The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam

Front Cover
Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000 - Fiction - 523 pages
In this groundbreaking book, James William Gibson shatters the misled assumptions behind both liberal and conservative explanations for America's failure in Vietnam. Gibson shows how American government and military officials developed a disturbingly limited concept of war -- what he calls "technowar" -- in which all efforts were focused on maximizing the enemy's body count, regardless of the means. Consumed by a blind faith in the technology of destruction, American leaders failed to take into account their enemy's highly effective guerrilla tactics. Indeed, technowar proved woefully inapplicable to the actual political and military strategies used by the Vietnamese, and Gibson reveals how U.S. officials consistently falsified military records to preserve the illusion that their approach would prevail. Gibson was one of the first historians to question the fundamental assumptions behind American policy, and The Perfect War is a brilliant reassessment of the war -- now republished with a new introduction by the author.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bookmarkaussie - LibraryThing

This is an important book but such a strange one, it tries to reconcile the right and left's views of the Vietnam War. The Author makes concessions to both views while advancing some of his own. The ... Read full review

The perfect war: technowar in Vietnam

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

According to Gibson, Vietnam was a "technowar,'' conceived and waged by U.S. war managers as "a high technology, capital-intensive production process.'' It was neither a mistake nor a problem of ... Read full review

Contents

Trailing the Beast
3
Legacies of Resistance Vietnamese Nationalism against the Chinese and French
28
The Permanent War Begins 19401954
44
America Comes to Vietnam Installing the Mechanisms 19541964
69
Technowar at Ground Level SearchandDestroy as Assembly Line
93
The Tet Offensive and the Production of a Double Reality
155
Forced Draft Urbanization and the Consumer Society Come to Vietnam
225
Pacification War in the Countryside
270
The Structure of Air Operations
357
The Redistribution of Air War Laos 19681973
383
Closing Out the War Cambodia and North Vietnam 19691973
403
Finding the Light at the End of the Tunnel
421
Surveying the Wreckage The Limits of Conventional Criticism and the Reproduction of Technowar
433
The Warriors Knowledge Social Stratification and the Book Corpus of Vietnam
461
Notes
477
Index
509

Air War over North Vietnam Bombing as Communication
319
Structural Dynamics of Escalation in Theory and Practice 19661967
335

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information