100 books like People's Diplomacy of Vietnam

By Harish C. Mehta,

Here are 100 books that People's Diplomacy of Vietnam fans have personally recommended if you like People's Diplomacy of Vietnam. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism during the Vietnam Era

Alexander Sedlmaier Author Of Protest in the Vietnam War Era

From my list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War.

Who am I?

As a historian and someone who grew up in Cold War Berlin, I am constantly inspired by efforts to curb the devastating effects of industrialised warfare. I love learning about people who had the courage to speak up, and how their historical understanding of the military abuse of power enables us to think differently about present-day warfare. So much of my research has been inspired by social movements and their difficult efforts to improve the world. While I am no expert on Vietnamese history, I have been fortunate to have learned a lot about how ingenious the Vietnamese revolutionaries were in actively pedalling the global emergence of Vietnam War protest. 

Alexander's book list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War

Alexander Sedlmaier Why did Alexander love this book?

What happened when US activists travelled to Asia during the Vietnam War?

This is the question Wu seeks to answer in one of the most important books on internationalism and Vietnam War protest. She looks at how they sympathised and identified with anti-imperialist struggles in Asia, inverting an orientalist dichotomy between imperial America and decolonising Asia “whereby the decolonizing East helped to define the identities and goals of activists in the West.”

This was one of the books that first got me interested in understanding why ethnically diverse protesters responded to the Vietnam War the way they did, and how activists’ travel fostered the imagination of new political possibilities and alternative means of political articulation as they transcended ethnic and racial backgrounds.

By Judy Tzu-Chun Wu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Radicals on the Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Traveling to Hanoi during the U.S. war in Vietnam was a long and dangerous undertaking. Even though a neutral commission operated the flights, the possibility of being shot down by bombers in the air and antiaircraft guns on the ground was very real. American travelers recalled landing in blackout conditions, without lights even for the runway, and upon their arrival seeking refuge immediately in bomb shelters. Despite these dangers, they felt compelled to journey to a land at war with their own country, believing that these efforts could change the political imaginaries of other members of the American citizenry and…


Book cover of Marigold: The Lost Chance for Peace in Vietnam

Alexander Sedlmaier Author Of Protest in the Vietnam War Era

From my list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War.

Who am I?

As a historian and someone who grew up in Cold War Berlin, I am constantly inspired by efforts to curb the devastating effects of industrialised warfare. I love learning about people who had the courage to speak up, and how their historical understanding of the military abuse of power enables us to think differently about present-day warfare. So much of my research has been inspired by social movements and their difficult efforts to improve the world. While I am no expert on Vietnamese history, I have been fortunate to have learned a lot about how ingenious the Vietnamese revolutionaries were in actively pedalling the global emergence of Vietnam War protest. 

Alexander's book list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War

Alexander Sedlmaier Why did Alexander love this book?

In January 1966, Ho Chi Minh said in an eye-opening discussion with Polish diplomat Jerzy Michałowski: “We don’t want to become the victors; we just want the Americans to piss off!”

This was in the run-up to the Polish-Italian peace initiative codenamed “Marigold”. Exploring the latter in great detail, James Hershberg in 2012 brought forth the straightforward argument that it could have succeeded in ending the war before 1968. Using new evidence from Polish, Italian, and Vietnamese sources, he penned an enormous (almost 900 pages), yet accessible book exposing how the Johnson administration sabotaged this genuine peace effort with an eye to winning on the battlefield.

The result is Marigold: The Lost Chance for Peace in Vietnam, a most impressive addition to the international history of the Vietnam War.

By James Hershberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marigold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Vietnam's Prodigal Heroes: American Deserters, International Protest, European Exile, and Amnesty

Alexander Sedlmaier Author Of Protest in the Vietnam War Era

From my list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War.

Who am I?

As a historian and someone who grew up in Cold War Berlin, I am constantly inspired by efforts to curb the devastating effects of industrialised warfare. I love learning about people who had the courage to speak up, and how their historical understanding of the military abuse of power enables us to think differently about present-day warfare. So much of my research has been inspired by social movements and their difficult efforts to improve the world. While I am no expert on Vietnamese history, I have been fortunate to have learned a lot about how ingenious the Vietnamese revolutionaries were in actively pedalling the global emergence of Vietnam War protest. 

Alexander's book list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War

Alexander Sedlmaier Why did Alexander love this book?

