Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam by Mark Bowden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"Hue: 1968" is a first class account of one of the pivotal battles of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Mark Bowden dissects the battle beautifully, interviewing combatants and civilians from all sides, where they were available, to reconstruct the battle, from the period before hostilities, when the North Vietnamese prepared to enter the city, through the final recapture. He spends an appropriate amount of time on General William Westmoreland's inept handling of the situation, and his misinterpretation of North Vietnamese intentions. The General was so convinced that the North's major target was Khe Sanh that he refused to belief that the Hue attack was anything other than a minor feint. As a result, he discounted reports of heavy enemy strength in Hue, feeding Marine strength in piecemeal. This self delusion ran down the chain of command through the brigade commander level. The result was hundreds more Marine dead than necessary.
Hue was one of THE major battles of the war, fought under the radar of the the American command in Vietnam, and the American public. This book covers the personal stories of over 100 participants, and gives the reader a clear view from ground level.
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