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Without Honor

Paperback
, 576 pages

39 b&w illus.

ISBN:
9780801861079
December 1998
$41.00

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Without Honor

Defeat in Vietnam and Cambodia

Supplemental Materials

A gripping account of one of the century's most harrowing human catastrophes—the fall of South Vietnam— Without Honor captures the tragedy and the irony of the Vietnam War's last days and examines the consequences of the American military and political decisions that had sustained the war effort for a generation only to lead to the worst foreign policy failure in the nation's history. Arnold Isaacs, who spent the final years of the war in Vietnam as a correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, describes his firsthand observations of the collapse of Cambodia and South Vietnam—from the 1973 Paris peace agreement to the American evacuation of Saigon and its aftermath—with heartbreaking detail, from the devastated battlefields and villages to the boats filled with terrified refugees. He also provides an historical record of unparalleled accuracy and depth about the strategic decisions made during the war's end game and the intelligence failure that led Americans and their Southeast Asian allies to underestimate the strength and perseverance of the enemy. Drawing on previously classified military documents, field reports from American advisors, eyewitness accounts by soldiers and civilians, and North Vietnamese propaganda broadcasts, Isaacs offers a compelling and compassionate portrait of the impact of America's "Vietnamization" of the conflict and a bracing indictment of political and military leaders in the United States and both Vietnams for the massive human suffering that accompanied the end of the war.

Arnold R. Isaacs witnessed the final years of the Vietnam War as a war correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, where he also worked as Washington correspondent and editor. He is the author of the acclaimed Vietnam Shadows: The War, Its Ghosts, and Its Legacy, also available from Johns Hopkins, and coauthor of Pawns of War. Since 1984, he has taught courses on Vietnam at Maryland's Towson University.

"Reportage at its very best, conveying even now a breathtaking kind of immediacy... This is a meaty, fact-rich book, peppered with interpretations, not judgments... Without Honor deserves attention, for it offers vivid recollections of key moments in the war, set down with honesty by a man who saw and felt deeply."

"Vivid and very passionate... [Isaacs] succeeds so brilliantly that one almost wishes—before our near-universal national forgetfulness and instinct for self-justification take over for good—that all candidates for public office could be required to pass a public examination of its contents."

"Impassioned... Isaacs's anguished chapter on the collapse of the city of Da Nang, where the first American Marines had landed in 1965, is reason enough to read his fast-paced report."

"A sound and interesting narrative, which succeeds in combining vivid images of the war with the statistics and analysis that are essential of historical perspective... A good book."

"A wonderful weave of Isaacs' eyeball-reporting and subsequent, intense research. The thud and blood of combat in the wailing of mortally wounded nations are here. So are the softer sounds of negotiations, riffled documents, the sigh of broken agreements, and the tinkle of glass on conference tables."

" Without Honor is a courageous and honest book about a period of American history which most would rather forget."

"The most complete account of the fall of Indochina... A biting indictment of American policy... The immediacy and impact of his book is compelling."