Though not entirely bias-free, this account is fair in balancing perspectives of the major parties in the American-Vietnamese conflict. Presenting important points of interpretation in some depth, Detzer shows why they are important--e.g., the disagreement among historians on the origin of the revolt against the Diem regime: if it had been organized from Hanoi, it could have been considered an invasion rather than a civil war. He also provides an objective description of the American political outlook in the late 40's and early 50', when Washington chose to side with the French-created South Vietnamese government, effectively showing how this outlook created a situation that could be changed only with great difficulty. Unfortunately, however, he always call the enemy by their American names, never by their own, and the ""Pentagon Papers,"" which spurred much of the off-campus antiwar effort, are not mentioned. Too, he quotes cynics who blame antiwar mobilizing on the drafting of young men, but fails to pose a counter argument: the large numbers of veterans and women active against the war. Documentation is skimpy--only 12 endnotes for the entire book--but the bibliography/filmography is broad-based, and the photos are well keyed to the text. A worthy effort at balanced treatment of a still highly emotion-fraught subject. Chronology; index.