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Vietnam: A History [Hardcover]

Stanley Karnow
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct 1983
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stanley Karnow offers the defintive history of the Vietnam conflict--a monumental narrative that analyzes, clarifies, and demystifies the tragic ordeal of this unpopular, unwinnable war. Photos.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Viking Pr; Prima edizione (First edition) edition (Oct 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670746045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670746040
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.8 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 266,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"The most comprehensive, up-to-date and balanced account" (Boston Globe)

"It has deservedly superseded all earlier books to become the standard reference work on the war" (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Even those of us who think we know something about it will read with fascination" (New York Times)

"So comprehensive and so dispassionate... History writing at its best" (Chicago Sun-Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

'A landmark work. Exceptionally well researched and well written, it is the most complete account to date of the Vietnam tragedy' Washington Post Book World --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best history of the Vietnam War 6 Oct 2006
This book represents just that - the best single volume history of the war, in my opinion. The first couple of chapters cover the early history of 'Indochina' and French colonialism, and then the rest of the text covers the history of Vietnam up to ~1980. This breadth of coverage (notably the war under Nixon) is not available in 'Bright Shining Lie' or 'Fire in the Lake' - the best of the other histories of the Vietnam war, and 'Best and the Brightest' is a political history.

The chapter structure is logical and the writing style maintained my interest throughout the book. It won the Pulitzer, so why write more? A wonderful history book.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most comprehensive history of Vietnam 7 May 2009
I have just finished this remarkable book and believe it to be the most comprehensive, lucid and beautifully written history books I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

The book covers the history of Vietnam including life before the French, life under the French and then the increasing US involvement culminating in the devastating war. The narrative flows beautifully and the author does not patronise his readers, but cleverly finds a style of writing that assumes intelligence of the reader, but no in-depth knowledge of the subject.

The book is also shocking in the revelations about how both the French and US underestimated the Vietnamese sense of nationalism. The direction of the war under LBJ and Nixon is shocking and it gives an incredible insight into the hawks and doves of Washington.

This book deserves to be read by the widest possible audience. It is authoratative without being biased or sensationalist. I would heartily recommend this book and would also concur with a fellow reviewer that this is really the only book you would want or need to read on this subject.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book 27 July 2012
Bought this following a trip of Vietnam that covered everything from Hanoi to the Mekong Delta. The book gives an excellent journey through the country and it's history that bought superb context to my trip. The chapter on the history from early times to the late 1800's is hard going with characters being introduced every other paragraph. However that is needed to set the scene for the rest of the book, and the author does a good job of forward referencing during the compressed history lesson.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The American Civil War... 24 Feb 2011
By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback least the one in the 20th Century, was fought over this country, and the ramifications reverberate today. There were those who saw, and those who will never see. Those who lived through that period, and took sides in one camp or the other are unlikely to ever change their minds, even if the motivation took the form of the proverbial lightning bolt on the way to Damascus. And certainly one book is unlikely to do it, as evidenced by some of the other reviews, particularly the 1 and 2-star ones. However, for the "younger generations," those who look back on the ancient events of America's involvement in Vietnam as they might the Peloponnesian Wars, and want to read just one book, this one would be it, the sine qua non of books on Vietnam, covering both the prelude to American involvement, as well as the entire war to the end, in 1975.

Stanley Karnow is a reporter of astonishing erudition. He combines the first-hand knowledge that comes from the "field work," with a scholarly appreciation of the historical forces at work. Like other soldiers who were in the war, I've had my problems with reporters, and what they chose to see and report. Karnow neatly addresses the issue of page 279, when he reports an exchange between Peter Arnett of the Associated Press (and later famous for his coverage from Baghdad of the '91 war) and Admiral Felt. Arnett had asked Felt a hard question after the Battle of Ap Bac, and Felt shot back: "Get on the team." All too many did, buying the line that was peddled at what even they would call "the Five O'clock Follies," the spin the America military would put on the war each day for press consumption. Karnow was one of the courageous ones, along with Neil Sheehan, Jonathan Schell, and others, who would report what they saw.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The complete history about the Vietnam war. 9 Jan 2014
I had read several books about the Vietnam war and this one is the more detailed about the political and military aspects of this conflict, and this in spite of being not a "new" book.
This is certainly due to the fact that the author has been for more than 20 years the main reporter about South-East Asia for the famous magazin "Time".
I liked very much the author's style, tipical for a reporter that had lived all the events described in this book.
This is so the most comprehensive book about this war , full of first hand accounts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vietnam- the facts 18 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Is a serious view of the history of Vietnman. Very well written. Wish I had read it before my visit to Vietnam.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive 3 Sep 2010
When I first purchased this book over twenty years ago it was seen as one of the seminal historical books dealing with the modern Vietnam conflict. I make no judgement about politics etc here - All I can say is I found the book to be well written and allowed me to gain a much greater understanding of the conflict. Anyone interested in learning more about this subject would do well to have it on the shelf.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unmatchable 24 Jan 2009
It really is very simple: If you want/need one perfect overview of the war and its historic background, then this is the one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars All embracing history
A big book covering a great many aspects of the country, culture, people and its war with the U S of A
Published 7 months ago by Joan Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I wanted
Product arrived as described, I bought it as a present. Quick speedy process, would recommend and would use again myself, thank you very much
Published 9 months ago by Adele Hutton
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves a medal.
Anyone who's serious about studying the build up, causes, and events of
the Vietnam war, must read this. Read more
Published 19 months ago by duncan cameron
5.0 out of 5 stars couldnt put it down!
this really is the definitive history on vietnam!the united states didnt bargain for the communists staying power but to be fair they held the line for ten years and stopped the... Read more
Published on 21 Feb 2012 by matt regan
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing iconic here, just raw reality
At around 270,000 words, Stanley Karnow's Vietnam - A History is something of a monster, as is its subject. Read more
Published on 2 Jan 2012 by Philip Spires
5.0 out of 5 stars The History of Vietnam in under 1000 Pages...
Detailed, in depth and purely intricate, Vietnam: A History by former United States Army Airforce serviceman and journalist Stanley Karnow is a truly unique study in respect of the... Read more
Published on 31 July 2011 by "Bubi" d S
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary book
I also bought this book 20 years ago and only read it the past couple of weeks. It is an extremely well-written narrative of the history of Vietnam, although the majority of the... Read more
Published on 5 Nov 2010 by Dora Establishment
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