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Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and Its War

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  117 ratings  ·  35 reviews
The Vietnam War is largely recalled as a mistake, either in the decision to engage there or in the nature of the engagement. Or both. Veterans of the war remain largely anonymous figures, accomplices in the mistake. Critically recounting the steps that led to the war, this book does not excuse the mistakes, but it brings those who served out of the shadows.

Enduring Vietnam
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books
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4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  117 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war-vietnam
Reading this book is like looking at a pile of jigsaw puzzle pieces scattered on a table. They all have importance, but you know it will never be put together. There are just too many fragments. That being said, there is a lot of information that seems just a rehash, but all in all, it was an excellent book.

People often mistakenly, in my view, refer to the Vietnam War as our taking sides in a civil war. I guess, but that does not go far enough. It is important to understand that the United Stat
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have read many books on the Vietnam War. However, this one is different. This is an excellent book to read and to me this gives a different viewpoint of the Vietnam War than any other books that I have read on the subject. This book gives accounts on those who fought in Vietnam and what they witnessed when they go out on patrols in the jungles and witnessed the deaths of their fellow comrades. Not only does this book covers the soldiers and marines who fought in Vietnam, But how they were trea ...more
Ted Hunt
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: James Wright was the best professor I ever took a course from, so I am a little biased about his work. His course, which I took in the spring of 1976, was entitled "20th Century American Political History" and it was taught in Dartmouth's largest lecture hall because not only was the course completely filled, but there were always lots of students in the room who weren't even taking the class! Jim Wright's class helped to turn me into a political "junkie" and it taught me the po ...more
Jack McCabe
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book tells our story

As a Vietnam veteran I can honestly say that this book tells our story like no other.

Thank you for giving us a voice
Paul Waibel
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There are many books about the Vietnam War. Many more will be written. The war was a national trauma that we, the generation who experienced it either as soldiers or civilians, will never really get over. It was a major event during a period when what it meant to be an American was questioned and forever changed.

Historians have written narratives of the war. They have tried to understand how we became involved in a war that others in the world understood was unnecessary and unwinnable. Few Ameri
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I rarely give a book a five star rating, but this one deserves the five stars. In 1966 I was 17 years old so this book really resonates with me. The author does a wonderful job of painting a broad stroke picture of the times before, during, and after the war. There certainly are books that better describe the war in "technical, scholarly " terms , but to his credit , the author surpasses those others in my opinion. The book describes how the kid down the block felt waiting for the draft to grab ...more
Laura Hoffman Brauman
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A lot of books about war either focus on the political and military aspects of the war or they focus on the personal stories of the people that were in combat. Wright does an exceptionally good job of doing both in Enduring Vietnam. I came away with a much stronger understanding of the "history class" aspects of the war -- what we did from a strategy perspective, why we did it, what was going on at home, what was the perspective of the other side, etc. It was the personal accounts in here, thoug ...more
David Bales
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This is a sad but important book, detailing the numerous experiences of ordinary American soldiers and marines during the Vietnam War, from their introduction to the country in the early 1960s until decades after Saigon fell in 1975. One long chapter discusses the machinations of various presidential administrations in allowing the Vietnam situation to spiral into an American war, (completely unnecessary) but most of the book deals with common--but horrific--information about casualty lists, the ...more
Chris Jaffe
May 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Well that was a damn disappointing book.

It just didn't come together for me. What's this saying about Vietnam? It's about the soldiers experience. It has some background info. It has some politics of the war. It has some post-war. It has a lot about how the war shifted in the middle of 1969. But these parts never quite came together for me. Every page is well done. Every paragraph is professionally written. But the whole is less than the sum of its parts. It read like various bits of info than a
Jerry Smith
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-read, history, war
There is much to learn about Vietnam and the war that, as this book is at pains to point out, is seen almost exclusively as "America's War". Now, I find this to be a hubristic and arrogant assertion. We are always hearing about the horrors of this conflict from the point of view of the Americans fighting in a hostile, hot, disease ridden, frontline lacking war, far from home etc. This book contributes to this narrative but to its credit for a book about this subject, there are passing references ...more
Eric Layton
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hmm... this book is a bit difficult to describe. It's a lot of things...

- historical
- political
- cultural
- painful
- cathartic

If you grew up in the era of this war, this book will be painful to read, yet therapeutic in its presentation of the affects that this war had on many of us from this time in our lives.

I did not serve in this war, but I have the utmost respect for those young men and women who did. I was just a bit too young. Had it lasted just a few more years, though, I would have been
Kathy Heare Watts
As the daughter of a retired soldier, Vietnam was ever present in my childhood. My father served two tours, 1968-69 and 1971-72. He was forever a changed man. He came back with nightmares, he saw horror, and to this day, it is a closed subject.

I married a soldier who was in basic and AIT when Vietnam ended. Never would I have dreamed that in 2001, our country would change and be thrown into not one but two wars. As the mother of a US Army soldier, I have has to see my son off to war seven times.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a son of a refugee of the Vietnam War any historical books with the conflict interests me. Although I have read some individual biographies and accounts of the Vietnam War this is probably the first work I read in which looks at the bigger picture of the conflict such as evaluating the generation that fought in Vietnam, an evaluation of the political landscape and decisions of policy makers, the anti-war sentiments and the experiences of the guys doing combat operations. The author James Wrig ...more
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from Goodreads.

