In the opening years of the Vietnam War, a small group of American military advisors and their South Vietnamese allies were facing down the Viet Cong. The confident Americans were there to do what seemed elementary: help the South Vietnamese army defeat a ragtag guerrilla enemy. They were assured of swift success. But one officer, John Paul Vann, saw darker omens for the future—and in the Battle of Ap Bac, the Viet Cong proved him correct.
Encapsulating the great terrors, mistakes, ironies, and courageous acts of the Vietnam War, “The Battle of Ap Bac” recounts the clash in which the Viet Cong first won their spurs. It is an exciting, terrifying, fast-paced portrait of close-contact warfare in the rice paddies, the story of John Vann’s attempt to singlehandedly change the terms of battle and avoid the relentless killing grounds of Vietnam that lay ahead. A key selection from Neil Sheehan’s masterpiece, A Bright Shining Lie—which remains the preeminent history of the Vietnam War—it offers a prescient warning for current conflicts between powerful forces and underestimated foes.
A Vintage Shorts Vietnam Selection. An ebook short.
Neil Sheehan is the author of A Bright Shining Lie, which won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1989. He spent three years in Vietnam as a war correspondent for United Press International and The… More about Neil Sheehan