100 books like The Nightingale's Song

By Robert Timberg,

Here are 100 books that The Nightingale's Song fans have personally recommended if you like The Nightingale's Song. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of This Time We Win: Revisiting the Tet Offensive

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

The Tet Offensive of 1968 was a massive failure by the NVA, but one American Journalist, Mr. Walter Cronkite, who was in South Vietnam during the early stages of this historic battle, and should have known better, declared to the American people that he did not know who won or who lost, and that our best hope for the outcome of this war would be stalemate. Most Americans, safe at home in their living rooms, believed what he said, which was easy considering the media’s video images of dead American soldiers coming home in body bags in unprecedented numbers. Thus, the terrible outcome of that war became inevitable. Through exhaustive research, historian James Robbins proves that Cronkite was dead wrong. This is my favorite book about the Vietnam War because I was there, on the “tip of the spear” leading U. S. Marines in the Battle for Hue City, the…

By James S Robbins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Time We Win as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Most of what Americans know about the Tet Offensive is wrong. The brief 1968 battle during the Vietnam conflict marked the dividing line between gradual progress towards an ill-defined victory, and slow descent to a humiliating defeat. The fact that the enemy was, in fact, handily defeated on the ground was immaterial; that they could mount an attack at all was deemed a military triumph for the Vietcong. At least this is the received wisdom of Tet. In This Time We Win, James S. Robbins at last provides an antidote to the flawed Tet mythology that continues to shape the…


Book cover of Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

Author Richard Botkin was a U. S. Marine Captain, who served during a time of peace, but who, like many Marines, became fascinated with Marine Corps history during the Vietnam War. This book is about the U. S. Marine officers who served as military advisors to the Vietnamese Marine Corps, and who helped the Vietnamese Marines defend their country during the so-called Easter Offensive of 1972. The North Vietnamese launched this unprecedented offensive with the intent of conquering our ally, the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) or South Vietnam as we came to know them. This was an all-out, go-for broke offensive during which the NVA launched over 1,000 Soviet tanks and massive artillery bombardments, backed by tens of thousands of NVA infantry soldiers. The intent of this offensive was “total victory.” History and this book document the fact that this juggernaut was ultimately stopped cold by the ARVN and the…

By Richard Botkin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Everything Americans know about the end of the Vietnam War is wrong, contends Richard Botkin, former Marine infantry officer and author of the groundbreaking book Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph.

Now the inspiration for a major motion picture of the same name Ride the Thunder reveals the heroic, untold story of how Vietnamese Marines and their US advisers fought valiantly, turning the tide of an unpopular war and actually winning – while Americans 8,000 miles away were being fed only one version of the story.

Focusing on three Marine heroes – Colonel John W.…


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

I believe this book is the most important book written about the aftermath of the war, and the impact it had on “those who went.” Author Burkett describes himself as a Vietnam Veteran, but one who served in an administrative capacity and seldom in harm’s way. Upon returning home in 1969, he witnessed, first-hand, the disrespect given to those who went to war by those who stayed home. In 1996, Burkett was enlisted by a group of citizens who were trying to build a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Monument in Fair Park near downtown Dallas to help them raise the necessary funds. He first went directly to business decision-makers and asked for their support, only to be soundly rejected because of the extremely negative reputation placed on returning veterans by the media and others. Knowing that that terrible reputation (murderers, rapists, baby-killers, etc.) was not earned by most, he set about…

By B.G. Burkett, Glenna Whitley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Military documents reveal decades of deceit about the Vietnam War and myths perpetuated by the mainstream media


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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,…

By Gareth Porter (editor),

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of People's Diplomacy of Vietnam: Soft Power in the Resistance War, 1965-1972

Alexander Sedlmaier Author Of Protest in the Vietnam War Era

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

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

Although Robert Brigham’s Guerrilla Diplomacy deserved the attention it got, People’s Diplomacy of Vietnam, in my opinion, does the better job of connecting the dots between the informal or unofficial diplomacy of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) and the National Liberation Front (NLF) on the one hand, and the global campaign aimed at garnering sympathy and solidarity with Vietnam, on the other.

Mehta highlights the various connections with and visits to Vietnam by activists from the West and also from the mass organisations of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. These links “enabled the Vietnamese revolutionaries to exercise international influence on a scale disproportionately larger than their meager economic and military capabilities would have otherwise allowed.” 

By Harish C. Mehta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the first full-length book on the concept of "People's Diplomacy," promoted by the president of North Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, at the peak of the Vietnam War from 1965-1972. It holds great appeal for historians, international relations scholars, diplomats, and the general reader interested in Vietnam. A form of informal diplomacy, people's diplomacy was carried out by ordinary Vietnamese including writers, cartoonists, workers, women, students, filmmakers, medical doctors, academics, and sportspersons. They created an awareness of the American bombardment of innocent Vietnamese civilians, and made profound connections with the anti-war movements abroad. People's diplomacy made it difficult for…


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 The Hidden History of the Korean War, 1950-1951: A Nonconformist History of Our Times

James N. Butcher Author Of Korea: Traces of a Forgotten War

From my list on the Korean War from someone who served there.

