• Embers of War

  • The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam
  • By: Fredrik Logevall
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders
  • Length: 32 hrs and 15 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (249 ratings)

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Embers of War  By  cover art

Embers of War

By: Fredrik Logevall
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
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Publisher's summary

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 describes how, from an early point, a succession of American leaders made disastrous policy choices that put America on its own collision course with history. 

An epic story of wasted opportunities and deadly miscalculations, Embers of War delves deep into the historical record to provide hard answers to the unanswered questions surrounding the demise of one Western power in Vietnam and the arrival of another. Eye-opening and compulsively listenable, Embers of War is a gripping, heralded work that illuminates the hidden history of the French and American experiences in Vietnam.

One of the most acclaimed works of history in recent years.

  • Winner of the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians
  • Winner of the American Library in Paris Book Award
  • Winner of the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award
  • Finalist for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature

Named one of the best books of the year by:

  • The Washington Post
  • The Christian Science Monitor
  • The Globe and Mail

“A balanced, deeply researched history of how, as French colonial rule faltered, a succession of American leaders moved step by step down a road toward full-blown war.” (Pulitzer Prize citation)

“This extraordinary work of modern history combines powerful narrative thrust, deep scholarly authority, and quiet interpretive confidence.” (Francis Parkman Prize citation)

“A monumental history...a widely researched and eloquently written account of how the US came to be involved in Vietnam...certainly the most comprehensive review of this period to date.” (The Wall Street Journal)

©2012 Fredrik Logevall (P)2018 Random House Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

“Fredrik Logevall’s excellent book Choosing War (1999) chronicled the American escalation of the Vietnam War in the early 1960s. With Embers of War, he has written an even more impressive book about the French conflict in Vietnam and the beginning of the American one.... It is the most comprehensive history of that time. Logevall, a professor of history at Cornell University, has drawn from many years of previous scholarship as well as his own. And he has produced a powerful portrait of the terrible and futile French war from which Americans learned little as they moved toward their own engagement in Vietnam.” (Alan Brinkley, The New York Times Book Review, editor's choice)

“Superb...penetrating...Embers of War is a product of formidable international research. It is lucidly and comprehensively composed. And it leverages a consistently potent analytical perspective.... Outstanding.” (Gordon Goldstein, The Washington Post)

“A remarkable new history.... Logevall skillfully explains everything that led up to Vietnam’s fatal partition in 1954...[and] peppers the grand sweep of his book with vignettes of remarkable characters, wise and foolish.” (The Economist)

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