THE TEN THOUSAND DAY WAR: Vietnam 1945-1975 by Michael Maclear

THE TEN THOUSAND DAY WAR: Vietnam 1945-1975

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Like Charlton and Moncrieff's Many Reasons Why (1979), Maclear's documentary history of the Vietnam War is based on interviews and statements by participants, and taken from a TV series; but unlike its predecessor, Maclear's round-up is not just another chance for the actors to rewrite their parts. Maclear, a Canadian journalist/observer, doesn't overlook either the North Vietnamese or the antiwar movement--and he doesn't pretend that he's neutral, either. He's aware of the irony of the Vietnam/Chinese war at the conclusion of America's intervention in Southeast Asia to check Chinese expansion, and American coziness with China and enmity toward Vietnam. The fact that we missed the opportunity to make peaceful inroads in a country we were unable to bend militarily is not lost on him. But the most damning words come out of the mouths of men like Alexander Haig, who thought that we could have made a success of the Laos invasion, or William Westmoreland, who still thinks the civilians lost the war. Westmoreland's assessment isn't shared by Eugene McCarthy, quoted here as saying that the war wouldn't have lasted any longer without his candidacy or the antiwar movement; ""they didn't end it on policy, finally: they just ended it because they were losing it, and--you know--the soldiers wouldn't fight."" For good measure, Eric Sevareid, who editorialized on the war for CBS, concurs with McCarthy. But the verdict is already clear as Maclear traces the war from Archimedes Patti's first WW II contact with Ho Chi Minh to the fall of Saigon--through the words of everyone from Melvin La/rd to the grunts in the rice paddies. A good overall picture.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1981
Publisher: St. Martin's