The First Domino: Eisenhower, the Military, and America's Intervention in Vietnam

James R. Arnold, Author William Morrow & Company $25 (444p) ISBN 978-0-688-09640-3
This impressively detailed study traces the gradual U.S. entanglement in Vietnam, from the early days of the Truman administration to the early 1960s when the South Vietnamese government formally requested that President Kennedy send U.S. Special Forces teams. Arnold discusses Truman's rejection of Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh version of Vietnamese nationalism, explains our reluctant support of France's post-WW II colonial reassertion in Southeast Asia, recounts how North Korea's 1950 invasion of the South caused immediate reverberations in Vietnam and reveals how close the U.S. came to direct military intervention in 1954 during the Vietminh's siege of the French fortress at Dien Bien Phu. The book also analyzes President Eisenhower's critical 1955 decisions relating to Indochina: accepting the burden of training the South Vietnamese Army, authorizing the creation of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization and aligning U.S. policy with the flawed leadership of President Ngo Dinh Diem. By the author of the Bantam History of the Vietnam War , this authoritative review explains clearly how the U.S. got caught in the quagmire. Photos. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
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