Enduring Vietnam is a hefty book. It's thick, heavy, and every page is crammed with as much information as possible. Nearly overstuffed.
It's an absolute ink and blood heaven for a history buff.
With how confusing, unorganized, and generally just a big broiling mess the Vietnam War was, all I want out of a book about the war is a comprehensive, reliable, organized timeline of all the major events involving the political and the military, along with personal acc
Scott Martin
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not just a rehash of previously written material about Vietnam. It does cover some of the key battles, political maneuvering and other well-known details, but only to provide context for the real meat of his work, the focus on the individuals who fought the main battles. Wright looks to dispel some of the accepted myths about Vietnam, that most of the men fighting in Vietnam were poor in discipline, disobeying authority and abusing various substances; that most of those who came bac ...more
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is strongest when it lets the voices of the generation that fought this war speak for itself. However, this book often fell flat, mostly because it lacked a clear organizing principle.

Wright spent time discussing the bigger picture, but then he would, without much warning, switch to reporting on interviews done with the war's vets, many of them famous pols. He claimed he was trying to put names to the stats that often depersonalize the war, but his habit of listing the numbers of name
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won a copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways.

Enduring Vietnam gives a solid look at the Vietnam war from the perspective of those who fought in it, managed to get out of it, or the families who lost someone in it. There is also plenty of historical information here about the political landscape that got the US into Vietnam, and of course those in office while the conflict was occurring, but the crux of the book is dedicated to those who were eligible to serve or were affected by service in
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the book about the Vietnam war I have been wanting to read all my life. I think it is a book that should be read by all Americans, whatever their position on the war might be, because James Wright presents the most balanced overview of the conflict years I have ever read. He covers the military, the political, and the personal aspects of this war and its aftermath with a fair unbiased eye. He makes you remember things you might want to forget, feel things you might not want to feel, and ...more
Daniel Parker
Thought-provoking and solemn read on the time period that was the Vietnam War. The author covers the events that led up to the war from varying perspective. What makes this book so original is the author gives a very human touch by portraying the stories of many of the soldiers who went and perished. One cannot help but come away in puzzlement at the disconnect between those who made the decisions to go into battle, and the sheer lack of accountability with the results. The parallels between the ...more
Aaron Toch
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book did a wonderful job at portraying the individual stories of soldiers at the time they faced their most harrowing moments. It also included touching and emotional interviews of soldiers alive today, detailing their daily life and the difficulties they still face as a result of the war. The word "Endure" is in the title for a reason -- veterans today have to cope with the haunting memories of what they experienced. Reading this book is a great and necessary gateway into their sacrifice. ...more
Feb 15, 2019 rated it liked it
A friend sent me this book because he know I served in Vietnam. I've read a lot about the War, and I expected more from this book. There's not much that is new here, which is understandable. But I did expect Wright to offer some new perspective, interpretation, or understanding. He does not. I found myself skimming some chunks of it because I felt as if I'd read it before. I marked about a dozen pages with what I though was information new to me. Still, I enjoyed reading it, as it is extremely w ...more
Chuck Thomas
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've read a number of books about the Vietnam War. Karnow, Caputo, Wiest....this one by James Wright ranks up there as a highly detailed, intriguing account of the American experience in Vietnam. It does well in balancing the stories of U.S. soldiers on the ground combat experiences, along with the big picture of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn more and understand the Vietnam War.
Adam Russell
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it
While I greatly enjoyed the information presented in the book, the formatting and writing left a little to be desired. I found each paragraph to be intriguing, but the paragraphs didn't always flow together. Within one or two pages, we'd jumped from 1969 to 1973 back to 1966. It was at times difficult to organize a timeline of events, or find connections that should've otherwise been obvious.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting summary of the social and political results of the Vietnam war. Although interlaced with many vignettes of servicemembers killed and wounded in May/June 1969, the book is mostly filled with statistics and covers the major issues of the war. Well written, this book would serve well to familiarize someone with the war. Not my favorite topic, but worth reading.
Chris Carson
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Every single American should read this important book that puts Vietnam into perspective.

The heroes who have served our country deserve(d) better than what many have experienced. The stories of those Americans, many whom made the ultimate sacrifice, are truly remarkable and worth reading, sharing and celebrating.
Chris Dean
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved the fact that the veterans point of view was relied on heavily. This added a scope to the Vietnam experience that is missing from some works. At times the many descriptions made things a tad difficult to follow, especially if one is not familiar with the locations described. All in all, though, a very strong and solid effort for a new generation looking back to "What was Vietnam"
Allie Weiskopf
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military
A thorough, dense read that covers every aspect of the Vietnam War without commentating on the politics. Written by the President of Dartmouth College, this book examines the decade Americans sent their sons and daughters into harm’s way despite all the opposition to the conflict.
Jeff Cook
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the better Vietnam books. Powerful. Provocative. Informative. Told from the point of view of the solder on the ground. An excellent read.
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rick Peterson
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars well written, vivid descriptions of what it was like for the troops in combat and the aftermath, the sufferings they endured when they returned
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James Wright is President Emeritus and Eleazar Wheelock Professor of History Emeritus at Dartmouth College. The son of a WW II veteran, he joined the Marine Corps in 1957, at age 17. He served for three years before entering Wisconsin State University-Platteville for his bachelor's degree, and a masters and doctoral degree in history from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He joined the Dartm ...more