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The Vietnam War Audiobook

The Vietnam War: An Intimate History

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Publisher's Summary

From the award-winning historian and filmmakers of The Civil War, Baseball, The War, The Roosevelts, and others: a vivid, uniquely powerful history of the conflict that tore America apart - the companion volume to the major multipart PBS film to be aired in September 2017.

More than 40 years after it ended, the Vietnam War continues to haunt our country. We still argue over why we were there, whether we could have won, and who was right and wrong in their response to the conflict. When the war divided the country, it created deep political fault lines that continue to divide us today. Now, continuing in the tradition of their critically acclaimed collaborations, the authors draw on dozens and dozens of interviews in America and Vietnam to give us the perspectives of people involved at all levels of the war: US and Vietnamese soldiers and their families, high-level officials in America and Vietnam, antiwar protestors, POWs, and many more. The book plunges us into the chaos and intensity of combat, even as it explains the rationale that got us into Vietnam and kept us there for so many years. Rather than taking sides, the book seeks to understand why the war happened the way it did and to clarify its complicated legacy. Beautifully written, this is a tour de force that is certain to launch a new national conversation.

©2017 Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns (P)2017 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"Lucid, flowing, and dramatic...robustly detailed writing...eye-opening...powerful in its own right.... In their new 'intimate' yet capacious history, the award-winning, audience-enthralling duo of historian and screenwriter Ward and documentarian extraordinaire Burns investigate the complex, divisive, and tragic Vietnam War from a unique plurality of perspectives." (Donna Seaman, Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.7 (71 )
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  •  
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 09-14-17
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 09-14-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Breathtaking In Scope; Heartbreaking In Reality"

    I bought The Vietnam War because I respect Ken Burns and, well, I wanted to make sense of what I saw on TV and in the newspapers when I was just a little kid.
    This book is mindblowing in its scope, in the detail, in the amount of research that was poured into it. It covers about every viewpoint a reader/listener could ask for: background shenanigans at the White House, a grunt's view, the war back home (from peaceful demonstrators to those who made the peace movement something Nixon's public hated/feared); Vietnamese civilians trying to live in the midst of chaos, North Vietnamese and the NLF who were willing to sacrifice everything and kill every American they could.
    And much, much more.
    It's all delivered in the tones of skilled documentarians who sometimes skimp on the emotion but always, always, deliver blows with dead accuracy. Sometimes devastating, sometimes heartrending, the same tones are used.
    And that's the only, only flaw I could find with this audiobook.
    Everything else? Well, I'm still wondering how the heartbreak I saw on TV after watching Captain Kangaroo, after hearing at my grade school about POWs, happened: It's all so very tragic, and the fact that we can find lines that trickle their way through our current actions and inactions just about rips my heart out.
    Listen to this if you want great history. You won't be disappointed.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Billings, MT 09-07-17
    Amazon Customer Billings, MT 09-07-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Provacitive, compelling and often disturbing "

    For many who believed the Vietnam war was to contain communism this will find this a disturbing story. Hidden whitehouse doubts of four Presidents, tensions at home and abroad, unstable leadership, nuclear brinkmanship, “The Vietnam War” presents a divided USA too ready to employ the military without an end game.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greeny 10-19-17
    Greeny 10-19-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Down the rabbit hole"

    I wanted clues about how the world got a bit reordered through the Vietnam War and how strategy and tactics developed. The audiobook delivered on that.

    The authors wanted to move through time but they had to tell what different actors were doing. They made ten chronological divisions. If I didn't already know major events that would happen next, I'd never guess them.

    The way the narrator performed, I somehow suspended my belief and fell into the big story. There were so many heroic individuals to know about decades later, and yet the really rare thing is to have leaders who can perceive things as they are and then make good choices.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Abel Ragen St. Louis, MO USA 10-19-17
    Brian Abel Ragen St. Louis, MO USA 10-19-17 Member Since 2009
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    "An Excellent Extension of the TV Series"

    There is much that is hard to bear in this book, but I can’t think of anything that did not seem to need to be said or that was put in a way
    that seemed unfair to me. I wish American presidents didn’t come off so badly—but it is their own words that convict them. There are, on the other hand, many moments that move one to admiration for those who did what they saw as their duty. This is a just and compassionate book. It it also very well read. I am glad no attempt was made to introduce the sounds and music that help make the film so powerful. Watch the film for that. This book will give a fuller, more detailed view.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arthur 10-13-17
    Arthur 10-13-17 Member Since 2010
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    "Adds more detail to the PBS Documentary"

