My Lai: An American Atrocity in the Vietnam War

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Johns Hopkins University Press, Jul 16, 2012 - History - 184 pages
3 Reviews

On March 16, 1968, American soldiers killed as many as five hundred Vietnamese men, women, and children in a village near the South China Sea. In My Lai William Thomas Allison explores and evaluates the significance of this horrific event. How could such a thing have happened? Who (or what) should be held accountable? How do we remember this atrocity and try to apply its lessons, if any?

My Lai has fixed the attention of Americans of various political stripes for more than forty years. The breadth of writing on the massacre, from news reports to scholarly accounts, highlights the difficulty of establishing fact and motive in an incident during which confusion, prejudice, and self-preservation overwhelmed the troops.

Son of a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War—and aware that the generation who lived through the incident is aging—Allison seeks to ensure that our collective memory of this shameful episode does not fade.

Well written and accessible, Allison’s book provides a clear narrative of this historic moment and offers suggestions for how to come to terms with its aftermath.

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My Lai: An American Atrocity in the Vietnam War

User Review  - KH - Book Verdict

On March 16, 1968, the U.S. Americal Division's Charlie Company attacked Son My (My Lai) village to root out enemy troops reported to be hiding there. No Communist forces were found, yet more than 500 ... Read full review

Review: My Lai: An American Atrocity in the Vietnam War

User Review  - Renee Cutchen - Goodreads

I had little knowledge of the My Lai massacre before reading. An easy read, with coverage of the event itself and the aftermath. A sad true story in American military history. Read full review

About the author (2012)

William Thomas Allison is a professor of history at Georgia Southern University. He is author of Military Justice in Vietnam: The Rule of Law in an American War.

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