Vietnam's internal strife over the years is seared into so many people's minds as an American affair. This book takes you back to WW2 and the first of the most recent invaders - Japan. We are taken through the history as the French return after WW2 to reclaim their foreign possession only to meet determined resistance culminating in the battle of Dien Bien Phu, a battle which the French army had setup having massively underestimate the Vietnamese opponents and their capabilities. The French defeat lays the seeds of American (with considerable support from Australia, New Zealand and Thailand) involvement which is followed to their pullout and the eventual fall of the Republic of Vietnam with an interesting take on the Tet Offensive as being, in spite of appearances, far from a victory for the Viet Cong rather a defeat which took four years to recover from even though in the eyes of the American public opinion it was the tipping point.
The book packs a lot of history in so, out of necessity, individual events are covered in no more than a few paragraphs. The Gulf of Tonkin, the My Lai massacre (with no mention of the fate of William Calley), Hamburger Hill, the public street execution, the burning monk and the Tet Offensive are all placed in the correct context but for the detail you'll have to look elsewhere.
This book, as with all the History in One Hour series, is the strategic and broad brush which it sets out to be and is light on detail but provides a well rounded overview of a subject. The detail will come from other, far weightier books. At the end of the book is a brief biography of the main protagonists from all sides.