making.
Rough Draft draws the curtain on the race and class inequities of the Selective Service during the Vietnam War. Amy J. Rutenberg argues that policy makers' idealized conceptions of Cold War middle-class masculinity directly affected whom they targeted for conscription and also for deferment. Federal officials believed that college educated men could protect the nation from the threat of communism more effectively as civilians than as soldiers. The availability of deferments for this group mushroomed between 1945 and 1965, making it less and less likely that middle-class white men would serve in the Cold War army. Meanwhile, officials used the War on Poverty to target poorer and racialized men for conscription in the hopes that military service would offer them skills they could use in civilian life. As Rutenberg shows, manpower policies between World War II and the Vietnam War had unintended consequences. While some men resisted military service in Vietnam for reasons of political conscience, most did so because manpower polices made it possible. By shielding middle-class breadwinners in the name of national security, policymakers militarized certain civilian roles-a move that, ironically, separated military service from the obligations of masculine citizenship and, ultimately, helped kill the draft in the United States.
This book recounts the experiences of a young US Marine officer during the Vietnam War as he fights that war over a nineteen month period in three different geographical areas of South Vietnam. He graphically explains to the reader what it was like to perform three distinct combat missions: long-range ground reconnaissance in the Annamite Mountains of I Corps, infantry operations in the rice paddies and mountains of Quang Nam Province, and special police operations for the CIA in Tay Ninh Province. The author describes in rich detail each of these distinct military activities and provides powerful and explicit examples of each. Using primary sources, such has US Marine Corps official unit histories, CIA documents, and his weekly letters home to his parents, the author relies almost exclusively on primary sources to convey to the reader a story that is devoid of hyperbole and focused on providing an accurate and honest account of combat at the small unit level. Of particular interest to students of the war is his description of his assignment to the CIA as a Provincial Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) advisor in Tay Ninh Province, where he participated in several secret missions as part of the controversial Phoenix Program. He also reveals the name and contribution of the CIA's most valuable spy during the war, the famous "Tay Ninh Source".
Hog's Exit explores the mysterious death in 1982 of Jerry "Hog" Daniels, a former CIA case officer to legendary Hmong leader General Vang Pao during the U.S.'s "secret war" in Laos. Drawing on first-person reminiscences of Daniels's colorful life, Morrison also captures the drama and beauty of the Hmong spirit rituals, as well as the lamentations and suspicions that pervade this unusual funeral ceremony. Americans and Hmong, ranchers and refugees, State Department officials and smokejumpers, share their memories about Daniels: growing up; hunting and fishing in Montana; cheating death in Laos; and carousing in the bars and brothels of Thailand. Hog's Exit provides a fascinating view of a man and the two very different cultures in which he lived.
During his first tour in Vietnam - 1967-68 - Dick Taylor was a well-trained and highly motivated amateur assigned to advise a hard-bitten ARVN infantry battalion working in the mud and streams of IV Corps. He became savvy in a hurry and found that he was both brave and resourceful. He barely survived Tet 1968, then served on an advisory team staff. For the next two years, Taylor earned a Ranger tab, served on a division staff, and schooled on. He met a woman, and married her days before he returned to Vietnam. Taylor's second tour- 1970-71 - was altogether different. He immediately assumed command of Bravo Company, 1/7 Cav, and excelled as a commander and a leader. He was aggressive in the field, confident in his command, and assertive with his superiors. He fought a good war, a successful war, and when he was forced to take a staff job it was as his battalion's intelligence officer. But the war was winding down, its purpose lost. Taylor's spirit's flagged, but not his fidelity. This well-written combat memoir is heartfelt, earnest, honest, and just a little melancholy. About the Author Colonel Richard Taylor was an original member of the first modern Ranger battalion. He also commanded an infantry training battalion, served with the 82nd Airborne, directed an academic department at the Army's staff college and provided military advice to NATO during the break up of the Warsaw Pact.
Combat Talons in Vietnam is a personal account of the first use of C-130s in the Vietnam War. It provides an insider's view of crew training and classified missions for this technologically advanced aircraft. Many covert missions over North Vietnam were sucessful, but one night, John Gargus, a mission planner, oversaw an operation in which the aircraft-carrying eleven crewmembers-failed to return from a nighttime mission. For thirty years, a search for the missing aircraft remained in progress. In the late 1990s, the Combat Talon veteran community at Hurlburt Field in Florida, still uncertain of the full story, decided to dedicate a memorial to the lost crew. When wartime mission records were declassified, Gargus embarked on a long journey of inquiry, research, and puzzle-solving to reconstruct the events of that mission and the fate of its crew. He discovered that the wreckage of the plane had been found in 1992 and that the remains of the crew were being held in Hawaii. Through numerous Freedom of Information Act requests, interviews, and site visits, Gargus sought to answer the question of why it took so long to find the wreckage and, more importantly, why the special operations command units and crewmember families were left uninformed. By 2000, the remains were relocated to a common grave at Arlington National Cemetery at last providing a measure of closure to family, friends, and comrades.
Vietman Bao Chi brings together interviews with 35 combat correspondents who reported on the Vietnam War. They wrote the stories of Vietnam, captured the images and filmed the television coverage of their fellow servicemen on the battlefields from the Mekong Delta in the south to the DMZ in Central Vietnam, from the Tet Offensive in 1968 to the fall of Saigon in 1975. They were men like Dale Dye, who would go on to play an integral role in the making of Platoon, the first film to realistically portray the Vietnam War; marine Steve Stibbens, the first Stars and Stripes reporter in Vietnam in early 1962; Jim Morris, 1st and 5th Special Forces Group, whose works such as War Story and Fighting Men, recount the soldiering of the Green Berets and their Montagnard counterparts in the Central Highlands of Vietnam; John Del Vecchio, whose classic work of nonfiction, The 13th Valley, mirrors his own existence as a combat correspondent with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam; and U.S. Navy Seal Chip Maury, renowned for his free fall and underwater photography in Vietnam. For years, there has been a well-deserved plethora of work by and about those who covered the war as civilians, with this book dedicating four of its chapters to civilian media. There hasn't been enough about the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who did so while wearing an American uniform. Yablonka's extensive experience as a military journalist brought him into contact with many of these combat correspondents, giving him a unique insight into their professions and lives. This book honours these brave chroniclers in uniform who brought the Vietnam War home to us.
