The General Who Lost Vietnam

eBook - 2011
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"Westmoreland is a great book, a classic by an author who knows his subject well and tells the story without hesitation." — General Donn A. Starry, U.S. Army (ret.), Commander, Army Training and Doctrine Command (1977–1981)Is it possible that the riddle of America's military failure in Vietnam has a one-word, one-man answer?Unless and until we understand General William Westmoreland, we will never understand what went wrong in Vietnam. An Eagle Scout at fifteen, First Captain of his West Point class, Westmoreland fought in two wars and became Superintendent at West Point. Then he was chosen to lead the war effort in Vietnam for four crucial years. He proved a disaster. He could not think creatively about unconventional warfare, chose an unavailing strategy, stuck to it in the face of all opposition, and stood accused of fudging the results when it mattered most. In this definitive portrait, Lewis Sorley makes a plausible case that the war could have been won were it not for Westmoreland. The tragedy of William Westmoreland carries lessons not just for Vietnam, but for the future of American leadership. Westmoreland is essential reading from a masterly historian.
Publisher: 2011
ISBN: 9780547518275
Characteristics: 1 online resource


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Jun 05, 2015

Covers his upbringing, boyhood, time as a cadet at the USMA, his early military career in WWII and Korea and his ascension to commander of US troops in Vietnam and beyond. I read because I never understood how we lost the war or why we even became involved in the first place since the French had been there for a decade or so fighting with nine different generals and couldn't defeat Vo Nguyen Giap's communist troops (aka Viet Cong). Includes discussion of U.S. tactics and superiority in air power, military equipment, technology and logistics and Westmoreland's traits and abilities. Search and destroy tactics employed by the U.S. were wrong from the get-go. (I don't think Patton could have faired better.) Author explains why. Also details the general's career after Vietnam and as a civilian. I felt empathy for Westmoreland. Finally, U.S. and French tactics employed were similar to those used in the previous wars and didn't apply to guerilla jungle warfare. Read the book about leader general Von Nguyen Giap who defeated the Japanese, French and, the U.S. His is an incredible man who defeated superior armies whom had superior technology and training. One of his strategies; If enemy attacks, retreat. When enemy is in camp, attack. When enemy is tired, attack. When enemy retreats, attack. You can't search and destroy that which you can not find or is not willing to engage on your terms.


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