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VIETNAM – A War Lost and Won
‘Vietnam – A War Lost and Won’ by Nigel Cawthorne was first published in 2003 by Arcturus Publishing Ltd, UK. Nigel Cawthorne, born in Chicago, United States, is an American-born British writer and non-fiction writer and editor.
The book includes an introduction to what started the worst wars in American war history. It consists of ten chapters followed by an epilogue, bibliography and index. Offered in paperback with high-quality recycled content, this book is highly recommended for those who missed out on the Vietnam War because it provides vivid, clear, and accurate statistics of what went wrong in a war that left a lasting black mark on American power. and military superiority.
The cover of this highly-informative book features a watermarked image of a soldier in full army gear in the background, and what appears to be a typical Vietnamese rice field with the help of a US military helicopter overhead. Rambo, Platoon and Missing in Action are reminiscent of frequent Hollywood movies.
It also provides maps of Vietnam showing the disputed areas – North and South, two regions that were constantly in contention throughout the war. Another map will help readers of the Tet Offensive, which took place between January and February 1968. Not only this, the book showcases high-quality real-life photos, photos taken in actual combat, various US military assets, individuals. Which later decided the war and other chronological evidence in what would be the only war in which the Americans lost.
Written in simple yet precise language, this book provides a wealth of numerical evidence and will leave readers with a tremendous shock and awe. The statistical records revealed in this book will inform us that 46,370 US soldiers were killed while more than 10,000 died of non-battle related causes and more than 100,000 were wounded. The US government spent a whopping USD 145 billion, a colossal sum at the time, on the useless war that began in 1965 and ended in 1975, two years after the Paris Peace Accords.
The U.S. lost 4,865 helicopters, each costing about a quarter of a million dollars, and eight million tons of bombs were dropped in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, far surpassing the amount dropped in the entire Second World War (WW II). Proud of American supremacy, the B52 dropped USD200,000 worth of bombs through its bomb-bay doors on each mission. Readers will also be introduced to other US Army assets, from the US UH 13 helicopter, the US Strike Patrol Boat (STAB), the M60 machine gun, the B52 bomber, to the US Phantom jets used in Operation Rolling Thunder. is mentioned consistently throughout the book.
Another plus point of this book is that the author has kept himself away from all elements that tend towards parochialism; regionalism and blind nationalism, thereby neglecting the one-sidedness aspect of their thinking. According to the author, more than 18 million people were displaced during the war and more than 3 percent of South Vietnam was completely destroyed beyond recognition.
Further revelations indicate that 18 million gallons of defoliants were used in the war which severely maimed and disfigured babies. By 1986 50,000 people were still being held as political prisoners- prisoners of war (POW) and the author further explained that 865,000 people had fled the country in search of greener pastures elsewhere in the aftermath of the war.
The author also strongly criticized the American soldiers during the war and ridiculed their ignorance of reducing enemy strength. This was enhanced by the use of terms frequently used at the time among US servicemen in Vietnam, such as ‘gooks’ – a derogatory term referring to people of Asian descent in the US and ‘peasants’ – which mainly referred to Vietnamese insurgents. of farmers. Losing this army of farmers fueled the fire of humiliation in America.
The author also confirms the fact that in general, Vietnamese people have a special affinity with the soil of their country and the guerrilla war that the so-called peasant army fought, was fought to the last drop of blood than their counterparts. There are largely reluctant draftees, some in their teens, fighting as frontline soldiers in bloody battles.
On war strategy, the author pointed out that the senior military had it all wrong from day one. The Vietnamese had won the war against the Chinese and the French, making the most effective use of underground tunnels that had been used for centuries before the American invasion. The Vietnamese had hundreds of miles of tunnels running from the Cambodian border to the gates of Saigon. Inside these tunnels they had dormitories, workshops, hospitals, kitchens, headquarters facilities and supply depots. Made of laterite clay, the surface hardens like concrete once exposed to sunlight. With this information, the author revealed to the readers that it was indeed true that one of the main reasons why the Americans lost the war was because they were fighting an invisible enemy; Often appearing out of nowhere, they disappear into mid-air only if the enemy is suddenly engaged in combat.
The book introduces the reader to some interesting terms such as ‘punji traps’ and ‘toe poppers’ – two of the most common booby traps used in Vietnam during the war. These are traps made of simple tropical resources – bamboo and punji sticks, but the cruelty they inflict on their victims is mind-boggling. The book further confirmed that nearly 10,000 US soldiers lost at least one limb in Vietnam, more than WW2 and Korea combined.
The author weaves his factual statements back and forth (Vietnam and the US) to inform the reader of events taking place at home, including massive civil protests in the streets of New York, Washington DC and other major cities in the US. Legality of War. One section also includes Martin Luther King (MLK), a civil rights activist who spoke out against the war and carried its enormous moral convictions and authority. The author did not hide his displeasure by exposing the Vietnam War as a racially biased and divisive war. African-Americans did not find it easy for middle-class white youth to avoid the draft. An undeniable truth revealed in the book is how African-Americans, who made up about 23 percent of the total population of US troops killed in action in Vietnam, were unfairly burdened and felt unfairly treated and sacrificed. Foreign wars further fueled racial conflict at home in America. The Marines did not admit African-Americans until World War II. Vietnam was essentially the first war where blacks and whites fought side by side.
Even Generation Y in the current IT age can identify with ‘hippies’ through this reading. The ‘hippie’ movement that started in the 60’s, around the same time the war broke out, borrowed the ‘peace’ philosophy from MLK and the anti-war movement, famous for his remark ‘Make love, not war’.
The highlight of the book is its unflinching account of how and why the world’s most powerful superpower lost the war in Vietnam. The focus was on Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), where prostitutes roamed and ‘served’, military brothels, and rampant addiction to marijuana and opium among US soldiers. Drug abuse is a central theme of 1960s music and culture that was directly related to the Vietnam War. Other deadly problems associated with loss of morale and declining health among US soldiers manifested in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including gonorrhea or ‘Clap’ and Heinz 57 strains. Some of these diseases were deliberately spread among American soldiers under the guise of Vietcong tactics.
The book engages the reader in the pathos of the ‘Massacre at Mylai’, which is considered the most brutal act of killing people, including children, in the history of war. The man responsible for this horrific act was Lieutenant William L. Cali. The war had left an indelible stain on human dignity, and the world realized that the rest of the world was not operating in the same moral vacuum as Vietnam. The author also reveals in his deposition that public hostility toward American soldiers returning home after defeat further exacerbated the severe psychological and social quagmire, and in the 1980s it was reported that more than 700,000 war veterans experienced some form of emotional or mental disorder called post-traumatic stress disorder. – Post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) after returning home.
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