The Dynamics of Defeat: The Vietnam War in Hau Nghia Province

Eric M. Bergerud, Author Westview Press $50.5 (383p) ISBN 978-0-8133-7807-7
Based on interviews and extensive archival research, this is a first-class, scholarly study of the 1963-1973 struggle in a single province near Saigon. Bergerud, history professor at Lincoln University in San Francisco, traces the succession of U.S.-South Vietnam initiatives aimed at defeating the Viet Cong in Hau Nghia province and winning the allegiance of the rural population. Disputing the view that the Americans were only interested in big battles and high body counts, he reveals how the U.S. 25th Division worked steadily to support pacification programs in the province. In waging the necessary military campaign at the same time, however, the division caused much destruction and loss of innocent life. Addressing these and other harsh contradictions, Bergerud concludes that the problems facing the Americans--not only in Hau Nghia but in Vietnam as a whole--were ``virtually beyond solution,'' given the political/military realities: the peasantry perceived the Saigon government as aloof, corrupt and inefficient and the Viet Cong as honest, efficient and concerned about the people's welfare. Photos. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-8133-1874-5
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