The greater part of this book constitutes a workmanlike reference source on Vietnam under the Chinese and the French. It offers considerable understanding of the Vietnamese fight for independence--the longest armed struggle of this century--and continuities within it, such as intersect quarrels and corruption within the anti-nationalist camp. Unfortunately little attention is given to U.S. support of France's postwar efforts to regain Indochina. The rather brief section on recent history centers around the Diem regime. Buttinger's concise acknowledgment that Diem initiated the use of force, repressed all opposition, and turned the countryside Communist may be forgiven its overemphasis on the mistakes of Diem's U.S. supporters, since Buttinger was one of the key members of the lobby which consolidated support for that political disaster. He goes on to review the grossest deceptions of the Americanized war (including administration claims about the Tonkin Gulf, North Vietnamese aggression, the 1967 elections) as well as the unspeakable effects on the people of the South. A remarkable, if largely implicit, exercise in hindsight.