cover image A Noble Cause: American Battlefield Victories in Vietnam

A Noble Cause: American Battlefield Victories in Vietnam

Douglas Niles. Berkley/Caliber, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0425278345

Niles (MacArthur's War), a novelist and fantasy game designer, unconvincingly attempts to argue that the American war in Vietnam was, in Ronald Reagan's words, "a noble cause." He creditably shows that American fighting forces by and large did well on the battlefields of South Vietnam, winning every important engagement against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army. Niles also condemns the "national disgrace" of the American public turning its back on the American soldiers after they returned, seeing them as representing the controversial war and its unhappy outcome. The bulk of the book consists of battle-by-battle chapters that look at the strategy and tactics of more than a dozen important Vietnam War engagements. That includes the pivotal 1965 Battle of the Ia Drang Valley; the Siege of Khe Sanh and the Battle for Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive; and the 1972 NVA invasion of South Vietnam. All have been well documented in the last four decades in scores of books by historians and journalists and in countless memoirs by those who fought in them. Niles's in-the-trenches recaps, with maps and troop movements, will appeal primarily to those looking for detailed depictions of the Vietnam War's most pivotal battles. (Oct.)