Synopses & Reviews
Based on classified documents and first-person interviews, a startling history of the American war on Vietnamese civilians.
The American Empire Project
Winner of the Ridenhour Prize for Reportorial Distinction
Americans have long been taught that events such as the notorious My Lai massacre were isolated incidents in the Vietnam War, carried out by just a few “bad apples.” But as award-winning journalist and historian Nick Turse demonstrates in this groundbreaking investigation, violence against Vietnamese noncombatants was not at all exceptional during the conflict. Rather, it was pervasive and systematic, the predictable consequence of official orders to “kill anything that moves.”
Drawing on more than a decade of research into secret Pentagon archives and extensive interviews with American veterans and Vietnamese survivors, Turse reveals for the first time the workings of a military machine that resulted in millions of innocent civilians killed and wounded — what one soldier called “a My Lai a month.” Devastating and definitive, Kill Anything That Moves finally brings us face-to-face with the truth of a war that haunts America to this day.
"An indispensable new history of the war....Kill Anything That Moves is a paradigm-shifting, connect-the-dots history of American atrocities that reads like a thriller; it will convince those with the stomach to read it that all these decades later Americans, certainly the military brass and the White House, still haven't drawn the right lesson from Vietnam."
San Francisco Chronicle
"A powerful case....With his urgent but highly readable style, Turse delves into the secret history of U.S.-led atrocities. He has brought to his book an impressive trove of new research — archives explored and eyewitnesses interviewed in the United States and Vietnam. With superb narrative skill, he spotlights a troubling question: Why, with all the evidence collected by the military at the time of the war, were atrocities not prosecuted?"
"There have been many memorable accounts of the terrible things done in Vietnam — memoirs, histories, documentaries and movies. But Nick Turse has given us a fresh holistic work that stands alone for its blending of history and journalism, for the integrity of research brought to life through the diligence of first-person interviews....Here is a powerful message for us today — a reminder of what war really costs."
Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company
"In Kill Anything that Moves, Nick Turse has for the first time put together a comprehensive picture, written with mastery and dignity, of what American forces actually were doing in Vietnam. The findings disclose an almost unspeakable truth....Like a tightening net, the web of stories and reports drawn from myriad sources coalesces into a convincing, inescapable portrait of this war — a portrait that, as an American, you do not wish to see; that, having seen, you wish you could forget, but that you should not forget."
Jonathan Schell, The Nation
"Nick Turse's explosive, groundbreaking reporting uncovers the horrifying truth."
"Astounding....Meticulous, extraordinary, and oddly moving."
"If you are faint-hearted, you might want to keep some smelling salts nearby when you read it. It's that bad....The truth hurts. This is an important book."
Dayton Daily News
"Nick Turse reminds us again, in this painful and important book, why war should always be a last resort, and especially wars that have little to do with American national security. We failed, as Turse makes clear, to deal after the Vietnam War with the murders that took place, and today — four decades later — the lessons have yet to be learned. We still prefer kicking down doors to talking."
Seymour Hersh, staff writer, The New Yorker
"In the sobering Kill Anything that Moves, Nick Turse provides an exhaustive account of how thousands upon thousands of innocent, unarmed South Vietnamese civilians were senselessly killed by a military that equated corpses with results....Kill Anything that Moves is a staggering reminder that war has its gruesome subplots hidden underneath the headlines — but they're even sadder when our heroes create them."
"An in-depth take on a horrific war....A detailed, well-documented account."
About the Author
Nick Turse is the author of The Complex, the managing editor for TomDispatch.com, and a fellow at the Nation Institute. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Nation, among other publications. Turses investigations of American war crimes in Vietnam have gained him a Ridenhour Prize for Reportorial Distinction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a fellowship at Harvard Universitys Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. He lives near New York City.