Readers who share a “revisionist” desire to understand the American intervention in Vietnam as a “lost victory” (as the CIA’s William Colby described it) will find a lot to like in Shaw’s book. But those looking for a more historical and contextual reading of Ngo Dinh Diem and the South Vietnam state he led may have to wait a while longer.
Edward Miller is associate professor of history at Dartmouth College. He is the author of Misalliance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and the Fate of South Vietnam (2013, Harvard) and The Vietnam War: A Documentary Reader (2016, Wiley), as well as many articles and book chapters on the Vietnam War and modern Vietnamese history.
Posts by Edward Miller
The story of Delyte Morris and the Southern Illinois University he created is what Robert A. Harper calls “a story of unlikely success and a tragic end.” It does read like an American tragedy, somehow, based in a rustic start, ambition, ingenuity, and the fallibility of good intentions.