Into Cambodia

Keith William Nolan, Author
Keith William Nolan, Author Presidio Press $24.95 (468p) ISBN 978-0-89141-368-4
Reviewed on: 01/01/1970
Release date: 01/01/1955
Based on interviews, letters and diaries, this fourth book by Nolan ( The Battle for Hue ) on the war in Vietnam gives a vivid account of the U.S. Army's role in the 1970 attack on Cambodia, disregarding, with good reason, involvement of South Vietnamese forces in the mission: although the ARVN inflicted more casualties against the North Vietnamese and Vietcong than did American troops, no records evidently exist of their wartime operations. Despite many examples in these pages of exemplary leadership and sacrifice, the author's chief feat is to depict candidly the progressive demoralization of Americans during the campaign. He deals with painful realities that, he argues, divided the ranks: the GI drug problem and influence of the Black Power movement on the army; conflicts between sometimes reluctant draftees and stalwart ``career'' personnel; and the issue of ``combat refusal.'' Nolan does not skimp on details of military action, all of it taking place during a phase of the war when the principal goal for soldiers, as he sees it, was survival--not destruction of the enemy--and concludes that the two-month campaign was a tactical success of limited value to the war as a whole. (May)
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