VIETNAM by Sidney Lens

VIETNAM

A War on Two Fronts
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Two fresh perspectives: The Hooblers stress the Vietnamese people's long, heroic tradition of resistance to foreign invaders, their use of jungle guerrilla tactics, their nationalism and desire for independence. The authors also present the US failure as inevitable, especially in light Of our brutality and that of our allies, plus our penchant for supporting South Vietnam's corrupt leaders. The war's course and aftermath are carefully described here, and liberally illustrated with b&w photos (whose captions could use some editing: MP's stand "bayonets ready," with no bayonet visible). Lens moved in the upper circles of organized resistance to the war; his insider's account, completed by Stuart Loory after his death, is less concerned with overseas events than with the growth of the diverse, always loosely coordinated protest movement--which, from the beginning, adopted the tactics of the civil-rights movement: marches, demonstrations, "-ins." Lens presents its leaders as peaceful, reasonable people, in sharp contrast to government leaders who are seen as hostile, inclined to violence at home and abroad (according to Lens, the "nuclear option" was considered seriously several times in Vietnam, and the police riot at the Democratic National Convention was entirely unprovoked), and moral opportunists (Kissinger, particularly, is excoriated for this fault). Each book closes with a brief bibliography (the Hooblers' is annotated, Lens's includes fiction as well as nonfiction) and an index. Both make engrossing reading, though Lens's is too narrowly focused to serve as a first introduction to the war.

ISBN: 525-67320-2
Page count: 116pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2000




MORE BY SIDNEY LENS