Why am I passionate about this?

James Neal Butcher is a professor emeritus of the Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota. At age 17, he enlisted in the US Army during the Korean War. He served 2 years in a parachute infantry division (82nd Airborne). He volunteered for service in the Korean War and served one year as an infantry soldier in the 17th Infantry Regiment during the war including the battles for Jane Russell Hill in October 1952 and Pork Chop Hill in April 1953. In 2013 he published a memoir of his early life and his military experience Korea: Traces of a forgotten war. 

James' book list on the Korean War from someone who served there

James N. Butcher Why did James love this book?

The Hidden History of the Korean War by I. F. Stone was originally published in 1952 during the Korean War and republished in 1970 at a time in which the US was engaging in the Vietnam War. This controversial book provides viewpoints that are not widely accepted historically. The author raises questions about the origin of the Korean War and makes the case that the United States government manipulated the United Nations and was critical that the U.S. military and South Korean governments extended the war by undermining the efforts to complete the peace talks.

By I.F. Stone,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hidden History of the Korean War, 1950-1951 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reexamines the causes and course of the Korean War, discusses U.S. war propaganda, and analyzes U.S. foreign policy


Book cover of America's Cold War: The Politics of Insecurity

Andrew Payne Author Of War on the Ballot: How the Election Cycle Shapes Presidential Decision-Making in War

From my list on the politics of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I take great pride in having somehow turned a passion for visiting presidential libraries into an academic career. I’ve now conducted extensive research at eight of them, and have future projects lined up to get me to the rest. This experience means I can and frequently do ruin family gatherings by challenging distant relations to quizzes about obscure details involving presidential pets. But it has also left me well-placed to write a number of articles and books exploring how domestic politics shapes the development and execution of U.S. foreign policy. I’ve done this while affiliated with the University of Oxford and, more recently, at City, University of London. 

Andrew's book list on the politics of war

Andrew Payne Why did Andrew love this book?

This was the book that got me hooked on the study of U.S. foreign policy.

I vividly remember debating the grammatical merits of the word “intermestic” with my undergraduate adviser. (Full disclosure: he was a skeptic; I was in favour.) But we both agreed that the term it introduced to describe the connection between the international and domestic dimensions of policy was fundamentally apt.

This remains my go-to book to get up to speed on the domestic politics of any major foreign policy challenge of the Cold War period. And it should be yours, too.

By Campbell Craig, Fredrik Logevall,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A creative, carefully researched, and incisive analysis of U.S. strategy during the long struggle against the Soviet Union."
-Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy

"Craig and Logevall remind us that American foreign policy is decided as much by domestic pressures as external threats. America's Cold War is history at its provocative best."
-Mark Atwood Lawrence, author of The Vietnam War

The Cold War dominated world affairs during the half century following World War II. America prevailed, but only after fifty years of grim international struggle, costly wars in Korea and Vietnam, trillions of dollars in military spending, and decades of nuclear…


Book cover of The Irony of American History

Peter S. Henne Author Of Religious Appeals in Power Politics

From my list on religion’s messy impact on international relations.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a religious person, I’ve always believed religion is a force for good while being constantly reminded of the horrors it causes. This became a real-world concern with the 9/11 attacks (which happened my second week in college) and the faith-tinged US response. I spent ten years in Washington, DC working at the intersection of faith and counterterrorism, hopeful religion could solve our problems but worried it will only make things worse. I’ve continued that work as a Professor at the University of Vermont. This book reflects that tension and my desire to resolve it. 

Peter's book list on religion’s messy impact on international relations

Peter S. Henne Why did Peter love this book?

Niebuhr, a theologian active in the Cold War, experienced a resurgence in popularity after then-Senator Barack Obama listed him as his favorite theologian. Much of this interest had to do with the desire for a more restrained US foreign policy but I was drawn to what he had to say about the impact of faith on politics.

In this book he discusses the significance of faith-based ideals in America’s struggle with the Soviet Union and how our naivete turned “virtue into a vice.” This aligned with my interest in the unintended effects of infusing religion into international relations; in fact, I suggested that quote as one possible title for my book.

While Niebuhr focuses on the United States, his warning about unfettered idealism can apply to any country’s foreign policy.

By Reinhold Niebuhr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Irony of American History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Forged during the tumultuous but triumphant postwar years when America came of age as a world power, "The Irony of American History" is more relevant now than ever before. Cited by politicians as diverse as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Niebuhr's masterpiece on the incongruity between personal ideals and political reality is both an indictment of American moral complacency and a warning against the arrogance of virtue. Impassioned, eloquent, and deeply perceptive, Niebuhr's wisdom will cause readers to rethink their assumptions about right and wrong, war and peace.


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