After TET: The Bloodiest Year in Vietnam

Ronald H. Spector, Author
Ronald H. Spector, Author Free Press $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-02-930380-1
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-679-75046-8
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Spector ( Eagle Against the Sun ) maintains that the months following the Tet offensive (January and February 1968) illuminated the true nature of the war in Vietnam and largely determined its course during the five years that followed. In '68 both sides launched their most powerful efforts to break the military and political stalemate, and the U.S., furthermore, began to recognize potentially disastrous problems of racial tension and drug abuse among its troops. Spector analyzes the ultimately futile tactics of U.S. military operations, the ``other war'' effort to win hearts and minds, and the race riots at the Long Binh stockade and Danang brig, among other developments of that fateful year. He is perhaps the first major historian to scrutinize the Combined Action Program, in which Marine squads lived for indefinite periods in villages, providing aid and protection. The Army high command in Saigon regarded the program as well-meaning but misguided; according to Spector, however, it was the most effective, imaginative and humane approach the Americans devised. By concentrating on its most representative year, Spector has produced a first-rate history of the war. BOMC and History Book Club alternates. (Dec.)
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