During the height of the war effort in Vietnam, desertion in the US military reached unprecedented levels. Deserters depended on international support networks run by organisations and activists.

Drawing on primary sources from the US, France, Germany, and Sweden, Glatz pulls together a meticulous and nuanced account of strategies of resistance, prosecution, exile, and Vietnam War activism that culminated in an unprecedented visibility of deserters in the public discourse, both internationally and in the US, leading to a major change in traditional images of the deserter.

The account provides fresh new light on the dramatic failures of US military policy in the Vietnam War, the consequences of which are felt to the present day.

By Paul Benedikt Glatz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vietnam's Prodigal Heroes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book examines the critical role of desertion in the international Vietnam War debate. Paul Benedikt Glatz traces American deserters' odyssey of exile and activism in Europe, Japan, and North America to demonstrate how unprecedented levels of desertion in the US military changed the traditional image of the deserter.


Book cover of War Crimes in Vietnam

Alexander Sedlmaier Author Of Protest in the Vietnam War Era

From my list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War.

Who am I?

As a historian and someone who grew up in Cold War Berlin, I am constantly inspired by efforts to curb the devastating effects of industrialised warfare. I love learning about people who had the courage to speak up, and how their historical understanding of the military abuse of power enables us to think differently about present-day warfare. So much of my research has been inspired by social movements and their difficult efforts to improve the world. While I am no expert on Vietnamese history, I have been fortunate to have learned a lot about how ingenious the Vietnamese revolutionaries were in actively pedalling the global emergence of Vietnam War protest. 

Alexander's book list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War

Alexander Sedlmaier Why did Alexander love this book?

This 1967 collection of essays and speeches by the British philosopher Bertrand Russell fascinates me because it seeks to reveal inconvenient truths while not shying away from a highly partisan intervention.

Russell discusses why he was making a global appeal to protest the US war effort in Vietnam. His book and the subsequent Russell-Sartre War Crimes Tribunal have often been dismissed as biased and uncritical of communist propaganda, but rereading this primary source illuminates an important chapter in the emergence of a global intellectual critique of US imperialism that “millions of Europeans, Asians, Latin Americans” came to share as it was debunking the official position of the Johnson administration and its allies in Vietnam.

By Bertrand Russell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked War Crimes in Vietnam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this harsh and unsparing book, Bertrand Russell presents the
unvarnished truth about the war in Vietnam. He argues that "To
understand the war, we must understand America"-and, in doing so, we
must understand that racism in the United States created a climate in
which it was difficult for Americans to understand what they were doing
in Vietnam. According to Russell, it was this same racism that
provoked "a barbarous, chauvinist outcry when American pilots who have
bombed hospitals, schools, dykes, and civilian centres are accused of
committing war crimes." Even today, more than forty years later, this
chauvinist moral…


Book cover of Vietnam: A History in Documents

Mandaley Perkins Author Of Hanoi, Adieu - A Bitterweet Memoir Of French Indochina

From my list on the French in Vietnam.

Who am I?

In the crucial period after the end of WW2 the stage became set for thirty years of war in Vietnam, yet there’s very little written of it. My stepfather was there, and Hanoi, Adieu is a memoir of his experiences and his sentiments about what happened in the country he’d grown to love. I have a fascination for Southeast Asian history and he was keen for me to tell his story such that readers could absorb the history through his book. I have recommended here those I enjoyed and found useful from a historical or atmospheric perspective in the larger context of French Indochina. I hope you will too.

Mandaley's book list on the French in Vietnam

Mandaley Perkins Why did Mandaley love this book?

If you are a serious student of history then you will be fascinated by this book because it tells a story in letters and official documents of how events in Vietnam unfolded the way they did. The book is a history of communications and policy documents between all the key decision-makers from the end of the 2nd World War in 1945 through two more wars, one with the French and another with the United States, ending in 1975. It reminds us how easily things could have swung a different way and, for me, raises many questions. Could thirty years of war have been avoided had there not been a power vacuum in North Vietnam at the end of WW2 when the French military was left in incarceration by the small anti-colonial US occupation force, leading to the outbreak of violence and chaos between Nationalist Vietnamese, Communists posing as Nationalists,…

Book cover of Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam

Wendell Affield Author Of Muddy Jungle Rivers: A river assault boat cox'n's memory journey of his war in Vietnam

From my list on the Vietnam war that explore waste and loss.

