For those who are already familiar with the Vietnam War and looking for an in depth study, here are three books that are well worth their considerable heft.
- Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945-1975 by John Prados – (2009, 696 pages) Prados offers a very comprehensive narrative as he discusses the well tread paths of political and diplomatic history for the war while never losing sight of the military aspects. Unlike many histories, Prados pays significant attention to the war post-Tet Offensive. Definitely check this book out.
- A Grand Delusion: America’s Descent into Vietnam by Robert Mann – (2001, 832 pages) Mann focuses largely on the relationship between the executive (president) and legislative (Congress) branches between 1945 an 1975. There are no stunning new revelations regarding American policy and the war. Highly recommended for Mann’s study of Congress though.
- Vietnam: A History by Stanley Karnow – (1983, 1997, 784 pages)The main thrust of Karnow’s argument is that the United States demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of its enemy. To demonstrate this, the book begins with a long narrative of Vietnamese history. Long regarded as the most complete history, it is often referenced in histories since. A must read.