WAR COMES TO LONG AN: Revolutionary Conflict in a Vietnamese Province by Jeffrey Race

WAR COMES TO LONG AN: Revolutionary Conflict in a Vietnamese Province

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Race, a political scientist firmly in the value-free camp, is concerned with the methodology, not the morality, of the Vietnam War. More specifically, he minutely analyzes the political, social, and economic strategies employed by both sides to win control of a single, crucial province, Long An, in an effort to learn why the Communist revolutionary movement has succeeded and the U.S.-South Vietnamese counterrevolutionary initiative has persistently failed. It's an instructive study which American policy makers graduated from Professor Walt Whitman Rostow's college of counterinsurgency might read with care. Basing his study on lengthy interviews with Allied government and military personnel, Viet Cong defectors, captured documents and other previously unpublished material, Race objectively concludes that Communist policies and programs aimed at redistribution of real power and status (through land ownership, equitable taxation, accessible government, etc.) best satisfy the needs of the people of Long An and that this, not V.C. ""terror"" (the favorite American excuse), explains the rationale for revolutionary control of that province. Moreover, Race finds that the U.S.-South Vietnamese strategy has consistently and predominantly relied on military solutions (e.g., the strategic hamlet concept) which at best have annoyed the people -- ""the principal benefactors of the revolutionary movement,"" argued Race, ""were precisely those who devised, supported, and executed the measures employed against it."" True to his Weberian posture of ethical neutrality, Race says both sides comprise ""good people who have done what they believed to be right."" Be that as it may, his scholarly inspection of the Long An situation offers a disquieting comparison between their ""good people"" and ours.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1971
ISBN: 0520260171
Publisher: Univ. of California Press