Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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List of Illustrations

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xi

This book would not have been possible without the critical support of a small village of colleagues, friends, and family. Certain individuals at key institutions deserve special mention: Paul M. Kennedy, John Lewis Gaddis, Ann Carter- Drier, and Susan Hennigan at International Security...

Abbreviations

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pp. xii-xvi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-14

Before the bombs fell, Hanoi was relatively quiet. Although the war had disrupted the frenetic pace of life in North Vietnam’s largest city, the late fall and early winter of 1972 seemed even more desolate than seasons past. Between one- quarter and one- half of the population had been evacuated...

Part I: The Path to Revolutionary War

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1. Le Duan’s Rise to Power and the Road to War

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pp. 17-47

Under the cover of darkness on 22 January 1955, Le Duan, Party secretary of the Southern Territorial Committee, bid a hasty farewell to his second-in- command, Le Duc Tho, at the mouth of the Ong Doc River off the tip of Ca Mau province in the deep south of Vietnam. While Le Duan secretly...

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2. Policing the State in a Time of War

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pp. 48-84

Walking through the halls of the Social Sciences Institute in 1963, Hoang Minh Chinh worried that he had not done everything in his power to rebalance VWP policy. A devotee of Soviet thinking, Chinh, head of the Marxist Institute of Philosophy, was convinced that the Party was veering dangerously...

Part II: Breaking the Stalemate

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3. The Battle in Hanoi for the Tet Offensive

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pp. 87-109

On 5 July 1967, one day before he was set to return South, COSVN Commander General Nguyen Chi Thanh had lunch with an ailing Ho Chi Minh. Lingering at his car before leaving, General Thanh worried it would be the last time he would be able to set eyes on the aged leader. Ho was thinking...

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4. To Paris and Beyond

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pp. 110-150

It was apparent to many Saigonese living in the labyrinth of pathways just off Justice Bridge (Cau Cong Ly) that something was afoot on the eve of the 1968 Lunar New Year. For weeks prior to the holiday, new cyclo drivers, street vendors, and itinerant peddlers positioned themselves in tucked-away...

Part III: The Pursuit of a Chimeric Victory

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5. Sideshows and Main Arenas

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pp. 153-193

Le Duc Tho met Henry Kissinger for the first time on a cold winter’s day in a working- class suburb of Paris. Having sparred directly and indirectly with other American negotiators, including W. Averell Harriman and Henry Cabot Lodge, Tho quickly took stock of Kissinger, who appeared...

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6. Talking while Fighting

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pp. 194-228

On 12 June 1971, Nixon gave away his daughter, Tricia, in a stunning ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. Although it had rained all morning, the president had it on good authority that the sun would come out late in the afternoon, in time for the bride to make a grand entrance in...

Part IV: The Making of a Faulty Peace

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7. War against Détente

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pp. 231-256

Nixon and Kissinger sat awkwardly as Brezhnev hurled insults at them at his dacha in Novo Ogarevo, west of Moscow. As the first American president to visit the Soviet Union, Nixon’s trip to Moscow in May 1972 during a beautiful Russian spring was just as momentous as his visit to Beijing a few...

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8. War for Peace

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pp. 257-299

Each time Nga received a letter from her husband, Le Duan, telling her to remain strong and be a hero of the revolution, she passed it along to her colleagues, who felt similarly buoyed by his words. By 1972, Nga had become deputy head of the Women’s Auxiliary Corps and a member of the...

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Epilogue

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pp. 300-304

Under the command of General Van Tien Dung, PAVN troops entered Saigon on 30 April 1975, bringing the Ho Chi Minh Offensive to a successful close. As communist soldiers marched and rode atop Soviet tanks into the heart of RVN power, exuberant masses lined the streets of Saigon to welcome...

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Conclusion

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pp. 305-312

It has been nearly four decades since the fall of Saigon. In the intervening years, policymakers, journalists, and historians have battled over the question of what went wrong. How did the United States become mired in a disastrous war in Southeast Asia and why did Washington fail to achieve...

Notes

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pp. 313-390

Bibliography

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pp. 391-416

Index

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pp. 417-444

Other Works in the Series

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pp. 445-445