Harry Rothmann

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BY Harry Rothmann • POSTED ON April 8, 2018

A military history book analyzes the sources of America’s failures in the Vietnam War.

People have been arguing about what went wrong in the Vietnam War since before it ended. Some say it was an unwinnable conflict from the start and that the United States should never have gotten involved. Others believe that the American military could easily have won the war, but its hands were tied by civilian leaders who didn’t have the stomach for more aggressive tactics. Rothmann (None Will Surpass, 2014), a West Point graduate, retired Army colonel, and veteran soldier who led infantry units into combat in Vietnam, has his own theories: “Leader misjudgments and miscalculations were not the only reasons for this failure…they were more a result of personal faults and a lack of trust, honesty, and understanding among and between American civilian leaders and their military counterparts.” Furthermore, neither the U.S. military commanders nor the nation’s civilian leaders had an adequate understanding or respect for their adversary, an expertly organized and dedicated force that pursued its clear goals through subterfuge and strategy. The author uses firsthand accounts from both sides to analyze the conflict from its beginnings in 1950s Cold War politics to the fall of Saigon in 1975. He also critiques the (incorrect) lessons that American leaders took from the Vietnam War and how these have been applied to the country’s subsequent conflicts. Rothmann writes in an accessible prose that reads mostly as general history (with a few of his own reflections and opinions scattered throughout): “I missed much of the sixties in America….My wife had been closer to it. She related that she had a tough time getting a place to stay while I was in Vietnam. No one in her hometown in New Jersey would rent a place for her to stay since she was a soldier’s wife whose husband was away at war.” At nearly 700 pages, this comprehensive, rigorous volume spreads the blame around fairly evenly and justifiably. In the author’s view, there’s no one-sentence explanation for America’s loss in Vietnam. He’s here to lead readers unflinchingly into the nuances.

A thought-provoking, well-researched diagnosis of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: April 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-16549-2

Page count: 768pp

Publisher: Rothmann Consulting, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

Book Trailer for "Warriors and Fools"

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"Once an Eagle" by Anton Myer

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"The Nation that separates its scholars and warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and fighting done by fools"


None Will Surpass: A Story of the Four Decade Service and Sacrifice of the West Point Class of 1967

This is the story of the four decade service and sacrifice to the Nation of The United States Military Academy Class of 1967. It is told through the experiences of a member of that Class. The Class of 1967- entering West Point just three years after John F. Kennedy’s inaugural call to ask what you can do for your country - bore the burden, met the hardship, and paid the price of JFK’s call. The Class of 1967 has had a unique and important part in the history of the US military in the last forty years. There were 583 graduates in the class in 1967. In Vietnam and Southeast Asia, from 1968 to 1970, it lost 29 killed – among the highest of West Point Class graduates who served in the war. Scores of Class Members were also wounded; many still suffer from those wounds. Members of this Class also received over 350 awards for valor, including three Distinguished Service Crosses - the Nation’s second highest award to the Congressional Medal of Honor. In addition, Class members served many years overseas over all parts of the globe. It was instrumental in the rebuilding of the Army in the Post-Vietnam era from 1975 to 1985; and members led the Army that was so successful in the conflicts in Panama and the first Gulf War. The Class of 1967 produced 19 General Officers, held numerous other senior government positions in the aftermath of 9/11 to include a Secretary of the Army, and initially led in the ‘War Against Terror’ in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, the Class motto, “None Will Surpass 67 Class,” became the gauntlet the Class set for itself as a measure of its service to the Nation and its accomplishments as part of the distinguished ‘Long Gray Line’ of Academy graduates.
Published: Aug. 31, 2018
ISBN: 9780692183649