    I listened to this audiobook and watched the Ken Burns Documentary at the same time. Both were excellent. This audiobook tracks well with the Documentary through 1970 but it adds some more detail such as an analysis of what Kennedy would do if he wasn't assassinated which wasn't in the Documentary.
    While the Documentary was excellent and by far the best I have seen on the Vietnam war - I was disappointed with the Documentary's coverage after 1970 - it appears that perhaps the TV producers ran short of funding and did a relatively cursory coverage of the last 4.5 years. That being said, the audiobook continued to have excellent coverage after 1970 and contains a lot that was obviously cut out of the Documentary and that I wish was in there. For example, the audiobook contains excellent analysis of the Vietnamese diaspora which was almost entirely missing from the Documentary.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Larson 10-11-17
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    "engrossing"

    Great balance at showing what the ear was like on all sides. My neighbor was a tank Commander in Vietnam and he told me this book is spot on with some of his experiences. My neighbor went on to become a Buddhist monk and make peace with his past. This book gave me new insight into what that past might have been like for him and untold others...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    G-Force 10-10-17
    G-Force 10-10-17
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    "The Human Side of War"

    I was very young when The US first sent troops to South Vietnam. Today I have several friends who fought in that war! This book and mini series have educated me on why our government decided to fight the expansion of communism in SE Asia. Now I know why they have become disenchanted with our leaders!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    D M BOYCE 10-07-17
    D M BOYCE 10-07-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Required Reading\Listening for the Entire Planet"

    so many things so different from memoriesgrowong up. really breaks our hearts. never forget. Ken Burns. Again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Michael S. Mccrea West Porters Lake, NS, Canada 10-07-17
    Michael S. Mccrea West Porters Lake, NS, Canada 10-07-17 Member Since 2012
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    "The War that nobody wanted!"

    you have to listen to this book and hear the real storey and you will want to never stop this book pulls you in and in and in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Jon 10-06-17
    Jon 10-06-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Compelling"

    Both the book and the film were well written and directed. I served in Vietnam and was able to relate totally.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Tony
    Plymouth, UK
    10/1/17
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    "Stunning account of Vietnam War"

    This is a must listen account of the Vietnam War told through the people who made and experienced it. The complexities of it's beginning are clearly explained and the futility of the military actions revealed. However the it's the interweaving of secret records, personal accounts, verbatim conversations

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Al Campos
    10/3/17
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    "Long boring US hagiography"

    With all the hype regarding the series I thought this would finally be a un-biased History on the story of the Vietnam War. I started immediately frowning buy the constant word "Communists" to describe NLF in South Vietnam (the VC for you Yanks) and the NVA or the regular army of North Vietnam. I thought we had passed the times of primary anti communism and "commies" I guess not. Yes there were Communists but first they were proud nationalists who fought the Japanese, French and Americans. Then the Gulf of Tonkin "incident" is given reasonable doubt after this from a 2005, an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified; it concluded that Maddox had engaged the North Vietnamese Navy on August 2, but that there were no North Vietnamese naval vessels present during the incident of August 4. The report stated, regarding the first incident on August 2, that "at 1500G,[note 1] Captain Herrick ordered Ogier's gun crews to open fire if the boats approached within ten thousand yards. At about 1505G, Maddox fired three rounds to warn off the communist boats. This initial action was never reported by the Johnson administration, which insisted that the Vietnamese boats fired first."[5]. This is important because of the resolution by Congress that led to all out war but its glossed over by the author's. The My Lai incident is not given enough time but like always its the personal stories of the poor American soldier like in all these types of projects. I find it ironic the description of an US POW about the poor food the awful conditions sleeping in the rain with no blankets disease ridden. Well the average Guerrilla of the NFL starved too and ate 1 or 2 bowls of rice when they had it and if injured he or she wasn't medevaced no he was left to die. Its sooo ironic the US soldier complaining he had no soap no toothpaste?!? I suggest reading "War Without Fronts" by Bernd Greiner (he's German) he writes about the "free fire" zones and the dozens if not hundreds of My Lai's. I would like that the 2-5 million dead Vietnamese had a wall with their names on it but no one will ever know how many of them died and were injured for life deformed by Agent Orange still being killed today not only in Vietnam but Laos and Combodia because of buried mines as the US used 10 times the ordnance of the Allied & Axis forces combined in WW2. Give this one a pass.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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