From a celebrated military historian, a powerful, “highly recommended” (Library Journal, starred review) account of the most pivotal year of the Vietnam War—the cataclysm that “continues to haunt American politics and culture” (Publishers Weekly).
The Vietnam War was the greatest disaster in the history of American foreign policy. The conflict shook the nation to its foundations, exacerbating already deep cleavages in American society, and left the country baffled and ambivalent about its role in the world. Year of the Hawk is a military and political history of the war in Vietnam during 1965—the pivotal first year of the American conflict, when the United States decided to intervene directly with combat units in a struggle between communist and pro-Western forces in South Vietnam that had raged on and off for twenty years.
By December 1965, a powerful communist offensive had been turned back, and the US Army had prevailed in one of the most dramatic battles in American military history, but nonetheless there were many signs and portents that US involvement would soon slide toward the tipping point of tragedy. Vividly interweaving events in the US capital with action in Southeast Asia, historian James A. Warren explores the mindsets and strategies of the adversaries and concludes that, in the end, Washington was not so much outfought in Vietnam as outthought by revolutionaries pursuing a brilliant, protracted war strategy. Based on new research, Year of the Hawk offers fresh insight into how a nationalist movement led by communists in a small country defeated the most powerful nation on earth and is “a well-researched overview of how America got into Vietnam—and why it shouldn’t have” (Kirkus Reviews).