Black focuses his attention largely on Vietnam’s Quang Tri and Thua Thien provinces along the Laotian border, home to a vital stretch of the Ho Chi Minh Trail ... Black presents an efficient military and political history. Readers well versed in the ample scholarship on the war years might find much of this material familiar, but Black’s immersion in a particular human geography — his attunement to aspects of terrain, climate, flora and fauna, as well as to the people’s intimate relationship to the land — brings home the enormity of the destruction anew ... In his fascinating description of life on the perilous Ho Chi Minh Trail, Black includes a vignette about a North Vietnamese porter.
George Black’s reporting for The Long Reckoning is deep and wide — he made nine trips to Vietnam and the result is a meticulously reported, extraordinary account ... An inspiring epilogue to the Vietnam tragedy.
Penetrating ... Reading Black’s well-documented, vivid descriptions of the war and its aftermath stirred the same grim memories I had walking through Project RENEW’s Mine Action Visitor Center ... His meticulously researched book would have been improved by the inclusion of a glossary to allow readers to decode the arcane terminology of war.
Black sets much of this vivid narrative on the ground, painstakingly documenting the death-dealing technology America deployed against an enemy—and a civilian populace—that was vastly outgunned but bent on victory. The combat scenes are appropriately scarifying ... One of the best recent books on a war that ended half a century ago but that still reverberates.
Insightful recaps of diplomatic negotiations are interwoven with evocative descriptions of the Vietnamese landscape and brisk summaries of the long campaign for accountability from the American government. The result is a brilliant look at 'the long, slow process of healing.'