Who am I?

As I write this, I massage aching bits of shrapnel still embedded beneath silvered scars. I’ve read many Vietnam War stories—praising the war, glorifying combat, condemning the war. My stories are 1st person limited POV, voice of a twenty-year-old sailor. My title is a spin-off of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. By the time I wrote my memoir, I realized that our national goals in Vietnam had been Muddy from the beginning. I too, traveled Jungle Rivers. During my time on the riverboat, I witnessed Rivers of blood—rivers of life, trickle across our deck. And yes, Jungle is a fitting metaphor for our life at that time.

Wendell's book list on the Vietnam war that explore waste and loss

Wendell Affield Why did Wendell love this book?

McMaster’s book confirms the corruption, lies, and hubris of national leaders, including the military during the Vietnam era. As a high-ranking officer in the army, I found his in-depth analysis of deception at the top levels very troubling. This is a must-read for every person interested in our history—especially to understand the mistakes of the Vietnam War—the quagmire that pulled us in. 

By H R McMaster,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dereliction of Duty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times or the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C." -H. R. McMaster (from the Conclusion) Dereliction Of Duty is a stunning analysis of how and why the United States became involved in an all-out and disastrous war in Southeast Asia. Fully and convincingly researched, based on transcripts and personal accounts of crucial meetings, confrontations and decisions, it is the only book that fully re-creates what happened and why. McMaster pinpoints the policies and decisions that got…


Book cover of The Daughters of Yalta: The Churchills, Roosevelts, and Harrimans: A Story of Love and War

Gioia Diliberto Author Of Coco at the Ritz

From my list on the complicated choices facing women in war.

Who am I?

As a writer of seven historically themed books, fiction and nonfiction, I’ve loved the intense, deep dive into World War I, World War II, the Civil War, and the Paris Commune that researching my books entailed. It’s been particularly fascinating to explore how women, whether on or near the front lines, or on the home front, negotiate life during war and how their behavior illuminates character. My protagonists are all women, and I’ve found that writing their lives offers a sharp opportunity to see the moral ambiguities of war. What’s more, their stories often transcend the personal to symbolize the spirit of a particular time and place at war.

Gioia's book list on the complicated choices facing women in war

Gioia Diliberto Why did Gioia love this book?

As a reader and a writer, I love books that tell small stories to illuminate big ones, that explore pivotal moments in history through the experiences of vivid characters who stand at the side of the major players.

This Catherine Grace Katz does brilliantly in her account of the great international summit at the end of World War II, told through the eyes of three fascinating young women, all daughters of Yalta’s key participants.

By Catherine Grace Katz,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Daughters of Yalta as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The brilliant untold story of three daughters of diplomacy: Anna Roosevelt, Sarah Churchill, and Kathleen Harriman, glamorous, fascinating young women who accompanied their famous fathers to the Yalta Conference with Stalin in the waning days of World War II.

With victory close at hand, the Yalta conference was held across a tense week in February 1945 as Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin attempted to agree on an end to the war, and to broker post-war peace.

In Daughters of Yalta, Catherine Katz uncovers the dramatic story of the three young women who travelled with their fathers to the…


Book cover of Roosevelt's Lost Alliances: How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War

Susanna Erlandsson Author Of Personal Politics in the Postwar World: Western Diplomacy Behind the Scenes

From my list on everyday gendered practices and political power.

Who am I?

I am a historian with a doctorate and years of experience in diplomatic history. While researching a foreign minister’s policy decisions, I stumbled across his wife’s diaries. Later, I went back to read them. What started as sheer curiosity turned into a mission when I realised how vital diplomats’ wives were to the functioning of twentieth-century diplomacy. Yet I had spent years in the field without reading about the influence of gender. I wrote a book to bridge the gap and challenge the idea that diplomatic history can disregard gender if its focus is political. The books on my list show how everyday gendered practices are connected to political power.

Susanna's book list on everyday gendered practices and political power

Susanna Erlandsson Why did Susanna love this book?

Roosevelt's Lost Alliances is perhaps the book that has had the most tangible influence on my own work. Seeing how Frank Costigliola highlighted and analysed the political consequences of personal preferences and relations was eye-opening.

When the book appeared, some reviewers claimed that Costigliola made leaders' personalities all-important and overlooked structural factors. Because I had read that criticism before I read the book, I was surprised to find a nuanced account of how personal and political factors intersected. I found those reviews blatantly unfair.

