In this Pulitzer Prize-winning history, scholar Fredrik Logevall taps into newly accessible diplomatic archives in several countries to trace the path that led two Western nations to lose their way in Vietnam.
Voluminous, penetrating and cautionary ... In Embers of War, Logevall has conceived a prequel to his past work, examining two powerful, interdependent historical dramas ... A product of formidable international research. It is lucidly and comprehensively composed. And it leverages a consistently potent analytical perspective ... Logevall’s outstanding account concludes with Vietnam’s fate inextricably linked to the projection of American power in the periphery of Southeast Asia.
[Logevall] has written an even more impressive book about the French conflict in Vietnam and the beginning of the American one ... It is the most comprehensive history of that time ... He has produced a powerful portrait of the terrible and futile French war from which Americans learned little as they moved toward their own engagement in Vietnam ... Logevall is not only skilled at describing the war. He is also adept at explaining the diplomacy of Vietnam during the 1950s.
The eight-hundred-plus pages of [Logevall's] Embers of War provide the most comprehensive account available of the French Vietnamese war, America’s involvement, and the beginning of the US-directed struggle ... Older readers will read this book with admiration for Logevall’s copious sources in English, French, and Vietnamese (in translation) and agree with his analysis ... This is not to assert that Logevall obscures or misses the main points; on the contrary, he makes them well but sometimes at too great a length. Somewhat fuller footnotes and a more compact text would have tightened his narrative ... His two books, especially Embers of War, tell the deeply immoral story of the Vietnam wars convincingly and more fully than any others ... A considerable achievement.