It takes an expert on the subject even to keep straight the succession of Vietnam ""pacification programs"" whose failure is one of the few facts agreed upon by almost the entire American aviary. Colonel Corson, whose critique includes a detailed history of early efforts to win-the-hearts-and-minds, commanded the Marine Combined Action Platoons in South Vietnam; during the Tet offensive ""their"" hamlets fought against the Viet Cong, and the Colonel explains why this is the exception. It boils down to the same story of corruption, inefficiency and lethargy, in the GVN and the ARVN--plus Americans' unwillingness to pass discomfiting information along the chain of command, and an unwarranted assumption of unity of interest between the U.S. and the South Vietnamese ruling cliques. All this fits in nicely with the current climate of opinion here; it will reinforce the clamor for a cleanup, and lend further credence to reports like Jonathan Schell's that ""the other war"" has been wretchedly bungled. The author is to be commended for addressing himself directly to civilians, and the book will be of permanent value to students and historians.