I am currently reading for review the second book in an historical trilogy on the Vietnam war. It’s by Mark Moyar and entitled Triumph Regained: The Vietnam War, 1965-1968 (Encounter Books, 2022). As noted earlier in this blog, between 1962 and 1975, as a speaker of Vietnamese, Chinese, and French (the three languages of Vietnam), I spent more time in Vietnam than I did in the U.S. and escaped under fire when Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese. My job was assisting U.S. and friendly troops on the battlefield with signals intelligence. So Moyar’s endless tales about American and South Vietnamese forces and their confrontations with North Vietnamese army units sparks memories of my own encounters. I was amused to realize that my Vietnam war order of battle knowledge of the North Vietnamese invaders is far more complete than that of friendly forces. And Moyar’s frequent allusions to placenames where brutal clashes occurred—Van Tuong, Bong Son, Bau Bang, Ia Drang, and many others—reawakened memories long since dormant.
Reading the book and writing the review will be major challenges. Triumph Regained is 692 pages with an index thirteen pages long and 106 pages of footnotes. Moyar writes in detail about numerous battles and provides meticulous description of events that affected the war, such as the Buddhist movement against the South Vietnamese government and disagreements among U.S. officials about strategies most likely to be effective in prosecuting the war. Despite my extensive knowledge and experience in the Vietnam war, this is a lot to absorb.
I will be curious to see how long it will be before the third book of the trilogy, covering 1969 to 1975 and the aftermath of the war, appears in print. The first volume, Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965, was published in 2009. Will it take Moyar thirteen more years to complete the last volume?
I’ll let you know when the review is published toward the end of the month.