A well-researched overview of how America got into Vietnam—and why it shouldn’t have.



A close look at the origins and escalation of America’s involvement in Vietnam.

Military historian and foreign policy analyst Warren begins with a brief overview of U.S. society in 1965, followed by a synopsis of Vietnamese history up to the point when the French were expelled by Indigenous rebels. While the U.S. had some presence in the country under the Eisenhower administration, officials in the Kennedy administration believed that America needed to support South Vietnam’s government against what appeared to be a communist threat. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson ran a campaign centered on a pledge not to send American troops to Vietnam, but only a year later, he reversed course and began the escalation. Warren explores the politics and military decisions on both sides of the conflict, providing insight into the North Vietnamese view of the struggle along with numerous American misreadings of the situation—especially the failure to recognize that the primary enemy was not North Vietnam but the ordinary people of South Vietnam who were engaged in a civil war against their corrupt and uncaring government. The author also provides detailed descriptions of several key battles during the period he covers, notably the Battle of Ia Drang Valley, a “ferocious encounter between the US Army’s elite 1st Cavalry Division and the regular army of North Vietnam in the remote jungles of the Central Highlands.” That battle brought home to many Americans just how serious the war was going to be. Along the way, Warren offers illuminating profiles of participants on both sides, including future Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and Vietnamese Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap. For those old enough to remember the war, much of the book will offer painful, pointed reminders of what went wrong at a key point in American history. As a focused study of a pivotal year, this book is a welcome addition to the literature on a misguided war.

A well-researched overview of how America got into Vietnam—and why it shouldn’t have.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982122-94-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A well-documented and enlightened portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt for our times.

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A comprehensive exploration of one of the most influential women of the last century.

The accomplishments of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) were widespread and substantial, and her trailblazing actions in support of social justice and global peace resonate powerfully in our current moment. Her remarkable life has been extensively documented in a host of acclaimed biographies, including Blanche Wiesen Cook’s excellent three-volume life. Eleanor was also a highly prolific writer in her own right; through memoirs, essays, and letters, she continuously documented experiences and advancing ideas. In the most expansive one-volume portrait to date, Michaelis offers a fresh perspective on some well-worn territory—e.g., Eleanor’s unconventional marriage to Franklin and her progressively charged relationships with men and women, including her intimacy with newspaper reporter Lorena Hickok. The author paints a compelling portrait of Eleanor’s life as an evolving journey of transformation, lingering on the significant episodes to shed nuance on her circumstances and the players involved. Eleanor’s privileged yet dysfunctional childhood was marked by the erratic behavior and early deaths of her flighty, alcoholic father and socially absorbed mother, and she was left to shuttle among equally neglectful relatives. During her young adulthood, her instinctual need to be useful and do good work attracted the attention of notable mentors, each serving to boost her confidence and fine-tune her political and social convictions, shaping her expanding consciousness. As in his acclaimed biography of Charles Schulz, Michaelis displays his nimble storytelling skills, smoothly tracking Eleanor’s ascension from wife and mother to her powerfully influential and controversial role as first lady and continued leadership and activist efforts beyond. Throughout, the author lucidly illuminates the essence of her thinking and objectives. “As Eleanor’s activism evolved,” writes Michaelis, “she did not see herself reaching to solve social problems so much as engaging with individuals to unravel discontinuities between the old order and modernity.”

A well-documented and enlightened portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt for our times.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4391-9201-6

Page Count: 704

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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