The unimagined community proposes a reexamination of the Vietnam War from a perspective that has been largely excluded from historical accounts of the conflict, that of the South Vietnamese. Challenging the conventional view that the war was a struggle between the Vietnamese people and US imperialism, the study presents a wide-ranging investigation of South Vietnamese culture, from political philosophy and psychological warfare to popular culture and film. Beginning with a genealogy of the concept of a Vietnamese "culture," as the latter emerged during the colonial period, the book concludes with a reflection on the rise of popular culture during the American intervention. Reexamining the war from the South Vietnamese perspective, The unimagined community pursues the provocative thesis that the conflict, in this early stage, was not an anti-communist crusade, but a struggle between two competing versions of anticolonial communism. -- .
Traditionally seen as a master of domestic politics, Lyndon Johnson is frequently portrayed as inept in foreign relations, consumed by the war in Vietnam, and unable to provide vision or leadership for the Western alliance. In this persuasive revisionist history, Thomas Alan Schwartz takes issue with many of the popular and scholarly assumptions about the president seen as the classic "ugly American."
In the first comprehensive study of Johnson's policy toward Europe--the most important theater of the Cold War--Schwartz shows a president who guided the United States with a policy that balanced the solidarity of the Western alliance with the need to stabilize the Cold War and reduce the nuclear danger. He faced the dilemmas of maintaining the cohesion of the alliance, especially with the French withdrawal from NATO, while trying to reduce tensions between eastern and western Europe, managing bitter conflicts over international monetary and trade policies, and prosecuting an escalating war in Southeast Asia.
Impressively researched and engagingly written, "Lyndon Johnson and Europe" shows a fascinating new side to this giant of twentieth-century American history and demonstrates that Johnson's diplomacy toward Europe deserves recognition as one of the most important achievements of his presidency.
Each year, the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps selects one book
that he believes is both relevant and timeless for reading by all
Marines. The Commandant's choice for 1993 was We Were Soldiers Once
. . . and Young.""
"From the Hardcover edition."
"Forever Forward" is the first in-depth account of K-9 Operations during the Vietnam War, and provides a behind the scenes look at how Allied forces employed dog teams in a variety of roles, the evolution of the United States military working dog program, and the aftermath of Vietnam. The 4,000 dogs that served with our men in Vietnam in every service branch are America's unsung heroes. American dog teams averted over 10,000 casualties and worked as scouts, sentries, trackers, mine, and tunnel detectors. They were so effective the Viet Cong even placed a bounty on them. Heroes yes, but our own government left most of them behind to an unknown fate.
The latest entry in Stackpole's Battle Briefings Series covers the Vietnam War, from its roots in the French war through the evacuation of the embassy. In between is the American Vietnam experience: the draft, the combat, the politics, and everything else. Here, in 176 pages, is the Vietnam War.
Western historians have long speculated about Chinese military intervention in the Vietnam War. It was not until recently, however, that newly available international archival materials, as well as documents from China, have indicated the true extent and level of Chinese participation in the conflict of Vietnam. For the first time in the English language, this book offers an overview of the operations and combat experience of more than 430,000 Chinese troops in Indochina from 1968-73. The Chinese Communist story from the "other side of the hill" explores one of the missing pieces to the historiography of the Vietnam War. The book covers the chronological development and Chinese decision-making by examining Beijing's intentions, security concerns, and major reasons for entering Vietnam to fight against the U.S. armed forces. It explains why China launched a nationwide movement, in Mao Zedong's words, to "assist Vietnam and resist America" in 1965-72. It details PLA foreign war preparation, training, battle planning and execution, tactical decisions, combat problem solving, political indoctrination, and performance evaluations through the Vietnam War. International Communist forces, technology, and logistics proved to be the decisive edge that enabled North Vietnam to survive the U.S. Rolling Thunder bombing campaign and helped the Viet Cong defeat South Vietnam. Chinese and Russian support prolonged the war, making it impossible for the United States to win. With Russian technology and massive Chinese intervention, the NVA and NLF could function on both conventional and unconventional levels, which the American military was not fully prepared to face. Nevertheless, the Vietnam War seriously tested the limits of the communist alliance. Rather than improving Sino-Soviet relations, aid to North Vietnam created a new competition as each communist power attempted to control Southeast Asian communist movement. China shifted its defense and national security concerns from the U.S. to the Soviet Union.
From 1967-1971, Stuart Steinberg served in the U.S. Army as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist. In January 1968, he was sent to Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah, where chemical and biological weaponry was stockpiled, staying there until July 1968. Steinberg was involved in helping to clean up the worst nerve gas disaster in American history on March 13, 1968. As a result, he volunteered to serve in Vietnam from September 4, 1968 to March 24, 1970. This is What Hell Looks Like explores the difficult and traumatic situations faced by Steinberg and his teammates across their time in Vietnam. This volume also examines the causes and consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder though Steinberg's honest account of his experiences, including his subsequent addiction to prescription painkillers. Documenting Steinberg's personal journey through "Hell," his account casts further light on life during the Vietnam War.
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