The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War

A Political, Social, and Military History, 2nd Edition

by Spencer C. Tucker, Editor


In addition to the more than three-million Americans who served during the Vietnam War and witnessed it firsthand, this lengthy conflict touched nearly every aspect of the American experience in the 1960s and 1970s. The Vietnam War influenced the peacenik generation that formed its identity in opposition to U.S. involvement in Vietnam and was the root cause of the Watergate scandal that forced the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

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Cover image for The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War

May 2011


Pages 1804
Volumes 4
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Military History/Conflict and Wars
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Now in its second edition, this comprehensive study of the Vietnam War sheds more light on the longest and one of the most controversial conflicts in U.S. history.

The Vietnam War lasted more than a decade, was the longest war in U.S. history, and cost the lives of nearly 60,000 American soldiers, as well as millions of Vietnamese—many of whom were uninvolved civilians. The lessons learned from this tragic conflict continue to have great relevance in today's world.

Now in its second edition, The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History adds an entire additional volume of entries to the already exhaustive first edition, making it the most comprehensive reference available about one of the most controversial events in U.S. history. Written to provide multidimensional perspectives into the conflict, it covers not only the American experience in Vietnam, but also the entire scope of Vietnamese history, including the French experience and the Indochina War, as well as the origins of the conflict, how the United States became involved, and the extensive aftermath of this prolonged war. It also provides the most complete and accurate order of battle ever published, based upon data compiled from Vietnamese sources. This latest release delivers even more of what readers have come to expect from the editorship of Spencer C. Tucker and the military history experts at ABC-CLIO.


  • Includes many photographs and illustrations that bring the Vietnam War to life
  • Contains more than 200 primary sources in a separate documents volume, with full introductions for each
  • Presents an extensive chronology of historic events and a glossary of terms
  • Provides cross-references and bibliographies that facilitate further research


  • Contains newly translated documents that are now published for the first time
  • Documents key individuals, events, and weapons systems, as well as historiography and the impact of the war on literature and the arts
  • Examines U.S. opposition to the war and its impact on domestic politics, the economy, and international relations
Author Info

Spencer C. Tucker, PhD, is senior fellow of military history at ABC-CLIO and the author or editor of more than 38 books, many of which have won prestigious awards. His published work includes A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. Tucker graduated from the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, VA, and was a Fulbright scholar in France. He was a U.S. Army captain and intelligence analyst in the Pentagon during the Vietnam War and taught for 30 years at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX, before returning to his alma mater for six years as the holder of the John Biggs Chair of Military History.



"Together or individually, these works are excellent starting points for general readers with an interest in military history and for researchers."Library Journal

"A revision of the 1999 edition, this new version adds an entire volume of entries and contains almost twice as many pages as the original. . . . This adds to the wide-ranging scope of the work, making it a set that not only covers the ambivalent American participation in the war but also considers prior Vietnamese history, such as the French colonialism that immediately preceded America's involvement. . . . This excellent, valuable update devoted to a crucial modern conflict is recommended for public and academic libraries."Booklist, Starred Review

"Marvelously comprehensive, this update has expanded to include a third volume of entries and improved on the classic first edition (1999). Straightforward, illuminating entries cover everything from famous battles (the Tet offensive) to acts of high school protest (Tinker v. Des Moines), and from movements (Black Panthers, the Civil Rights movement) to issues (chemical warfare, the Paris Peace Accords, torture, the Pueblo incident, etc.). . . . Black-and-white photographs bring to life the brutality and horror of the war. The glossary is extremely helpful. Though much of the information can be found online, that material cannot compare with the insight, research, and context created by this exemplary reference work."School Library Journal, Starred Review

"Noted historian and encyclopedist Tucker here updates his well-respected first edition. This volume offers a superb examination of the impact of the Vietnam War, which rippled far beyond Southeast Asia and the battlefield. This multidimensional work focuses mainly on the U.S. war but also explores all of Vietnamese history. . . . Highly recommended."Choice


Booklist Editors' Choice 2011 — ALA

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