Vietnam War
The Essential Reference Guide
by James H. Willbanks, Editor
January 2013, 341pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-103-1
$108, £84, 94€, A148
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-104-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

While the Vietnam War is thought of as a conflict that began in the early 1960s, the United States was involved in Vietnam from 1945 to 1975. During the course of the war, nearly 60,000 Americans were killed. The events of the Vietnam War set off a firestorm of protest at home that shook the foundations of the country and forever changed the character of our nation.

The Vietnam War was one of America's longest, bloodiest, and most controversial wars. This volume examines the complexities of this protracted conflict and explains why the lessons learned in Vietnam are still highly relevant today.

Vietnam War: The Essential Reference Guide provides a compendium of the key people, places, organizations, treaties, and events that make up the history of the war, explaining its causes, how it was conducted, and its far-reaching consequences. Written by recognized authorities, this ready-reference volume provides essential information all in one place and includes a comprehensive list of additional sources for further study.

The work presents a detailed chronology that outlines the numerous battles and campaigns throughout the war, such as the Tet Offensive, the Battle of Hamburger Hill, Operation Rolling Thunder, and the Battle of Hue. Biographies on Lyndon Johnson, William Westmoreland, Robert McNamara, Ngo Dinh Diem, and other major political figures and military leaders provide insight into the individuals who played key roles in the conflict, while primary source documents such as President Nixon’s speech on Vietnamization provide invaluable historical context.


  • More than 45 contributors, including Robert K. Brigham, Cecil B. Currey, Arnold R. Isaacs, Lewis Sorley, Spencer C. Tucker, and David T. Zabecki
  • Introductory essays provide a broad overview of the Vietnam War and help readers understand the causes and consequences of the conflict
  • Maps depicting South Vietnam, infiltration routes, and key battles
James H. Willbanks, PhD, is General of the Army George C. Marshall Chair of Military History and director of the Department of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS. He is a retired Army officer with 23 years of service in various infantry and staff assignments, which included a tour as an adviser with a South Vietnamese infantry regiment during the 1972 North Vietnamese Easter Offensive. Willbanks holds a bachelor's degree in history from Texas A&M University and a master's degree and doctorate in history from the University of Kansas. He is the author of several books on the Vietnam War, including Abandoning Vietnam: How America Left and South Vietnam Lost Its War; The Battle of An Loc; and The Tet Offensive: A Concise History. He is also editor of America's Heroes: Medal of Honor Recipients from the Civil War to Afghanistan.


"This publication provides a better understanding of various aspects of the Vietnam War for its readers, especially through reading the introductory essays. The fact that the editor, James Willbanks, was actually there as an Army officer and advisor, does add some authority to this work."—Reference Reviews, June 1, 2014

"An excellent starting point for compressed background information on a large number of the complex topics and issues related to the Vietnam War."—Booklist, April 15, 2013

"Overall, this is a 'just the facts' type of resource, and a good starting point for brief information on the multitudinous topics related to the Vietnam War. Summing Up: Recommended."—Choice, July 1, 2013
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