Bitter Victory

Robert Shaplen, Author HarperCollins Publishers $16.45 (309p) ISBN 978-0-06-015586-5
Shaplen, considered by many the dean of Far Eastern correspondents, has reported from that region for the New Yorker since 1962. This book is based on a six-week visit to Vietnam and Cambodia in 1984, during which he sought to find out ""why and how the Vietnamese won the war, and why they have had so much trouble winning the peace.'' Having developed a wide network of friends in Southeast Asia throughout the war years, Shaplen was able to hold frank discussions on sensitive issues to a greater extent than other returning Western journalists. Subjects under consideration include the precarious social and economic conditions in Vietnam, the political dialogue between the Old Guard ``ideologues'' and the younger ``pragmatists,'' and the edgy relationship between the Vietnamese and the Russians. The author was surprised to learn that most of the older veterans in Vietnam ``had more respect and admiration for the manner in which the French fought than the Americans.'' In the final chapter Shaplen explains the seemingly inexplicable recent history of Cambodia/Kampuchea. (September 24)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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