A Vietnam War Reader edited by Michael H. Hunt | Books in Review

Students of history know that primary sources—such as letters, diaries, newspaper articles, speeches, transcribed conversations, and official documents—are the key to understanding any historical event. Michael H. Hunt, an emeritus history professor at the University of North Carolina who taught Vietnam War history for many years, presents an excellent selection of primary sources in A Vietnam War Reader: A Documentary History from American and Vietnamese Perspectives (University of North Carolina Press, 256 pp., $59.95, hardcover; $19.95, paper).

Hunt’s book, which was first published in 2010, is set up chronologically, beginning with Vietnamese independence movements going back to early French colonial times over a hundred years ago.

Hunt includes material from a wide array of Vietnamese and American participants. There are the voices of top-rank Vietnamese communist leaders, as well as peasants, NVA and ARVN soldiers, and South Vietnamese politicians, along with American presidents, secretaries of defense, and other war policy makers, military personnel, and antiwar activists. Hunt provides excellent, concise introductions to each of the seven large chapters, as well as to the subsections within the chapters.

—Marc Leepson

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