Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam

Category: Book
By (author): Bowden, Mark
Subject:  HISTORY / Asia / Southeast Asia
  HISTORY / Military / United States
  HISTORY / Military / Vietnam War
  NON-FICTION / General
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic
Published: June 2017
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 608
Size: 9.00in x 6.00in x 1.75in
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*Not since his #1New York Times bestsellerBlack Hawk Down has Mark Bowden written a book about a battle. His most ambitious work yet,Hue 1968 is the story of the centerpiece of the Tet Offensive and a turning point in the American War in Vietnam. By January 1968, despite an influx of half a million American troops, the fighting in Vietnam seemed to be at a stalemate. Yet General William Westmoreland, commander of American forces, announced a new phase of the war in which the end begins to come into view." The North Vietnamese had different ideas. In mid-1967, the leadership in Hanoi had started planning an offensive intended to win the war in a single stroke. Part military action and part popular uprising, the Tet Offensive included attacks across South Vietnam, but the most dramatic and successful would be the capture of Hue, the country's cultural capital. At 2:30 a.m. on January 31, 10,000 National Liberation Front troops descended from hidden camps and surged across the city of 140,000. By morning, all of Hue was in Front hands save for two small military outposts. The commanders in country and politicians in Washington refused to believe the size and scope of the Front's presence. Captain Chuck Meadows was ordered to lead his 160-marine Golf Company against thousands of enemy troops in the first attempt to re-enter Hue later that day. After several futile and deadly days, Lieutenant Colonel Ernie Cheatham would finally come up with a strategy to retake the city, block by block and building by building, in some of the most intense urban combat since World War II. With unprecedented access to war archives in the U.S. and Vietnam and interviews with participants from both sides, Bowden narrates each stage of this crucial battle through multiple points of view. Played out over twenty-four days of terrible fighting and ultimately costing 10,000 combatant and civilian lives, the Battle of Hue was by far the bloodiest of the entire war. When it ended, the American debate was never again about winning, only about how to leave. InHue 1968, Bowden masterfully reconstructs this pivotal moment in the American War in Vietnam."
Review Quote*Praise forHue 1968 A stirring history of the 1968 battle that definitively turned the Vietnam War into an American defeat . . . Building on portraits of combatants on all sides, Bowden delivers an anecdotally rich, careful account of the complex campaign to take the city. One of the best books on a single action in Vietnam, written by a tough, seasoned journalist who brings the events of a half-century past into sharp relief." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Hue 1968 unravels one of the great mysteries of our time - how a puny force of North Vietnam regulars and local sympathizers could without warning occupy South Vietnam's second largest city, hold it for a month, then disappear into the mountains, beyond reach and largely unbloodied. It turns out the force wasn't puny, but fanatical warriors who gripped their prey by the throat and wouldn't let go. They were unfazed by waves of counter-attackers, Vietnamese and American soldiers, but mostly Marines rushed in to defeat them.Hue 1968 shows the enormous challenges facing both sides and how they overcame them, or tried to. Did the Battle of Hue end up as a victory or defeat? The answer depends on who's asking and who's telling. Bowden takes on both roles and does it well." - Lieutenant Colonel Charles A. Krohn (ret.), author ofThe Lost Battalion of Tet "Hue 1968 is, by far, the most comprehensive (and balanced) coverage on this battle I've seen. Like never before, I've come to realize how narrow a perspective we low-level participants unavoidably had. While giving due respect to the abilities, actions and fighting spirit of the U.S. and ARVN Marines and soldiers who participated, Mark Bowden brought clarity to the larger intelligence, political and strategic shortcomings that made the prosecution of this battle so much more challenging and costly than it needed to be." - Brigadier General Mike Downs, USMC (ret.) "The longest and fiercest fighting of the Tet Offensive took place in and around Hue in early 1968 where Communist North Vietnam suffered a terrible military defeat. Yet the fight for Hue became a political victory for the leaders of North Vietnam and a turning point for US involvement and support for the war. Through searing personal accounts of many on both sides who were there, Mark Bowden reveals the intensity of the fighting. Relying on archival documents now available after 50 years,he also examines the considerations and decisions of political and military leaders at the highest levels. This book is a tragic tale of misunderstanding but also one of great heroism and sacrifice by those who fought in the streets of Hue and in the nearby rice paddies and villages." - Brigadier General Howard T. Prince II, USMC (ret.), Commanding Officer, Bravo Company, 5/7 Cavalry, 1968 "Mark Bowden uniquely describes the battle from both sides of the front lines and vividly captures the remarkable courage and valor of those that participated in the crucible of war that was Hue City in January to March 1968. Surely to be an historical standard for the recollection of that Tet 1968 battle." - Colonel Chuck Meadows, USMC (ret.), Former Commanding Officer of Golf Company 2ndBn 5thMar "I am a US Marine Vietnam veteran who participated as a tank crewmen in the Tet 1968 battle for Hue City. I have read just about every written account of the month-long battle, and I have to say that all of the other well-written, well-documented accounts of the battle pale in comparison to Mark Bowden'sHue 1968. There is no more complete, accurate and detailed book. It reads like a novel even though is it made up almost exclusively of very personal accounts." - John Wear, president of the USMC Vietnam Tankers Association "A masterpiece of intensely dramatic nonfiction . . . The brilliance of Bowden's narrative, the achievement of interviewing hundreds of people on all sides and making their human stories his foundation, is whyHue 1968 rises to the emotional power and universality ofFor Whom The Bell Tolls andAll Quiet On The Western Front." - Michael MannPraise for Mark Bowden "Amazing . . . One of the most intense, visceral reading experiences imaginable." - Philadelphia Inquirer, onBlack Hawk Down "Mark Bowden has a way of making modern nonfiction read like the best of novels." - Denver Post, onKilling Pablo "One of America's pre-eminent practitioners of long-form journalism." - Dallas Morning News, onThe Three Battles of Wanat"
Biographical NoteMark Bowden is the author of thirteen books, including the #1New York Times bestsellerBlack Hawk Down. He reported at thePhiladelphia Inquirer for twenty years and now writes for theAtlantic,Vanity Fair, and other magazines. He is also the writer in residence at the University of Delaware. His most recent book isThe Three Battles of Wanat: And Other True Stories.