LAST REFLECTIONS ON A WAR by Bernard B. Fall

LAST REFLECTIONS ON A WAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A collection of articles from 1957 to 1967 (several previously unpublished), when the author was killed in Vietnam. Fall was an excellent scholar, and these pieces are exceedingly informative. It is regrettable that the final effect is limited and unsatisfactory. He writes with brilliance about Diem, Ho Chi Minh, the make-up of the NLF, the role of Moscow and Peking; he makes devastating criticisms of U.S. strategies and propaganda. ""This isn't Munich, it's Guernica""--but his views on the causes of U.S. ""mistakes"" are still agnostic; his anti-Communism is still apodictic. Drawing on incisive historical analogies and disanalogies (with Korea and the American Revolution), he sustains the Two Viet-Nams and Viet-Nam Witness theme: that without political victory and substantial reform, the U.S. will lose the war. He sounds more pessimistic here, hinting at the end that the U.S. wants extermination, not negotiation. What he wants is a more humane and rational fight; writing for the Naval War College he stresses the first, for Ramparts the second, never questioning the soundness or humanity of the counter-insurgent commitment itself. And so this dossier is rarely illuminated by broader ""reflections""--but the micro-analysis will be invaluable to earnest students of any stripe.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1967
Publisher: Doubleday