Essential Vietnam War Reading

The September issue of Armchair General magazine contains an article, “10 Essential Vietnam War Books” by James H. Willbanks, a retired Army colonel, who has written widely about the war, in which the author recommends ten “essential books that should be on every historian’s bookshelf.”

Here’s the list, in the order that Col. Willbanks has them in his article:

America’s Last Vietnam Battle: Halting Hanoi’s 1972 Easter Offensive by Dale Andrade

The Long Gray Line: The American Journey of West Point’s Class of 1966 by Rick Atkinson

The Big Story by Peter Braestrup

Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam by Bernard Edelman

America’s Longest War by George Herring

McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam by H.R. McMaster

We Were Soldiers Once …and Young by Hal Moore and Joe Galloway

Tet! Turning Point in the War by Don Oberdorfer

A Viet Cong Memoir by Truong Nhu Tang

The Last Valley: Dien Bien Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam by Martin Windrow

Not a bad list at all. Mine, would include, several others, though. To wit:

A Bright, Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan

Vietnam: A History by Stanley Karnow

Bloods by Wallace Terry

Winners and Losers by Gloria Emerson

The Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace in Vietnam by David Maraniss

Street Without Joy by Bernard Fall

And the following memoirs:

If I Die in a Combat Zone by Tim O’Brien

Fortunate Son by Lew Puller

A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo

Brothers in Arms by William Broyles

Home Before Morning by Lynda Van Devanter

Patches of Fire by Albert French

Keep Your Head Down by Doug Anderson


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