While most historians of the Vietnam War focus on the origins of US involvement and the Americanization of the conflict, Lien-Hang T. Nguyen examines the international context in which North Vietnamese leaders pursued the war and American intervention ended. This riveting narrative takes the listener from the marshy Mekong Delta swamps to the bomb-saturated Red River Delta, from the corridors of power in Hanoi and Saigon to the Nixon White House, and from the peace negotiations in Paris to high-level meetings in Beijing and Moscow, all to reveal that peace never had a chance in Vietnam.
Hanoi’s War renders transparent the internal workings of America’s most elusive enemy during the Cold War and shows that the war fought during the peace negotiations was bloodier and much more far-reaching than thought before. Using never-before-seen archival materials from the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as materials from other archives around the world, Nguyen explores the politics of warmaking and peacemaking not only from the North Vietnamese perspective but also from that of South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, China, and the United States, presenting a uniquely international portrait.
If you are a Vietnam vet, as I am, you should read this book. The US policy's were not in the best interest of peaceful coexistence in the world. From the soldiers point of view the command structure, both governmental and military, was FUBAR.
There was certainly a lot more strife within the north (Hanoi) than I realized. There were many things that I have wondered about, now I have a much better understanding of what was really happening.
4 su 5 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione
Very impressed with the research and viewpoint gathered from the communist side of the war. Highly recommend to anyone interested in understanding more about the politics and continuous poker match with not just the USA, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam but also how local countries and other key Cold War countries had incremental impacts on this outcome.
If you could sum up Hanoi’s War in three words, what would they be?
Rapprochement, rapprochement, rapprochement. I recognise the word is tightly tied to international politics such as Sino-Soviet relations, much in the same way the the word *detente* is inextricable from American-Soviet history. But the repeated use of the word became a bit of a distraction. A conservative estimate would be two dozen instances. Maybe it wouldn't have been bad if the narrator had used a French pronunciation... but unfortunately, it was anglicised.
What did you like best about this story?
It gave an interesting, thorough (though, in all fairness, not completely verifiable) view of the history of war in Vietnam in the latter half of the 20th century. It details the strategies and infighting of all combatants, not merely American, but more importantly, various factions of Vietnamese in the north and the south, along with the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Laos not to mention the legacy of the French.
What about Hillary Huber’s performance did you like?
It wasn't terrible, but a bit flat. (And the rapprochement thing could have been better in French).
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Not really. There is a lot of information, many organisations, and numerous players to keep track of, so it was best to keep it in digestible chunks.
Any additional comments?
I expected to hear a political agenda that never really came... thankfully. Therefore, it did keep an air of objectivity. Every faction comes in for scrutiny and scorn. If the book demonstrates anything, it's that the history of wars in Vietnam, more than just the American involvement, was more convoluted that anyone could imagine. The one take-away I got (not explicitly expressed in the book) was that it refutes the notion that anti-war activity in the States prevented an American victory (otherwise known as the Rambo excuse). The Vietnamese in the north and the south were just as divided in their motivations and goals. Yet still, it was never going to be winnable, for anyone from the outside.
What would have made Hanoi’s War better?
A better narrator and a better writer.
Would you ever listen to anything by Lien-Hang T. Nguyen again?
What didn’t you like about Hillary Huber’s performance?
Awful, flat, smarmy performance. Reading as if for first time. Robotic and utterly uninvolved reading.
Any additional comments?
Another book on this subject, actually well written, would be great. For now read A Bright Shining Lie by Sheehan. It is possible the terrible narrator ruins this book. Cannot listen further.
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Brilliant account of how the war endured and ended. The perspective, as can be expected from the title, is from Hanoi. Clearly sets out how the regime there simultaneously sought military victory whilst courting world sympathy. Enormously refreshing to have such a balanced history.