Vietnam: explaining America's lost war

Front Cover
Blackwell Pub., 2009 - History - 218 pages
0 Reviews
The involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War has been the most polarizing issue within post-war American history. It was divisive at the time, both domestically and internationally, and debates continue to the present day. At the heart of the disputes has always been the question of 'failure' - why was the United States unable to achieve its objectives? Was failure inherent in the decision to go to war? Was it inherently an unwinnable war, or was failure the result of inept strategy, poor leadership, and a biased media? In Vietnam, Gary R. Hess describes and evaluates the main arguments of scholars, participants, and journalists, both revisionist and orthodox in their approach, as they consider why the United States was unable to achieve its objectives. While providing a clear and well-balanced account of existing historical debate, Hess also offers his own interpretation of the events and opens a dialogue about the usefulness of historical argument in reaching a deeper understanding of the conflict. This concise book is essential reading for students and teachers of the Vietnam War as both a clear and well-balanced account of existing historical debate and a thought-provoking look at the future of historical scholarship.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


A Necessary War or a Mistaken War?
The Revisionist Critique of the Strategy for Defeat
The Revisionist Critique of the Other War

4 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

\Gary R. Hess is Distinguished Research Professor of History at Bowling Green State University. He is a past president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and a former chair of the U.S. State Department’s Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation. His publications include Vietnam and the United States: Origins and Legacy of War 1941-1945 (1998) and Presidential Decisions for War: Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf (2001).

Bibliographic information