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Vietnam the Necessary War

One of America's leading intellectuals presents a startling thesis sure to provoke controversy: that the Vietnam War was the right war at the right time, with the wrong military strategy. The Vietnam War still divides Americans. Some claim that Indochina was of no strategic value. Others argue that timid civilian leaders denied the U.S military permission to win. In this paradigm-shifting book, Michael Lind explodes both of these myths and puts the Vietnam War back in the context of Cold War power politics and American domestic politics. The Cold War, Lind argues, was the third world war, and the proxy wars in Korea, Indochina, and Afghanistan were among its major campaigns. However, the cost of the U.S military's misguided tactics in Vietnam undermined American public support for the Cold War on all fronts. The result was the forfeiture of Indochina, a resurgence of American isolationism, and a worldwide wave of Soviet bloc expansion checked only by the Second Cold War of the 1980's. Challenging the stale orthodoxies of the antiwar left and prowar right, VIETNAM: THE NECESSARY WAR offers a major reinterpretation of America's most disastrous foreign war.
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Table of Contents

PrefacePrefaceAcknowledgmentsChapter 1The Indochina TheaterThe Cold War in Southeast Asia, 1946-89Chapter 2Why Indochina MatteredAmerican Credibility and the Cold WarChapter 3Inflexible ResponseThe U.S. Military and the Vietnam WarChapter 4The Fall of WashingtonThe Domestic Politics of the Vietnam WarChapter 5DisinformationVietnam and the Folklore of the Antiwar MovementChapter 6Credibility GapThe Myth of the Presidential WarChapter 7Was the Vietnam War Unjust?Chapter 8The Genuine Lessons of the Vietnam WarNotesIndex

About the Author

Michael Lind lives in Washington DC and is the Washington Editor of HARPER'S magazine. He is the author of five previous books, including THE NEXT AMERICAN NATION (0684825031) and UP FROM CONSERVATISM (0684831864). His work has appeared in THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST and THE ALTANTIC MONTHLY. He holds a master's degree in international relations from Yale and a law degree from the University of Texas.


John Patrick Diggins Distinguished Professor of History, City University of New York Graduate Center Most Americans prefer to forget the Vietnam War. Lind compels us to remember it in all its complexity and tragedy and to consider military and diplomatic possibilities that almost no other author or statesman has though of raising. Moving through the pages of this richly provocative book is an agitated originality. Fareed Zakaria managing editor, "Foreign Affairs" A quarter century after its bitter end, Vietnam remains America's most controversial war and Michael Lind's book is sure to set off new sparks about it. Looking at the war from the heights of grand strategy and the inner reaches of domestic politics, Lind makes a fresh, highly intelligent, and passionate case for rethinking the conventional wisdom. Agree with it or not, it is compelling reading. Dan Rather CBS News Michael Lind is one of the smartest and most gifted writers I know of. He is also one of the bravest, unafraid to tackle the most controversial subjects. Now he turns his formidable attentions to the Vietnam War, and the results will dazzle you. More importantly, this book will make you think. Even if, ultimately, you don't agree with every single provocative analysis Michael Lind provides, I guarantee you will be challenged to reassess and reinvigorate every idea you have received, stockpiled, and taken for granted for three decades. "Vietnam: The Necessary War" is a necessary book -- for anyone who really wants to understand one of the most difficult periods in our history.

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