The Corner

Re Books About Vietnam

In addition to Lewy and Podhoretz and some of the others folks have noted, people ought to read Lewis Sorley’s A Better War, Doug Pike’s PAVN, and Peter Braestrup’s classic on coverage of Vietnam, Big Story. My friend Gerry Turley has a riveting account of his adventures as an advisor in The Easter Offensive. It is riveting. The best novel is Jim Webb’s Fields of Fire. Mark Moyar, one of a new generation of scholars has written Phoenix and the Birds of Prey, well worth the read. Jug Burkett’s Stolen Valor has taken some heat, but no one that he has accused of being a fraud has been willing to take him to court and testify under oath.

The trouble for people who want good stuff is that all the “clearing houses” for Vietnam are left-wing. Several years ago, I attended a book fair at my son’s Catholic school. He was 10 at the time and was interested in military stuff so I was looking to buy him something to read. I found a history of American wars that was written for teenagers, and since he was a pretty good reader, I thought he could handle it. It was fine until it got to Vietnam. Then it simply rehashed the left wing litany of sins and atrocities. My Lai loomed large. I put it back and concluded that the left-wing narrative is too deeply embedded to be rooted out, at least during my lifetime.

Mackubin Thomas Owens Mr. Owens, the dean of academics at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C., and the editor of Orbis, is the author of U.S. Civil–Military Relations after 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil–Military Bargain.

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