Vietnam – A History – by Stanley Karnow – A Review by Bill Dahl

Pulitzer Prize winner Stanley Karnow’s Vietnam – A History shall always be a precious piece of literature for me.

Karnow’s ability to go back – WAY BACK – to characterize the ancient history of Vietnam that inhabited the conflict during the 50’s, 60’s and its culmination in 1975 – is simply breathtaking, yet, eminently digestible. His investigative journalistic talents that define the players throughout the conflict are unique and very interesting.

This is NOT a boots on the ground, bullet by bullet, battle by battle action-adventure type thriller. The perspective that Karnow takes translated into the PBS series…it is distinctly historical perspective with just enough intimacy to keep the reader turning pages throughout this 800 page treatise.

All the human weaknesses are on display and dutifully explained that culminated in “America’s lost war.” The assumptions, worldviews, energies and ego’s that became war, are in full view for the reader to discern and digest.

Frankly, if you want to see the “parallels” between America’s War in Afghanistan today – and the Vietnam War – this is the book to read that will make the same vividly apparent.

Unfortunately.

Like I said, this book is a treasure in the library of American literature.

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