The Bitter Heritage: Vietnam and American Democracy 1941-1966, by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
Five out of five stars
With the United States currently embroiled in combat operations in at least four countries, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, the justifications for the original intervention and remaining in the fight sound familiar to people that have followed such things. This book was written in 1966, at a time when the American military involvement in Vietnam was peaking. Schlesinger was a top-notch historian and his perspective on the situation in Vietnam at the time of writing was very prescient.
He understood that the goal of an American military victory in Vietnam was simply not possible and he explains very clearly why. Schlesinger understood the forces at work in Vietnam as well as the role that China and the Soviet Union were playing in supporting the North Vietnamese government. The modern reader of government pronouncements as well as the media supporters of the armed interventions in the four countries will see that the new excuses are just reworded translocations of what Schlesinger is referring to.