The Tragedy of Vietnam  book cover
5th Edition

The Tragedy of Vietnam

ISBN 9781138632653
Published September 5, 2017 by Routledge
288 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Tragedy of Vietnam is a brief and accessible text providing a comprehensive overview of the causes and consequences of the Vietnam War. Patrick J. Hearden offers historical background of the conflict and examines its long-term consequences on a regional and global scale. This fifth edition includes expanded discussions of postwar American–Vietnamese relationships and outlines the ways in which the Vietnam War experience has shaped foreign-policy debates in the United States up until the present day.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The French Indochina Empire

Chapter 2: The Dream of a Pax Americana

Chapter 3: America’s Mandarin

Chapter 4: The Summons of the Trumpet

Chapter 5: The Master of Deceit

Chapter 6: The Escalating Military Statement

Chapter 7: Withdrawal Without Victory

Chapter 8: The War that Nobody Won

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Patrick J. Hearden is Professor Emeritus of Diplomatic History at Purdue University, U.S.A.


Patrick Hearden’s The Tragedy of the Vietnam is arguably the best single short history of the Vietnam War. As a text, it is readable, fast-paced, well-organized, comprehensive and solidly researched. More than just a text, though, it is tied together by a challenging interpretation that requires critical rethinking about the causes and consequences of the Vietnam War.

- Thomas J. McCormick, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A. 

In The Tragedy of Vietnam, Patrick J. Heardon provides an interesting story of a people who fought for centuries to establish their own national identity and of the nations that tried to colonize or "civilize" them. In telling the story of Vietnam, Heardon argues compellingly that the tragedy of Vietnam was not just for the United States, who gave up the fight to save the Vietnamese people from communism, but also for the Vietnamese people, who got governance wrong.

- M. Kathryn Barbier, Associate Professor of History, Mississippi State University, U.S.A.

What lessons did Americans learn from their Vietnam tragedy? Too few, judging from their endless post-2001 wars.  Patrick Hearden's new edition superbly teaches these lessons for a 21st-century audience, and notably for college students. With clearly presented, up-to-date information, it is a pleasure to read. Each chapter's several striking, often declassified, documents beautifully illustrate major themes for both the well-informed reader or beginning student.  This is an instructive. highly revealing synthesis of an American, as well as the Americans' "client state's," tragedy.

- Walter LaFeber, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University and author of America, Russia, and the Cold War