Let’s Talk Books (6/?)


Finding reference books about the Vietnam War does not require quite as much research as finding a reputable scholarly source on any particular subject in the war. Even so, here are some that I’ve found incredibly helpful over the years, and continue to use in my work.

  • Where We Were in Vietnam by Michael Kelley – This large book “identifies the name, location and provides a brief historical synopsis of every military installation, firebase, landing zone, airfield, port, signal site, vessel and significant terrain feature of the American war in Vietnam.” This is an absolutely amazing and thorough resource that I cannot recommend enough. Covers French involvement as well, with information spanning 1945-1975.
    Bonus: There is now a Kindle edition that costs only $10!
  • Vietnam Order of Battle: 

    A Complete Illustrated Reference to U.S. Army Combat and Support Forces in Vietnam 1961-1973

    by Shelby Stanton – “Extensive lists of units providing a record of every Army unit that served in Vietnam, down to and including separate companies, and also including U.S. Army aviation and riverine units.” Unit insignia and shoulder patch illustrations are also included. I’ve used this numerous times to determine information about different units, where they were stationed, and when they were in Vietnam. Select US Navy, US Marine, and US Air Force units are also included. Information on allies is brief, but still useful.

  • The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History edited by Spencer Tucker – So much included in this four volume set. I’ve used it through college and university libraries only because it’s far too expensive to buy on my own. Definitely a great resource if you have access to it.

  • Dictionary of the Vietnam War edited by James Olson – “The focus of this historical dictionary is the deepening US military and political involvement in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia during the decades from 1945 to 1975.” There are terms missing that I would think might be included and there are some that have definitions I don’t necessarily agree with. On the whole, a great resource.
    Bonus: This is far more affordable than when I acquired my copy a few years ago. If you can get your hands on a copy, do so.