A dozen years after the communist takeover of South Vietnam, there is growing agreement in American military and academic circles that U.S. power in Vietnam was misapplied. But there is very little agreement on the nature of the challenge the United States confronted in Vietnam, or on how—if U.S. power had been applied differently—it should have been applied. Moreover, since South Vietnam came under Hanoi's domination, a veritable siege of insurgency, guerrilla wars, and low-intensity conflicts has laid hold of the Third World. Thus, understanding what the United States did in Vietnam and why it went wrong remains a critical prelude to understanding how our subsequent and future interventions will fare.
In his analysis of the growing literature and debate on the American role and strategy in Vietnam, Dr. Joe P. Dunn surveys the rich field of literature, histories, reports, and conferences that have burgeoned, including Col. Harry Summers' widely debated On Strategy: The Vietnam War in Context. Dunn then places this new book in the context of the debate.