Where the Domino Fell: America in Vietnam, 1945-1990

James Stuart Olson, Author, Randy Roberts, With St. Martin's Press $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-05535-6
According to the authors of this compact history of the war and its aftermath, what began as a righteous crusade to save Southeast Asia from communism ended up as ``a face-saving game to get out of an impossible mess without looking bad.'' Olson and Roberts (history professors at Sam Houston State University in Texas and Purdue University in Indiana, respectively) chronicle the course of the first and second Indochina wars from the Vietnamese, French and American points of view, tracing the U.S. commitment from the earliest OSS aid mission in 1945 to the humiliating pullout in '73. The book is highly readable, succinct in style and full of surprises: Ho Chi Minh's prediction that Americans' inherent impatience would doom their effort in the end; reviews of postwar Vietnamese movies about the anti-imperialist struggle; an analysis of America's efforts to come to terms with the defeat in Southeast Asia as reflected in popular culture. The authors are blunt, occasionally arbitrary in their opinions, arguing, for instance, that the most effective U.S. pacification effort was the Marines' CAP program, a promising but relatively minor affair prematurely canceled. Photos. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 308 pages - 978-1-933385-15-0
Hardcover - 321 pages - 978-0-312-03263-0
Paperback - 323 pages - 978-1-4051-8222-5
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