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The Army and Vietnam

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  139 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Many senior army officials still claim that if they had been given enough soldiers and weapons, the United States could have won the war in Vietnam. In this probing analysis of U.S. military policy in Vietnam, career army officer and strategist Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr., argues that precisely because of this mindset the war was lost before it was fought.

The army assumed
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Paperback, 344 pages
Published March 1st 1988 by Johns Hopkins University Press (first published April 1986)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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Art
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Krepinevich has a cult following among professors and students at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. After reading his work I understand why. It is rare that ones comes across a book that radically changes the way one looks at military history. Thousands of books have been written on Vietnam and the movies "Platoon" and "Apocalypse Now" brought the war to millions of Americans. Until I read this book, I thought I understood the causes and conduct of the war. Krepinevich brilliantly ...more
Levie Galapon
Feb 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Although repetitive in nature, Krepinevich manages to cite a breadth of knowledge that points out why the Army failed in Vietnam. According to Krepinevich, the Army in particular was unprepared due to doctrine called the Army Concept. The US Army Concept revolves around the use of firepower to quickly overcome enemy forces. Furthermore, the value of US lives is important which makes the use of technology and firepower more important. Because of this, the Army in Vietnam utilized tactics and ...more
Christopher
Dec 26, 2013 rated it did not like it
Just re-read in full for the first time in probably eight years. Now that I'm more familiar with the documentary record concerning Vietnam (and not just the "Vietnam literature" or the COIN-as-military reform oeuvre, which in many cases are the same thing), Krepinevich's tendentious book holds up very poorly indeed. Greg Daddis's new work (detailed review to come!) – along with recent stuff by Birtle, Andrade, Cosmas, Carland, and others – should put the final nail in this one; I don't think ...more
Christopher
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Fantastic and deep analysis of the Vietnam war. We underestimated many aspects, most important, the conventional threat. While we effectively countered the communist conventional forces, they drew US troops away from what was most important - the human geography.

An argument for population centric counter-insurgency, this books presents that and many other thoughts. Well worth the read.
Roger Burk
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
If like me you have some affection for the American army and for its soldiers, this is a depressing read. It relates how the Army went into Vietnam organized, trained, and equipped for major combat in Europe, and tried to apply the same concept to a counterinsurgency. The result was massive search-and-destroy operations that missed an elusive enemy and further alienated the population. There was no recognition that counterinsurgency was a different kind of war requiring different methods. The ...more
Al
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a fantastic analysis of the Army's failure to successfully prosecute the war in Vietnam. It was easy to stay interested as the narrative moves at a good pace and the events themselves are fascinating. This book outlines the failure of the JCS to appy the correct strategy to the ground war, in spite of lessons available from the French failure in Indochina and their experience in Algieria. While the Johnson administration micromanaged the airwar, they gave Westmoreland carte blanche to ...more
Andy
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book is now very dated. As someone deeply familiar with the historical record on the Vietnam War through archival research, I can say that while this book captures one part of the American experience in Vietnam, it fails to be comprehensive. Yes, the points and themes highlighted here were relevant to some units at some times, but the tendency to view Krepinevich's argument as being universally valid has led to an overly simplistic view of the Vietnam War. This has had consequences for ...more
Diana
Dec 03, 2009 rated it liked it
interesting perspective on what should have happened for a successful intervention in Vietnam, but I felt the author kept placing the blame on the Army time and time again. yes, I realize that's the point of the book, but how many times can you drive the point home? endless, i guess! still, a very interesting and enlightening story about the experience.
Brett Matzenbacher
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Population centric COIN is a panacea! At least according to Krepinevich....

Certainly some useful insights and critiques of the US approach in Vietnam, but also somewhat one dimensional
Matt Danner
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Accurate, thorough, and wholly depressing. After reading this, one would presume that the United States could never make such critical and wasteful errors again. Wrong.

Stephen
Jun 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Far and away the best analysis of the Army's strategy in Vietnam and why it failed...
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