After Vietnam: Legacies of a Lost War
Efforts to understand the impact of the Vietnam War on America began soon after it ended and continue into the 21st century. Here, four scholars focus on different elements of the war's legacy, while in a final chapter, former Defense Secretary, Robert S. McNamara, ponders modern foreign policy issues. In the book's opening chapter, Charles E. Neu explains how the Vietnma War changed Americans' sense of themselves: challenging widely held national myths, the war brought frustration, disillusionment and a weakening of Americans' sense of their past and vision for the future. Brian Balogh argues that Vietnam became such a powerful metaphor for turmoil and decline that it obscured other forces that brought about fundamental changes in government and society. George C. Herring examines the post-war American military, which became obsessed with preventing another Vietnam . Robert K. Brigham explores the effects of the war on the Vietnamese, as ageing revolutionary leaders relied on appeals to revolutionary heroism to justify the Communist Party's monopoly on political power. Finally, Robert S. McNamara, aware of the magnitude of his errors and burdened by the war's destructiveness, draws lessons from his experience as one of the major architects of the conflict, with the aim of preventing wars in the future.
By: Charles E. Neu