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Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Dynamics of Defeat: The Vietnam War in Hau Nghia Province by Eric M. Bergerud

I read this after reading Red Thunder, Tropic Lightning by the same author.  It is a detailed analysis of the American involvement in one province, on the Cambodian border but not far from Saigon.  The basic conclusion seems that the war was probably lost to the RVN due to geographical problems and structural issues in Vietnamese society.

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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This is the only novel written by Sylvia Plath and was originally published under the pseudonym “Victoria Lucas” in 1963.

Initially it seems a story of angst and alienation similar to Catcher in the Rye. However, it takes a darker turn with increasing depression and suicide attempts. She spends time in psychiatric hospitals, and receives various treatments including electric shock therapy. At the end she seems to be more in control of her life and seems poised to leave hospital.

Of course, the book is semi-autobiographical and Plath ultimately committed suicide.

Red Thunder, Tropic Lightning: The World of a Combat Division in Vietnam by Eric M. Bergerud

I read this after reading the Howard Jones book on the assassinations of Diem and Kennedy.

It is an oral history of the 25th Division in Vietnam who were in combat for most of the US involvement. It is a readable and interesting account of the war from the perspective of US soldiers.

I’ve read some other books by Eric Bergerud on the Pacific war that I found interesting.