THE BAD WAR: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Kiln with the Correspondents of Newsweek Willenson

THE BAD WAR: An Oral History of the Vietnam War

Email this review


This is a collection of the memories, beliefs, and analyses of generals, admirals, bureaucrats, ambassadors and stars, mostly American with a leavening of heroes, GIs, resisters and the maimed. It covers all aspects of the war and is divided into sections such as Beginnings, Grunts and Generals, The Politics of War and other appropriate areas. Some here think Vietnam was a war that should never have begun and could never have been won. They rue the day Truman sent in the first small group of advisers. Others think it would have been won had we truly desired victory and not some politically feasible limbo. Some think we should have kept on with policies to strengthen village defense and allow the Vietnamese to play the leading hand. There are many more opinions, insights, and stories of suffering and lost comrades. There is bravery and loyalty in the midst of war's terrible slaughter. Men like Colby of the CIA, Ambassadors Graham Martin and William Sullivan, Morton Halperin, Clark Clifford, Walt Rostow and many others often disagree, but are always clear and analytical. That such rational, humane, and cultured men could be leaders of a war that seemed to perplex and confuse most Americans makes one uneasy. One seeks a scapegoat, but as this book shows, the villain was our own arrogance and, strangely, our ignorance. To this day the most difficult question to answer about Vietnam is ""Why were we there?"" This book offers some possible rationales and also explains what the experience may have taught us. Wrenchingly accurate, relentless and absorbing, this oral history talks of meaning, purpose, guilt and redemption.

Pub Date: June 29th, 1987
Publisher: New American Library