The best books on the Viet Cong 📚

Browse the best books on the Viet Cong as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of All Day Long the Noise of Battle

All Day Long the Noise of Battle

By Gerard Windsor

Why this book?

The study of battles, and often individual actions by small groups of men, has been an important part of Australian military history, and the Australian military historical tradition has produced many fine practitioners of operational military history. One author who produced a fine example of the genre is Gerard Windsor, the author of fiction and memoir who, though without any previous experience of writing military history, produced All Day Long the Noise of Battle, a study of the attack made by one company of Australian infantry upon a Viet Cong bunker system in Phuoc Tuy province, South Vietnam, in…

From the list:

The best books on Australian military history

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Book cover of Tree of Smoke

Tree of Smoke

By Denis Johnson

Why this book?

Even if you did not “live” through the Vietnam War and its domino-effect cultural disasters, this book will penetrate your consciousness as “tragic and uncannily familiar” (Michiko Kakutani). William “Skip” Sands is ostensibly a CIA officer engaged in Psychological Operations against the Vietcong. From the moment Skip lands “in country,” we are sucked into a vortex of violence, sardonic humor, camaraderie that’s six degrees from pathology, and paranoia -- all told through the lens of a singularly hallucinogenic yet gorgeous and poetic prose style that forced me from time to time to put the book down so I would avoid…

From the list:

The best massive modern/contemporary novels that create their own worlds

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Book cover of The Rescue of Streetcar 304

The Rescue of Streetcar 304

By Kenny Wayne Fields

Why this book?

This is an exciting book by Kenny Fields, a navy pilot who was shot down on his first mission. He came down near a North Vietnamese division in southern Laos and was on the ground for about 50 hours before he was rescued. The story is told from the perspective of the survivor. The NVA and Viet Cong troops had recently participated in the siege of Khe Sanh, and were back in the (for them) sanctuary of Laos.

From the list:

The best books written by pilots who experienced combat during the Vietnam War

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Book cover of A Vietcong Memoir: An Inside Account of the Vietnam War and Its Aftermath

A Vietcong Memoir: An Inside Account of the Vietnam War and Its Aftermath

By Truong Nhu Tang

Why this book?

This fascinating book provides insight into the mind of a cultured, erudite Vietnamese man who grew up in French Indochina. Truong Nhu Tang, simultaneously a South Vietnamese government official and a clandestine Viet Cong urban organizer, has inspirational encounters with Ho Chi Minh in Paris and Viet Minh guerrillas in the jungle. Captured by South Vietnamese police in 1968, he was released to the North in a US-Viet Cong prisoner exchange. After the War, becoming disillusioned with political repression and economic mismanagement by the new communist government, he escapes from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and ends up living in…
From the list:

The best books for understanding America and her enemies in wartime

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Book cover of Through the Valley: My Captivity in Vietnam

Through the Valley: My Captivity in Vietnam

By William Reeder Jr.

Why this book?

In a rescue-gone-wrong, Reeder’s chopper went down, landing on its side and leaving the pilot frantically attempting to disentangle himself from the safety harness to escape the burning craft. Years later, after relaying this story to a large audience, Reeder was told by a fellow veteran that he had witnessed the incident and had Reeder in his gunsight, intending to save him from burning to death. The would-be shooter had looked away an instant, and when ready to fire, found Reeder gone. Reeder managed to evade the enemy for a time but was eventually captured and subjected to unfathomable cruelty…

From the list:

The best books about Twentieth Century POWs

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Book cover of When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace

When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace

By Le Ly Hayslip, Jay Wurts

Why this book?

A memoir from the perspective of the other side, this book tells the story of a young girl in Central Vietnam who was recruited into the war and, by her teens, had suffered near-starvation, torture, imprisonment, and more, in addition to losing much of her family. Later she married an American and moved to this country, but since 1986, she has helped rebuild her homeland through the charitable organizations she established. 

From the list:

The best books on the Vietnam war and what it all meant

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