By carefully analysing their personal preferences and relations, Costigliola did not claim that a few powerful men determined history. Rather, he showed how emotional and cultural factors, which are surely structural, influenced them and their decision-making.

By Frank Costigliola,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Roosevelt's Lost Alliances as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the spring of 1945, as the Allied victory in Europe was approaching, the shape of the postwar world hinged on the personal politics and flawed personalities of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. "Roosevelt's Lost Alliances" captures this moment and shows how FDR crafted a winning coalition by overcoming the different habits, upbringings, sympathies, and past experiences of the three leaders. In particular, Roosevelt trained his famous charm on Stalin, lavishing respect on him, salving his insecurities, and rendering him more amenable to compromise on some matters. Yet, even as he pursued a lasting peace, FDR was alienating his own intimate…


Book cover of Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam

Jessica M. Chapman Author Of Remaking the World: Decolonization and the Cold War

From my list on the Cold War in the Third World.

Who am I?

At first glance, the Cold War in the Third World can seem like a mess of disjointed, misbegotten tragedies. My goal, though, is to understand the systemic conditions that not only link seemingly disparate cases together, but also help explain why they happened and what legacies they have left behind. The trick is to do that without privileging perspectives from the Global North, flattening historical complexities, and overlooking the unique nature of individual conflicts. This type of work, hard and imperfect as it may be, is essential to understanding the world we have inherited, and might just help us fix it. Making the effort makes me feel like a better human.

Jessica's book list on the Cold War in the Third World

Jessica M. Chapman Why did Jessica love this book?

Countless books have been written about America’s war in Vietnam, but I suggest you start with Fredrik Logevall’s Embers of War.

This Pulitzer Prize winner reads like an epic novel, winding the reader through the years leading up to Washington’s fateful military commitment to Vietnam with remarkable empathy for all involved. Logevall is a talented historian, whose mastery of the field and extensive use of untapped sources keeps pace with his beautiful writing style. You won’t want to put this one down.

By Fredrik Logevall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Embers of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
 
Written with the style of a great novelist and the intrigue of a Cold War thriller, Embers of War is a landmark work that will forever change your understanding of how and why America went to war in Vietnam. Tapping newly accessible diplomatic archives in several nations, Fredrik Logevall traces the path that led two Western nations to tragically lose their way in the jungles of Southeast Asia. He brings to life the bloodiest battles of France’s final years in Indochina—and shows how, from an early point, a succession of American leaders made disastrous policy…


Book cover of The Nightingale's Song

Nicholas Warr Author Of Phase Line Green: The Battle for Hue, 1968

From my list on the Vietnam War from a Marine infantry officer who fought there.

Who am I?

I enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps in 1966 and was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program. As a Marine officer, I served one 13-month combat tour in the Republic of Vietnam from November 1967 to December 1968. During my tour, I led Marines through some of the heaviest fighting in the war, including the historic Battle for Hue City during the Tet Offensive of 1968. I will never forget my Marines, who always, always rose and faced the enemy, risking their lives for their fellow Marines and the people of South Vietnam. I experienced first-hand the brutality of war and the loss of too many of my Marines, at the hands of our fierce enemy, the Viet Cong, and the NVA, and at the hands of our own leaders who valued historic real estate over the lives of the young Americans who served in “The ‘Nam.” I am extremely passionate about this topic and feel strongly that every American should study this war and learn the facts about what happened there – the good, the bad, and the ugly – to ensure we as a nation never again send our troops into harms’ way without our nation’s full support.

Nicholas' book list on the Vietnam War from a Marine infantry officer who fought there

Nicholas Warr Why did Nicholas love this book?

Robert Timberg weaves together the lives of Annapolis graduates John McCain, James Webb, Oliver North, Robert McFarlane, and John Poindexter, all of whom are key players in the drama of the Vietnam War, to reveal how the War continues to haunt America. Casting all five men as metaphors for a legion of well-meaning if ill-starred warriors, Timberg probes the fault line between those who fought the war and those who used money, wit, and connections to avoid battle. A riveting tale that illuminates the flip side of the fabled Vietnam generation -- those who went.

By Robert Timberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Nightingale's Song as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Presents the story of five top graduates of Annapolis who served heroically in Vietnam and rose to national prominence during the Reagan years.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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