The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam

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Open Road + Grove/Atlantic, Dec 1, 2007 - History - 544 pages
“Powerfully and persuasively . . . Gibson tells us why we were in Vietnam . . . a work of daring brilliance—an eye-opening chronicle of waste and self-delusion.” —Robert Olen Butler
 
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 US 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.
 
“This book towers above all that has been written to date on Vietnam.” —LA Weekly
 

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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

Preface
Trailing the Beast
Vietnamese Nationalism against
19401954
Installing the Mechanisms
SearchandDestroy
The Tet Offensive and the Production of a Double Reality
Urbanization and the Consumer Society Come
Bombing as Communication
Structural Dynamics of Escalation in Theory and Practice
The Structure of Air Operations
Laos 19681973
Cambodia and North Vietnam 1969
Finding the Light at the End of the Tunnel
The Limits of Conventional
and the Book Corpus of Vietnam

Pacification War in the Countryside

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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.

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