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Nineteen essays on the U.S. in Southeast Asia. Many appeared in Ramparts magazine or us book chapters; the majority deal with Vietnam. These have a rather retrospective flavor modified by Garrett's contributions on Thailand and Laos, which will attract more interest now, by his up-to-date discussion of Cambodia, and his exciting account of the Ford-Foundation-trained Indonesian elite group before and after Sukarno's ouster. The Vietnam essays include Donald Duncan's memorable ""I Quit: Memoirs of a Special Forces Hero,"" political reportage of '68 and '70 trips to North Vietnam by Gott and Weiss, and arguments by Chomsky and Sartre that the obliteration of the Vietnamese people and countryside is a necessary, not accidental, feature of the U.S. war effort. (The eloquent 1968 Sartre essay seems conspicuous now in its sloppy analysis of neocolonialism and its solipsistic notion that ""the purpose of escalation is to prepare international opinion for genocide."") The Oglesby-Horowitz essays on the roots of American policy also seem thin, especially Oglesby's. His second article, a brilliantly rhetorical summation of the New Left's case against establishment liberals, appears in the final section, which stresses black response to the war via Martin Luther King, an excerpt from Cleaver's Soul On Ice, and a New York Times series on black soldiers. The book ends with Tom Hayden's summons to quit worrying about broader support and stop the war machine. Were it not for Garrett's contributions, the book would stand as a grouping of New Left political overviews of uneven merit and freshness: but the Laos-Cambodia-Indonesia material makes it an addition as well to substantive Southeast Asian readers, Selective bibliography, appended chronologies and political programs of liberation forces, which no contributor really discusses at all.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1971
Publisher: Canfield Press (dist. by Harper & Row) Paper