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A comprehensive and eminently comprehensible guide to Vietnam’s three 20th century Indochina Wars, against the French, the United States, and China. Profusely illustrated

  • By Andrew Forbes and David Henley

The story of the Vietnam War, together with its less familiar adjuncts, the ‘Secret Wars' in Laos and Cambodia, is complex, painful and difficult to understand.

Before open US involvement in Indochina began with the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964, few Americans knew much at all about Vietnam. Following the Fall of Saigon to communist forces in 1975 and the final US withdrawal, few Americans wanted to know much about Vietnam – except that at last, and at a cost of 58,220 dead, 1,687 missing and 303,635 US wounded, the terrible war was finally over.

Nearly four decades on and everything has changed. Vietnam – together with its once ravaged neighbors, Laos and Cambodia – is open for business, open for travel, and very much open to Americans, who are now welcomed as friends and allies.

The author is a foreign correspondent who has lived in Southeast Asia  for 25 years and who knows Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia intimately. He also leads regular tours of Indochina for Wilderness Travel in California. As a lecturer he has, over the years, struggled to make sense of the American involvement in Indochina and to explain the deeper and more complex reasons behind not just the ‘Vietnam War', but behind the three Indochina Wars fought with France (1946-54), America (1964-75) and China (1979-80) – all inextricably and confusingly linked.

Understanding the Indochina Wars is the product of many years of research, travel and writing, and seeks to present the Indochina Wars in a detailed yet clear and comprehensible narrative. It is aimed at anyone seeking to understand Vietnam's bloodstained history during the 20th century, but more especially at American – and other – visitors traveling to the intoxicating and wonderful region that is Indochina.

  • Andrew Forbes and David Henley have spent two decades travelling in Indochina and are intimately acquainted with Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Andrew has contributed articles on  Indochinese politics and history to the international press including Asian Wall Street Journal, and together they have written guide books on all three countries for Insight Guides and Dorling Kindersley. While Andrew was researching and writing the text, David assembled a fine collection of historical images to illustrate this book from CPA Media's image library Pictures From History. The result is a unique and informed account of this tragic but fascinating period.

© 2012 CPA Media &  Cognoscenti Books. All Rights Reserved.