Synopses & Reviews
is a great book, a classic by an author who knows his subject well and tells the story without hesitation.and#8221; and#8212; General Donn A. Starry, U.S. Army (ret.), Commander, Army Training and Doctrine Command (1977and#8211;1981)
Is it possible that the riddle of Americaand#8217;s military failure in Vietnam has a one-word, one-man answer?
Unless and until we understand General William Westmoreland, we will never understand what went wrong in Vietnam. An Eagle Scout at fifteen, First Captain of his West Point class, Westmoreland fought in two wars and became Superintendent at West Point. Then he was chosen to lead the war effort in Vietnam for four crucial years.
He proved a disaster. He could not think creatively about unconventional warfare, chose an unavailing strategy, stuck to it in the face of all opposition, and stood accused of fudging the results when it mattered most. In this definitive portrait, Lewis Sorley makes a plausible case that the war could have been won were it not for Westmoreland. The tragedy of William Westmoreland carries lessons not just for Vietnam, but for the future of American leadership.
Westmoreland is essential reading from a masterly historian.
"This is a terrific book, lively and brisk, and surprisingly interesting. How could this deeply flawed, limited man rise so high in the U.S. Army? This will be the definitive book on Westmoreland, and a must read for anyone who tries to understand the Vietnam War."
-Thomas E. Ricks, author of Fiascoand#160; and The Gamble
" Lewis Sorley's brilliant portrait of General Westmoreland helps us understand why our war lasted so long and ended as it did. This is biography at its finest."
- Bui Diem, South Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States (1967-1972)
and#160; "A riveting history of how ambition corrupted soldierly virtues and led to slyness, hubris and national disaster. A scorching indictment of how generals covered up for each other." -Bing West, author of THE WRONG WAR: Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistanand#12288; and#160; "To understand the Vietnam War in its totality one must logically try to understand General Westmoreland.and#12288; Dr. Lewis Sorley has made an enormous contribution by revealing General Westmorelandand#8217;s complex personality and the role it played in U.S. foreign policy." -Melvin R. Laird, former Secretary of Defense and nine-term Member of Congress and#160; "Reaching beyond the surface to penetrate the enigma of General William C. Westmoreland, Lewis Sorley gathers the recollections of Westyand#8217;s Army colleagues, the manand#8217;s personal papers, and official records to tell the story of a general who has remained opaque despite the many debates over his role in the Vietnam war. Eye-opening and sometimes maddening, Sorleyand#8217;s Westmoreland is not to be missed." -John Prados, author of Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War
Nicknamed Chesty for his barrel chest, Lewis B. Puller is considered the greatest Marine Corps hero of all time. Hoffman, in this balanced and much-noticed biography, deftly interweaves the legendary stories with combat critique, defending Puller's title as the epitome of the Marine combat officer.
The Marine Corps is known for its heroes, and Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller has long been considered the greatest of them all. His assignments and activities covered an extraordinary spectrum of warfare. Puller mastered small unit guerrilla warfare as a lieutenant in Haiti in the 1920s, and at the end of his career commanded a division in Korea. In between, he chased Sandino in Nicaragua and fought at Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, and Peleliu.
With his bulldog face, barrel chest (which earned him the nickname Chesty), gruff voice, and common touch, Puller became—and has remained—the epitome of the Marine combat officer. At times Puller's actions have been called into question—at Peleliu, for instance, where, against a heavily fortified position, he lost more than half of his regiment. And then there is the saga of his son, who followed in Chesty's footsteps as a Marine officer only to suffer horrible wounds in Vietnam (his book, Fortunate Son, won the Pulitzer Prize).
Jon Hoffman has been given special access to Puller's personal papers as well as his personnel record. The result will unquestionably stand as the last word about Chesty Puller.
From the Hardcover edition.
A biography of Vietnam general William Westmoreland by the author of A BETTER WAR.
About the Author
Jon Hoffman is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve and is currently serving on extended active duty as the deputy director of the Marine Corps History & Museums Division. He has spent sixteen years on active duty as an infantry officer and historian. He has a Masters Degree in military history from Ohio State and a law degree from Duke University. His first book, Once A Legend
, a biography of Major General Merritt “Red Mike” Edson, won the Marine Corps prize as the best book of the year.
LtCol Hoffman lives in Virginia.
From the Hardcover edition.
Table of Contents
3.and#160;WORLD WAR IIand#160;14
5.and#160;JAPAN AND KOREAand#160;31
11.and#160;SEARCH AND DESTROYand#160;91
16.and#160;ORDER OF BATTLEand#160;159
21.and#160;CHIEF OF STAFFand#160;206
22.and#160;SHAPING THE RECORDand#160;225
Glossary of Acronyms and Abbreviationsand#160;310