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Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam by [Logevall, Fredrik]
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Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Review

Praise for "Embers of War
""Fredrik Logevall's excellent book "Choosing War "(1999) chronicled the American escalation of the Vietnam War in the early 1960s. With "Embers of "War, he has written an even more impressive book about the French conflict in Vietnam and the beginning of the American one from the end of World War II to the beginning of the second Vietnam War in 1959. It is the most comprehensive history of that time. Logevall, a professor of history at Cornell University, has drawn from many years of previous scholarship as well as his own. And he has produced a powerful portrait of the terrible and futile French war from which Americans learned little as they moved toward their own engagement in Vietnam.""--"Alan Brinkley, "The New York Times Book Review"*Editor's Choice*
"A monumental history . . . a widely researched and eloquently written account of how the U.S. came to be involved in Vietnam . . . certainly the most comprehensive review of this period to date.""--Wall Street Journal"
"Magisterial.""--Foreign Affairs"
""Embers of War" is simply an essential work for those seeking to understand the worst foreign-policy adventure in American history. . . . Even though readers know how the story ends--as with "The Iliad"--they will be as riveted by the tale as if they were hearing it for the first time.""--The Christian Science Monitor"
"A remarkable new history . . . Logevall skilfully explains everything that led up to Vietnam's fatal partition in 1954 . . . [and] peppers the grand sweep of his book with vignettes of remarkable characters, wise and foolish.""--The Economist"
"Fascinating, beautifully-written . . . Logevall's account provides much new detail and important new insights. . . . It is impossible not to read the book without being struck by contemporary parallels."--"Foreign Policy
""Huge and engrossing . . . [Logevall] writes with an ambitious sweep and an instinct for pertinent detail.n

About the Author

Fredrik Logevall was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1963, and lived thereafter in Vasteras. Logevall is a Swedish-American historian and educator at Cornell University, the John S. Knight Professor of International Studies. He is a specialist in in U.S. foreign policy and the Vietnam Wars. He is also the director of Cornell's Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. Logevall has lectured widely around the world on topics relating to diplomatic history and contemporary U.S. foreign policy, and has won numerous honors for his work. Among other awards, he has received the Stuart L. Bernath book, article, and lecture prizes as well as the Warren F. Kuehl Book Prize (2001) from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations;[3] and the W. Turrentine Jackson Book Award, Pacific Coast Branch, American Historical Association (2000).[4] He was also selected as a "Top Young Historian" by History News Network.[5] A dedicated teacher, Logevall received the UCSB Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Prize for the Humanities and Fine Arts in 1998

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 14307 KB
  • Print Length: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (21 Aug. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007EED4P8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #306,952 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A well researched and well written account of American and French involvement in Vietnam (primarily 1945-59). I had always thought that France's involvement in Vietnam post 1945 was due to a failure to recognise that the days of empire were over. While this may have been true initially the author conclusively proves that in the latter years the only factors keeping the French in Vietnam were American support and pressure, with the latter coming from the US administration's dogmatic belief in the now defunct domino theory (Vietnam was seen as the front line in preventing the communist hordes sweep through Asia)and, after the Korean stalemate, to deflect criticism at home that they were 'losing' Asia. Eisenhower came very close to committing US ground forces into Vietnam in 53/54 and the UK deserves some credit for effectively preventing this by refusing to join the coalition of countries that Eisenhower required to justify ground forces. Eden was wary of the vietnam situation and did not subscribe to the domino theory- if only he had been around to advise Blair on Iraq. In another parallel with Iraq a constant theme of the book is the US administration's token understanding of both Vietnam and Asia outside Japan and the accompanying policy mistakes-history repeating itself. An excellent and very readable book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have a large collection of books on the war in Southeast Asia, almost 700 as a matter of fact, and I am immodest enough to consider myself a fairly serious and knowledgable student of the conflict; yet Professor Logevall's books exposed gaps in my knowledge. This book is a first class study of the collapse of the French Indo-Chinese empire and the inexorable slide towards US commitment to military involvement in Southeast Asia. As with many of the books I have read on the subject Logevall exposes the French disconnection from reality, clinging to an outmoded Imperial past and in one breath excorating America yet in the next making extravagant demands for US support. Professor Logevall also places the conflict within the larger panorama of the growing Cold War; essential to any understanding of the Vietnam War. The accounts of the political machinations in great places among the great men of the age, judging how the final disposition of Vietnam would be of benefit or not to their position, is both fascinating and disturbing.

This is not a dry impenetrable tome rather an immensely readable account of the opening shots in a tragedy that engulfed America and Vietnam; and the echoes of which resonate still. Once you have read this book you should turn your attention to the excellent 'Choosing War' also written by Professor Logevall.
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Format: Hardcover
Frederik Logevall's book is a masterly account of the wars fought by France and America against the Vietnamese. It dissects the political, strategic and operational errors made by both countries at a time when Cold War hysteria was on the rise. Sadly, some of the same errors have and are being repeated in Iraq and Afghanistan
He reminds readers that Ho Chi Minh, who later became the communist leader of North Vietnam,was made an honorary member of the OSS before being denounced in 1946 as an agent of international communism!Ho and Giap were superb political and military figures, in many ways far superior to anyone on the French or American sides.
Logeville demonstrates how American leaders in the period 1950-75 thought themselves invincible on the battlefield. They were to learn a bitter lesson in Vietnam just as the French had at Dien Bien Phu.
In the war America lost some 58000 men plus thousands more wounded physically and mentally. Contrast these figures with losses in Iraq and Afghanistan despite these two wars having already lasted longer than WW1 and WW2 combined.
This book is a must read for anyone who wishes to understand the Vietnam wars and today's conflict in American political and military circles over pragmatism and idealism.
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Format: Hardcover
(Disclaimer: the author of this review has no professional expertise on Vietnam. This review should not be construed as a statement about Vietnamese history. It is only a review of a book.)

It's pretty common for books about history to begin weakly, and improve as one reads them. One reason is that, initially, the author has to win the confidence of readers: allay their misgivings, distance the present work from past failures, and address popular fallacies. This is why books on controversial topics have to accommodate popular bromides at first, and later disabuse readers of them. This is a book about a war by a Western colonial power against a Communist movement/government, so sincere historians will always be dogged by Cold War flapdoodle. Logevall does do a tolerable job dispelling some of this flapdoodle, and perhaps that's the most one can ask for.

The first reservation is that everything is against Logevall, in so far as he wants to write an honest history. The Cold War is still very much with us. Writers are still vulnerable to allegations of Communist sympathies, no matter how faithful they are to the official US government narrative of history. This is not Logevall's fault, and no reasonable person can criticize him for trimming hard on behalf of the West in _Embers of War_. However, readers do need to read between the lines, ignoring the editorializing. A more important issue is the extreme focus on the West. This is a war that took place in Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Laos, yet the book has a focus on European actors and attitudes that borders on the obsessive. In this respect, Logevall is almost exactly the same as the great majority of writers.
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