Seen as the last 'hot' frontline of the Cold War, the 10 year struggle in the rice paddies and jungles of South Vietnam unleashed the most devastating firepower on the Vietnamese nation and visited terrible harm on civilians and soldiers. Yet the Australian forces applied tactics that were very different from those of the Americans. Guided by their commanders' experience of jungle combat, Australian troops operated with stealth, deception and restraint in pursuing a 'better war'.
Drawing on hundreds of accounts by soldiers, politicians, aid workers, entertainers and the Vietnamese people, Paul Ham reconstructs for the first time the full history of our longest military campaign. From the commitment to engage, through the fight over conscription and the rise of the anti - war movement, to the tactics and horror of the battlefi eld, Ham exhumes the truth about this politicians' war - which sealed the fate of 50,000 Australian servicemen and women.
More than 500 soldiers were killed and thousands wounded. Those who made it home returned to a hostile and ignorant country and a reception that scarred them forever. This is their story.
©2008 Paul Ham; (P)2008 Bolinda Publishing
"It is the comprehensiveness of Paul Ham's blockbuster on Vietnam that is both enticing and chilling to the core, in what is uncovered and laid out with precision and compelling evidence." (The Australian)
Anyone interested in Vietnam, the good, bad & ugly should listen to this Australian perspective. If it has a fault it lies in that not a lot of attention is given to the Air Force & Navy roles in this conflict, but the detail on the Army role is exceptional. There are passages that will make you both laugh and cry but most importantly will give you a birds eye view of the Australian Forces role in this conflict. Well worth the listen.
This is a fascinating book. Certainly it is a book about the Australian Army's war, but it also details the context of Australia's decision to become involved. The book covers the background in Australia including; domestic politics, conscription, the peace movement, families of service personnel, the media, etc. There is a relatively balanced discussion of the the North Vietnamese perspective and and their attitudes to Australia's involvement. The book covers, all of the significant actions, the use of weapons such as napalm, cluster bombs, tanks, and chemical defoliants. There is an excellent chapter on the impact of the service personal and the Vietnamese themselves of these and other chemicals. Overall it is a fascinating book. Some of the stories anger you, frustrate you and others make you laugh. The narration is fantastic. Peter Byrne offers listeners dead-pan statements, lively characterisations and emotive oration all when appropriate. Even thought the material is occasionally dry, the treatment given by both the text and narration make this easy to listen to from start to finish. If you want a book about battles only, you will be skipping forward often. however if you want to know about the war from the perspective of individual soldiers, civilians, prostitutes, politicians, children, etc, you will get a lot out of this book. I recommend it to anyone who lived military history, Australian history or just loves a well written, non-fiction essay about people who's experiences are as amazing as they are so very human.
Inventor with successful invention. Listen to my books while at the gym. Good for my brain!
I thought I knew a lot about Vietnam because two of my brothers were there. But this audio book opened my eyes to more!
Absolutley because it is a truthful, telling account of the Australian side of the story and not that of America.
Many, too many to mention.
This book made me sad, and ashamed at times. Sad for the pain and loss of war. Ashamed because of the way our political leaders failed our service men and woman. Ashamed of the protestors and those who abused our diggers calling them baby murderers and rapists, but most of all it made me PROUD of our soldiers, sailors and airmen.
Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach.
This is the Australian experience of Vietnam.
The times, the events, the politics, the personalities, the news items, the photographs, the distress are all familiar to me.
It is said that history is written by the powerful .
Paul Ham does capture a time and does describe the time by direct reference to many who experienced the events of the period and the war. It is especially for that reason I give this 5 stars.
For me yes. I have difficulty reading full novels as I am usually too tired. Listening to Audiobooks in my car takes the monotony out of driving.
Peter has great voice control and makes the story flow.
My favorite scene was the the battle of Long Tan
Definately. It is a fascinating account of a very controversial war, looked at from many perspectives, including the North Vietnamese, the Viet Cong, the US and Australian-New Zealanders, the anti war movements, the draft dodgers, and mainly, and very painfully, the soldiers of both sides and the Vietnamese civilians.
I felt that all of the apsects were dealt with thoroughly and in an intensely interesting manner.
The descriptions of the suffering of the civilians, the soldiers, the soldiers families, the boat people, the draft dodgers. The brutal ugliness of the regime which was being defended (the south) and the brutal ugliness of the northern invaders. The lies which we were fed by our politicians, generals, and the communists.
The deliberate treatment by the northern communists of their own Viet Cong soldiers, as cannon fodder, and their disappearance from communist history, was a revelation
The entire book book was compelling. I listened to it day and night, the entire 30 or 40 hours, in 4 days.
Of all of the books about history and war which I have read and listened to (many, in all periods of history, and every continent), this is the most complete and comprehensive decription of the many causes and effects of war. It should be compulsory reading in Australian and New Zealand schools. Americans should read it to see how their friends saw their actions.
His American and Vietnamese accents are pretty funny, but despite that, it does help to put the quotes into perspective.
It made me very sad. It also stimulates me to read more about Afghanistan, just in case we are not learning the lessons of history and are repeating similar mistakes there.
Unbiased and insightful recollection of events and opinion surrounding Vietnam war and its participants - including the in depth historical backgrounding.
It was interesting that Australia had some of the same problems that the United States ended up with. It was also interesting the way the Australians aproached the war. I would recomend this book to others.
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