Edwards, Peter: Australia and the Vietnam War

Edwards, Peter

Australia and the Vietnam War, NewSouth and the Australian War Memorial, Sydney, 2014

The Vietnam War was Australia’s longest and most controversial military commitment of the twentieth century, ending in humiliation for the United States and its allies with the downfall of South Vietnam. The war provoked deep divisions in Australian society and politics, particularly since for the first time young men were conscripted for overseas service in a highly contentious ballot system. The Vietnam era is still identified with diplomatic, military and political failure.

Was Vietnam a case of Australia fighting “other people’s wars”? Were we really “all the way” with the United States? How valid was the “domino theory”? Did the Australian forces develop new tactical methods in earlier Southeast Asian conflicts, and just how successful were they against the unyielding enemy in Vietnam?

In this landmark book, award-winning historian Peter Edwards skilfully unravels the complexities of the global Cold War, decolonisation in Southeast Asia and Australian domestic politics to provide new, often surprising, answers to these questions. (blurb)

Essentially, a summary of the multi-volume official history, of which Edwards was joint author.

Reviews from different perspectives appear in Marxist Left Review, ASPI Strategist (including an interview with the author), Military History and Heritage Victoria and Australian Book Review. The author talks about how ‘Australia Goes to War: Lessons from Vietnam.

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