cover image The Vietnam War: A Graphic History

The Vietnam War: A Graphic History

Dwight Jon Zimmerman, . . Hill and Wang, $19.95 (143pp) ISBN 978-0-8090-9495-0

This illustrated history examines the progression of the Vietnam War, but the lack of attention to the personal experiences of soldiers and civilians on every side leaves it an incomplete view of the conflict. The major military campaigns, the political choices made on the American home front and the rise and effect of the antiwar campaign are all clearly explained. These controversial events are covered objectively, discussing what was done well without ignoring the terrible mistakes. But the book focuses on the American perspective, paying much less attention to the governments of North and South Vietnam and barely any to the experiences of the people of either nation. Given that the book acknowledges the war was decided by North Vietnamese citizens not surrendering as easily as American strategists had planned, this is a major oversight. In addition, telling the story of the Vietnam War, a conflict heavily documented in color photography, through black and white illustration seems questionable, as does glossing over some of the horrors of war with comics clichés. A decent starting point for someone looking to begin to understand a significant event in living American history, as long as more study follows. (Sept.)