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Goodnight Saigon by Charles Henderson
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Goodnight Saigon

by Charles Henderson

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Charles Henderson wrote two great books on Carlos Hathcock, the famed Marine sniper. This book is not as well done (in my opinion). Henderson tries to show how both sides lost the Vietnam War (American/Vietnamese & North Vietnamese/Russian) and chronicles the final months before Saigon fell. He tries to focus most attention on the final group of Marines who were almost left behind while guarding the embassy. The lasting overall impression of the book, unfortunately, is that the only ones who knew what they were doing were the North Vietnamese. American political leaders had gone into escape blame mode and all others (CIA assets) just looked after themselves. These are the true aspects of the book and are given voice by the US Marines depicted throughout the chapters. The enlisted and non-com marines are the 'truth-sayers' but they are never consulted. These are the good parts to the book. The bibliography is short, but Henderson it seems spent most of his time on personal interviews. He seems to want to give fair hearing to the NVA but comes off as being led to print their propaganda without any critique or criticism. The only part that I found interesting was his covering the C-5 Galaxy that crashed killing most of the children being airlifted out (Operation Babylift). I had read in other memoirs that it had been shot down by the North Vietnamese. Here in Henderson's book he says that it crashed by mechanical malfunction. I still tend to believe it was shot down. This work is scary to read because it places many of the people who held powerful positions as actors who took no regard for the consequences of what they are doing. On both sides. The fall of Saigon epitomized the sadness of many things still being learned by America. Many writers want to say that they know what the Vietnam War really meant. But they don't really know. The Civil War is a mystery and so is the Vietnam War. We can learn from it if we first face its gigantic sorrow. Few people are willing to do this. This book shows the absolute fear and confusion prevalent during that time, and what was to come before the normalizing of diplomatic relations with Vietnam.
  sacredheart25 | Sep 26, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425188469, Hardcover)

Charles Henderson, Marine Corps veteran and author, chronicles the final days of America's involvement in Vietnam through the voices of those who were there-and those who would never be heard again.

On January 17, 1973, the Paris Peace Accords concluded America's involvement in Vietnam, supposedly ending decades of bloodshed. What took place, however, was far from peaceful-as the combined forces of the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong launched an all-out offensive to end the war with complete victory over the beleaguered south.

Here, culled from extensive interviews and research, are harrowing, never-before revealed accounts from people of every level and involvement in the Vietnam War-NVA and Viet Cong soldiers, U.S. embassy personnel, guerilla commanders, civilians, generals, double-agents, and leaders from both sides, including former president Gerald Ford and North Vietnamese military commander General Tran Van Tra.

From the impending invasion from the north, to the gut-wrenching hours before the fall of Saigon when a brave pilot defied orders and rescued the last five Marines from the roof of the U.S. embassy, this is the Vietnam War as it was: raw, brutal, tragic-and haunting to this very day.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:59 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A Marine Corps veteran draws on extensive interviews and research to provide a firsthand view of the final days of American involvement in Vietnam, from the Paris Peace Accords to the last hours before the fall of Saigon and the rescue of the last five Marines from the roof of the U.S. embassy.… (more)

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