THE FIRST CRISIS IN VIETNAM by Melvin Gurtov

THE FIRST CRISIS IN VIETNAM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Subtitled ""Chinese Communist Strategy and United States Involvement, 1953-1954,"" this retelling of the end of the French Indochina War focuses primarily on the way it looked at the time from Washington and Peking. Mr. Gurtov's thesis is that ""Today's dilemma is the outgrowth of yesterday's unresolved problem,"" and his painstaking scrutiny of the latter does indeed, in this case, go a long ways towards comprehending the former. Emphasizing the basic similarities rather than the more easily grasped differences in their positions--how, for instance, neither China nor the U. S., as ostensibly silent partners on either side, was free to determine actual policy entirely on her own terms--the book is more than a catalogue of blunders on our part and luck on the other; the delicate question of effective involvement without de facto control applies equally to both. But the fact remains, and comes out very clearly here, that the U. S. has never evolved consistent goals and strategies. Basic assumptions, such as the domino theory, need to be completely re-examined, says Mr. Gurtov. His own efforts in this direction certainly seem an excellent beginning.

Pub Date: Jan. 30th, 1966
Publisher: Columbia University Press