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Would you consider the audio edition of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Vietnam War to be better than the print version?
Both are fine.
What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?
As a veteran from that era, I am acutely aware of the lies and political spin surrounding the war. Few authors would have tackled the topic, understanding the culture of disinformation surrounding it. From what I personally knew, the data presented was far more accurate than the standard fare now available.
What does Tom Weiner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Understanding and emotion.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The Tet offensive.
5 of 9 people found this review helpful
It was refreshing to hear this account, by someone who not only researched the war and met some of its people, but was there fighting it. Our military had the VC beat, but were kept on a leash by an over-cautious government bent on a "limited" war. Still, Nixon had them beat after the Christmas Bombings, when he made them accept the Paris Peace accords and then brought the remaining troops home.
It might have ended like there...except North Vietnam, who could never leave their Southern neighbors alone, invaded (according to the author, our press refused to call it an "invasion") and the Democratic Congress held back air and naval support. The North Vietnamese were still getting help from Russia and China. Case closed.
Jennings also dispels the common image of the Vietnam vet--most have actually done quite well.
(BTW, I read once of a North Vietnamese vet who came to visit US vets. He said the war was a living hell for "Charlie," too. They suffered PTSD etc., but when they went to their government for help, they were told they'd won the war and therefore had to be OK.)
Jennings also reminds us it wasn't a civil war; the South simply minded its own business, but the North wanted to conquer the whole country for their ideology.
The author doesn't flinch from telling what America did wrong, but also shows what America did right. And there's a whole appendix on the Pentagon Papers and how they were presented to the public, that I found very interesting.
After listening to this, I got the idea that our whole memory of that time has been twisted out of shape. My image of it was, the US government were doofuses, we got bogged down in an unwinnable quagmire, the North Vietnamese weren't so bad, it was the US who had everything to be ashamed of. I never seemed to hear about how oppressive the North Vietnamese government was or how they refused to stop attacking the South. When they finally took over, thousands of boat people fled out to sea to escape. All I heard, read, or saw in movies over the years was shame on us, shame on us, shame on us!
Well it's good to be reminded there are two sides to every story, even this.